The new year has been good to me, I’ve been able to improve my skills and dead drift presentation. I’ve adjusted my leaders and my egg patterns. The conclusion, Steelhead like eggs and they are gobblers if in the zone and presented and if they are in holding position.
Have enough weight to get in the zone but not so much to snag bottom, just enough to skip and cause bumps and indicator to hop. Use the tag ends of the double surgeons loop to attach #3, or 4 shot. After a big rain and level rise I use down to size #2. The round shot moves better than the removable with wings. A small yarnie egg helps keep things buoyant and when positioned with the shot 8-10″ away places the bait in good feeding position.
I’m not sure if steelhead feed on eggs while they are in spawn mode or if it’s more out of aggression or jockeying for territory. I do appreciate this ditch water as these fish are biters versus in many salmon scenarios it’s tough to get fish to Bite once in fresh water.
I had a few hours and wanted to try the evening bite. I met up with JR and we walked down to my favorite spot and found 1 other guy working the run without much success. We dropped in below him and I coached JR on reading the lies and helping him with his high stick nymphing. I moved places a little and went upstream after another guy started fishing. Once he left around 3 pm, things started to get interesting.
A few drifts, my indicator shot down and game on, a very nice steelhead exploded from its holding spot. I’d never seen a fish with such fury, it scrambled trying to spit the hook bit I gave much pressure, it darted downstream and then to my surprise upstream to the Rapids. So powerful, I thought I’d maybe fouled the fish, but once tamed I could see my egg pattern in the corner of its mouth. I was shaking with adrenaline as I didnt want to risk losing this trophy fish. After a little more coaxing I was able to net it barley, as the fish was alot larger than my net would hold. The big buck had battle scars, a jig in its jaws. One hook with leader out of the underside V-line of the lower jaw, one hook near its and and my fly in its mouth. It had escaped at least 3 times to only meet its final fate on the bank.
My mouth just dropped with its size as it reminded me of the OP coho from last fall. I did have two more take downs with the second fish jumping and zipping up and down the riffles only to leap a second time and spitting the hook. The last fish, I never saw, but I was deeply satisfied with the first fish.
I’ve tied up new leaders, and patterns, ready for my next trip back.