Where else can you get 5 species of fish in a single river than in western WA? Had an amazing day, perfect weather, river flows and conditions. Met up with long time friend and fellow broker Todd B. for a conference of steelheaders anonymous. All rigged up with 6 wts. and indicators we worked our way through several pools, riffles, slots and runs.
Even got to explore some new water, its given me a more intimate feel of the river. With some basic instruction and the set up for Todd, he was into whitefish in no time. That’s a good sign, cause they tend to hang on bottom and near salmonids in search of stray roe that flushes from the plump hens they nose up against.
I was surprised to see Chum in the river this early, they were already on their spawning beds and that would likely move more Steelhead, SRC and Dollies into the system. I did connect with a big chum hen of 13-14#, too bad I couldn’t find a Dolly amongst the bunch.
Getting our fill of whitefish on the dead drift we decided to try another spot and gave Todd first shot at the unmolested run. I knew there had to be a steelhead or dolly holding. Check out this photo progression, I almost called it out as a play by play as I coached Todd until the Dolly was in the net.
Todd set up the cast with downstream swing into the main riffle with fly dancing on the edge
He lowers the rod tip to extend the range of the swing, tap tap, he felt the tug….
She measured 19″ a little on the skinny side, but nothing short of beautiful. I did explore some. Side channels and worked the same Todd picked up his Dolly and connected with a early winter run steelhead. This beast was a hot fish and didn’t want anything to do with me or the hook jabbed in its jaw.
She lept twice and on the second jump spit the size 2 octopus hook and that was it. Here’s Todds photo of me in action.
After lunch and regrouping we moved to the lower river to work the deeper pools, more whities and saw another steelhead but couldn’t coax it to take.
I did end with this fish which was the cherry on top.
A perfect Sea Run Cutthroat with amazing spots and markings. At first I thought it to be a juvenile steelhead, but seeing the golden coloration was indication of it being an SRC. Awesome day all around and we never encountered another angler.