Oh, yeah....call us nuts, call us crazy, question our sanity....the truth is that over the years many have done just that when it comes to my fishing habits. Well, Monday was definitely one of those days.
With night time temps in the mid 20's, we knew that ice would be an issue. The day prior ice didn't burn off until early afternoon, and we knew that we were in for much of the same on this day.
As we arrived to start the day, which was later than normal, we met guys walking back to the trucks, proclaiming that the ice was just to much. Nevertheless, not to be deterred, we geared up and faced the inevitable. The facts were that fish were there, we were willing, so all that was needed was a little persistence.
Well, fortunate for me and the other SAO guides, we had clients with the drive to go get the job done. Even with the drive, I wanted there to be some sort of reality in our minds, so I prepped the guys on the walk to our starting point. I told them that large slush flows would be present and that we shouldn't expect much activity for the first couple of hours.
Quite frankly, I love it when I am wrong....at least in this kind of instance. For the first half hour, it was just as I said....ice, ice, no fish, ice, ice, ice!!! Since the conditions were less than ideal, I did as much teaching as I could with full expectation that fish would come, and come they did.
Within thirty minutes of our arrival, I heard my client Steve give the "fish on" call and thus the day got underway! It was a picture perfect hookset and fight with Steve acting as if he had done it thousands of times before.
STEVE POSES WITH HIS FIRST FISH WHILE JERRY FINISHES A DRIFT.
We took a few minutes for photos of the skunk chaser and off he went back to his cold winter home.
Not long after that first fish, Steve was hooked up again. Unfortunately, that fish broke the line just a few feet from the net.
No sweat there though, as a short time later, it was Jerry's turn to put points on the board. As I was working with Steve, we look down stream to see Jerry's rod doubled down and so I made my way for the net and then sprinted down the shore to his location. Moments later we had this beautiful fresh hen in hand and a big smile on Jerry's face.
After a few more lost fish and another couple landed, we made our way to another location and within moments of giving instruction, Steve whacks this monster buck. He was 27" long and weighed in at 10.25lbs. What a fish Steve.....Nice job!!!
John Clouser and John Miller were also on the water for the day. They both were blessed to host first time steelheaders on this most challenging day. However, despite the challenges, both Zac and Anthony banged their first Steelhead ever. Good job guides on putting them on fish and hats off to Zac and Anthony for doing their part as well. As I always say..."I can put you on fish, but I can't guarantee you will catch them...that is up to you!"
ANTHONY WITH A BEAUTIFUL FIRST FISH ON THE FLY.
ZAC WITH A SMILE FOR THE CAMERA ON HIS FIRST FISH DAY.
As always, thanks to all the clients for the privilege of allowing us to serve you and fish with you over the course of a day or days. The smiles on your faces are the reason why our job is so rewarding.
Keep your eyes on the conditions as they are ever changing and get out when you can.
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters