The last few hours of my life have comprised a very welcome day! After what has seemed like endless days of snow, warm weather, blown rivers and NO FISHING....we finally got out thus ending the bad spell I had found myself in.
I had the opportunity to fish with three gentlemen from "our neck of the woods" today. We met at a bit earlier hour than I typically do this time of year, because of overnight temps around freezing. I was gambling that we might not have any ice in the flow to start the day.
Well, my gamble paid off as we got on the water early and not a single piece of ice was flowing :) My understanding of my fishing comrades was that they had limited steelheading experience on their own and a bit with other guides in the past. Chuck however had never caught a steelhead.
I started putting rods together and put Chuck in position first. As I was getting the other rods ready, we heard some thrashing. I looked downstream to see a fish going wild in the surface. Needless to say, he was on and then he was off....but it was within the first couple minutes of the day. I was excited as to what the day would bring.
As luck would have it....or perhaps the providence of God....Chuck was again hooked up within mere minutes. Now wait a minute.....can I really believe this guy has never caught a steelhead? I mean, two fish in nearly as many minutes? Either he wasn't being completely truthful or we had a serious case of beginners luck going on.
CHUCK WITH HIS FIRST STEELHEAD EVER. A 24" CHROMED OUT HEN.
After the excitement of a first fish, we settled in to helping the other guys get the hang of things. Oh, Chuck wasn't done and wouldn't be anytime soon, but we'll get back to that.
For now, it was Steve's turn. After watching his close friend landing fish, he was ready for one of his own. It was a hot fish of average size with PA style shoulders and it like every other, brought smiles to the faces of those in every direction.
STEVE WITH HIS FIRST FISH OF THE DAY
With two skunks out of the bag, there was only one remaining. As we joked with Dick, we told him it was either him or the skunk, but he had to choose. He assured us that in time he would carry his weight......and after some time, he did just that.
DICK WITH HIS FIRST STEELHEAD OF THE DAY
So, now that the skunk was out of the bag and headed elsewhere, all that was left was to have fun with the day....and fun we did have!!! The fish continued to come throughout the day and we welcomed every one. The weather was very nice also, especially for one of the last days of Fall.
STEVE AND CHUCK SHARE ANOTHER FISH MOMENT
Now, back to lucky Chucky or Chucky Baby as we called him on the walk out :O
Yes, we were just moments into the day....Chuck had lost one and landed another...what a start to the day. After warming up his hands, I guess he thought he would try to take it the next step.
I was standing over his shoulder directing him in where he should be casting....I said, "Try casting out along that dark ledge you see. Fish like to lay along those kind of areas." Chuck followed directions to a "T". Then all at once the indicator stopped, he checked up, and a Slab O' Silver came rolling to the top. I instantly broke for the net and told him to be easy on her if necessary. The "between the lines" was, "DON'T LOSE THAT FISH!"
I knew it was a nice fish, and didn't really wait for it to play out. As soon as I could get close and see her moment of weakness, I struck and came up a winner.
Here before me was a man that by days end we were calling Chucky Baby, because he flat out kicked butt all day!!!
WITH HIS FIRST FISH EVER NOW LANDED, CHUCK DECIDES TO STEP IT WAY UP ON DAY ONE AND NAIL A 30" HEN THAT WEIGHED IN AT 11.25 -11.50lbs.
All the guys did a fine job on the day, but Chuck surprised us all. So, Chuck, if you are reading this.....Here's to you mister catch them all in one day all-star (budweiser song playing in background)....you throw bare hooks and fish rush from other rivers just to be in the same water as you (song still playing) When others are trying to get just one fish you look up stream and say if you were only "Chucky Baby." (Song plays on)....Here's to you mister steelheader master. :) In all seriousness, congrats guys on one heck of a day.
Going back a few days, John Miller was on the water recently with Patrick and his buddies. Patrick also stepped it up as a first timer and had an awesome couple of days.
PATRICK WITH HIS FIRST FISH....DESPITE THE SNOWY CONDITIONS
THE RAW BEAUTY OF A STEELHEAD ON THE ALLEY
PATRICK WITH ANOTHER NICE SPECIMEN FROM HIS TIME WITH JOHN
Tomorrow I will be back out on the water and hope to see just as many chrome fish. I will be with a returning client who knows how to get it done, so that is the plan.
If you can handle near freezing water and challenging travel conditions at times, then get out. The fish are fresh and still moving in, so got get em.....we are :)
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters