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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Suckers and Steelhead...

The day began early on the western most end of Steelhead Alley.  A friend of mine who is a protege of sorts has been wanting his shot at the Steelhead game, and today was that day.

After looking at the flow gauges we decided to give the mighty "V" a shot.  As luck would have it, we shouldn't have.  With flows approaching 100 today, people came to the "V" from all over the region (numerous state plates were seen) certain that the conditions would be stellar!

What was extremely disheartening was the fact that the water clarity was a poor, I mean poor 8" of visibility.  Throughout the morning, we picked up some sure signs that the spring run should be under way.  White Suckers are a staple in many of Ohio's rivers in March and April.  Their spawn coincides with the Steelhead's.  However, despite this sure sign, no Steelhead were found.  I spoke personally with a dozen or so bait fisherman (Pinners and Spin) and nearly all (except one) had caught exactly nothing....with bait!!!!

Needless to say, the river I cut my teeth on years ago has been a huge disappointment the last few years.  It is sad to see a watersheds water quality going down as the "V's" is.  Hopefully someone with influence will take notice of the siltation that is ever increasing and do something about it.



So after a tough morning and no Steelhead caught, seen, or heard from, we decided to leave the river that is so near and dear to my heart!

After a drive east, we arrived at the next target location.  With water conditions on the opposite end of the spectrum, we went to targeting some fish that weren't so obvious to the throngs of people who were fishing when we got there.

As every first time Steelheader, Keith got his waders handed to him after a critical mistake following his first hook-up.  Yes, Keith felt that tug and subsequent burst of speed as the fish charged up river and his reaction.....well, let's just say that his first reaction (against my coaching I might add) was a double fisted rod and line grab complete with one foot forward for good measure.  I think in the matter of a second, I watched the rod begin to bow.....lower.....lower.....lower.....( in slow motion I said "hands off the line" but I was too late)....lower.....lower.....SNAP!!!

The good that stemmed from the situation was the immense laughs it provided, not to mention the lesson that Keith learned in an instant.

It didn't take long, as Keith is a persistent guy, for that moment of hook-up to happen again.  Only this time Keith was ready for the piece of steel on the other end of his line.  After a picture perfect hook set and transference of the fish from hand to the reel (like a lifer), the fish was charging up and down the stream.  In a matter of moments I had the opportunity to share that magical moment of a first Steelhead moment.


Today was all about suckers, steelhead, and teaching others the awesomeness of this sport we know as fly fishing.  Steelhead Alley is a great place to live.

We are back on the water first thing in the morning.....check back often for updates.

Tight Lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

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