Let Nature Have Her Way…

In the months of December, January, and February, the wonderful mother nature lets her feeling show. And in the event of an ” El nino” year she seems to let her eyes water and the rain comes down. On these day a Steelhead angler can only defend himself with an unlimited supply of rain jackets and as much warm food as he or she can pack. My good friend and steeheading great John Hazel once said to me,” the coldest days on the river are 38 and raining”. I can’t argue with that statement one bit.
I just seem to notice how quickly most anglers of the winter fold after a couple of days in the wet raining conditions. Combined that with tough fishing conditions, and what do you get? The hobbies of some angler are great but the passions of a few draw the future of the sport.
When we look at a steelhead and the journey he must make, and what he has lived through just to be here in your stream. The hard ships of surviving the ocean life. The migrations to and from the stream of their birth, putting them one moment closer to some fate unknown to the fish himself. These animal lives set in motions by a deep seeded instinct. This instinct so deep no matter how we try to crush it, damn it, filter it, the instinct remains to keep them animals alive and breed a new generation.
That kind of determination is to be admired and I believe followed by example. So in some small fraction what you must give to be able to call yourself an angler of these fishes, the time, the money, bad weather, rain, snow, sleet, wind. When you have given all the things you must to become and angler, then you will be open to learn and rewards will come.
Winter steelhead are harder to predict then a good economic recovery. That’s just what make me love them more. When you think you have figured the secret out call me, until then I will be as patience and diligent as ever and maybe I help you gain the rewards.

Big fly theory

Their are so my ideas in the subject of fly selection for the pastime of chasing steelhead. And I am going to say right now that I don’t have all the answers I just go fishing a lot. So the theories I am about to present are strictly observation. I have run these ideas by other steelhead fishermen in my circle of fishing friends. The overall consensus is the same regardless of the color or make of the fly.
The idea is simple, the larger the fly you fish may not catch as many fish. The large fly is a way to filter the non aggressive fish from the equation. The addiction we all share is the grab, the take, or pull. Fishing larger flies, and I mean larger anywhere from 5 to 10 inches, is a sure fire way to provoke the most electric takes you can possibly extract from swung fly steelhead tactics.
I tested the fly size theory in depth for about 8 solid months. Now and then when I really need the rip the rod from your hands kinda take I will fish intruders in about the 8 ” range. The size of the fish did not seen to change I once caught a 22′ long Deschutes summer steelhead in late November on a 10″ long blood red tandem tube style fly.
I will leave you now with this thought, when the rivers treat you good or maybe you need something to inspire in a slow season give the large fly a try, rod lost or breakage not my fault but have some fun and fish clean with confidence.

A great phrase for the true WINTER steelheader

When I get stuck somewhere or sometimes and can’t escape. I often read something on the subject that helps my mind keep it peace. The simple mention of winter steelhead to some people make them instantly cold, to others it gives goose bumps of another kind. When in pursuit of a not only the most worthy but seemingly elusive opponent. I often think of the following passage to keep myself in check.

“When the first real rains of winter roil the streams in the coast country the steelhead, out at sea, hear their own rivers calling. And they have to come in. You may depend on it. They have to swim above the gravel again and under the cedars and firs. That is the law as it was appointed for steelheads. So we fisherman, if may style myself by a name so honorably ancient, are almost excited about a real steelhead rain as the steelhead are. And we have to go too.”

Ben Hur Lampman. A leaf from french eddy.