Recently, we have had some crazy weather for the Pacific Northwest. More snow in the last few weeks in the mountains than we have had all winter (practically), and we have had lots of snow in the lower elevations; so the travels and access have been somewhat limited.
Last Wednesday, the drive over in the coastal mountains was rather intense. There was snow falling at a fast pace, and the roads seemed like they were not maintained (even though they were); since I was plowing fresh tracks on the highway. Luckily, the weather more or less broke over the third big up and down on the highway, and pavement became the surface (at least for a little while). On the turnoff the the last road that our destination was on, the road was rather hideous, but we took our time, and safety is always the number one priority.
We got out there and started the hunt for steelhead, and the vibe seemed like it was not too fishy out there. We moved from spot to spot and fish blindly in the probable runs, and tried to seek out steelhead from the high ground in the shallower pools that would expose their holding lies. Many of the standard spots that hold fish normally were not showing any signs of a fish. Was it the colder water temperatures? Was it the low clear water? Probably a combination of the two variables. One spot we saw some fish, but they were not biting the swung flies we presented to them. Then they bolted when they sensed us wading out to get to a good vantage point to fish for them.
Then we got a hookup in a pool that had that promising look to it, as I saw chrome whirling at the end of the line as Cory struck tight. Unfortunately, it was off before it ever really got started. BUMMER!
We then fish hard for several more pools upriver, before making the decent back down river again towards the car. I made sure to let Cory know that persistence would lead to fish, and that eventually we would come upon some fish that would be willing to play. We would not give up, even though we were batting zero, and I kept on telling him how things can change in a moment.
We checked out a spot, and there were two fish sitting like soar thumbs in the crystal clear pool. We went right for the gusto, and waded out carefully to them; avoiding scaring them off, while positioning ourselves so we could dead drift some flies to them. We pulled off step one, and now it was time to present some flies to these fish. After a few casts, the indicator plunged down, and Cory struck tight. He was on, and the two fish did not even move; so it was a surprise fish that we did not see. He ripped the fish in, and it turned out to be a dinky one salter; so we let it go unscathed. We positioned ourselves again to get one of the two fish sitting in front of us. A few casts later and it was Thingamabobber down, as the line streaked downstream so fast to the point where one of the two fish did not bold from its holding lie. Cory fought and landed that fish, and he was stoked. It was a colored up male, with gorgeous red colors.
The larger of the two fish was still holding in the original spot; since both of the two previous hooked fish shot downstream like a bolt of lightning. We waded out to it, and went for it with the original flies. The fish was not interested in the offerings, and I felt like it was possibly willing to play. I put on a fly that was larger, and figured it would either cause to fish to bite or bail out of its holding lie. It turns out, that the fish took the offering, and it also tore off into the tailout and went into the rapids. Cory was stoked, and he was thrilled at the power and strength of the fish. He was from Montana and had caught lots of large trout, but never roped into a steelhead before this day.
He landed the nice wild hen, and admired it while I snapped some pictures of it. We sent it off, and had the most stoked look on his face as she swam off back into the wild. What a day! Persistence pays…..