And God spoke "Let there be steelhead", and there was...

GungasUncle
GungasUncle
My long, long drought is over - I finally landed a steelhead after nearly a decade since my last one. I was fishing over on the north coast today - swinging flies for sea run cutts (which was also pretty hot today) - when I came to a stretch of water where the river made a nearly 90 degree bend between pools. At the apex of the bend, there was a big, almost still pool carved out from the bedrock.

While fishing the run just above the pool (got a few nice SRC's from that run) I glanced over and saw something BIG rising. I figured big SRC - so I worked downstream and started casting to the frog water. First fish I hooked up with and landed WAS a small cuttie. That wasn't he fish making the big rise form, I was sure, so I cast again. I should mention, I was tossing a #12 black woolly bugger on a 5X tippet with my Echo 4 wt switch rod. (I did mention I was trout fishing, right?)

I started stripping the fly back in short strips - just a few strips in - BAM. The fish hit hard, yanking the loop of line out of my hands. I figured I was into a big sea run cuttie - until I got the fish close in and he jumped. Was definitely not a cutt! This made my pulse rate jump even higher, since I was anxious to finally land a steelie (not to mention, that this is the longest I'd had such a fish connected to my line in a long time too).

Then I made a mistake - I let the fish get into the fast water between pools. I thought for sure my little 5lb tippet was going to snap. That Echo really does a number of protecting light tippets though, and the fairly light drag on the Cortland Vista was great. I followed the fish through the fast water and got him into the calmer water of the next pool and after a couple more leaps and head shakes, I got the fish coming my way and managed to get it into my tiny little wooden trout sized landing net (he spilled out of it pretty well.). Then the hook popped out. (Barbless hook). I took a minute to stare at the fish and double check it WAS a steelie - not a cutthroat. Orange throat slashes? Nope? Cutthroat like spots? Nope. Definitly a big rainbow. :D The fish was pretty bright too - hadn't been in fresh water long enough to get really dark like the older summer run fish do.

The thing that surprised me the most though - was the fish had an adipose fin. I didn't think the river in question had a native summer run - so this fish was either a really early winter fish, or the wild off spring of hatchery parents that made it in the wild. Or maybe it was a fish that got by the fin-cutters and was a plain old hatchery fish. Don't know - it had a fin, so it went back.

I hope this is a good omen, signalling that the spell is broken and I'm going to start catching more salmon/steel this year. It was doubly kickass that I got this fish on a fly - and not on a gob of roe.

In other sort of uplifting news, I saw the carks of five dead salmon and one dead steelhead today too - there's definitely been fish in the rivers, so I'm hoping that too, is a sign, and this year we'll get more fish back than we have been. I want to get a fall nook or two for the table, and as many hatchery winter steel as I can. One can dream, right?
 
M
mlw
Nice report - surprises like that are the best - congrats on landing it.
Michael
 
T
Thuggin4Life
Thanks for the report. Sounds like a blast. specially that steel action on trout gear.
 
S
Sinkline
.
 
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M
Modest_Man
Nice report! Any hints on what water you were on? I'd really like to try to get into some sea-run cutthroats. Attempted them on the Wilson last week, but only got smaller fish.
 
I
idahojeff
Nice fish Gungasuncle! You put your time in and you deserve that one! Congrats!
 
W
waco
Congrats on your first fish landed in almost a decade!! I bet fighting the fish in a 4wt it was so fun!!!
 
H
halibuthitman
that summer run thing happens to me all the time on the necanicum... go figure. congrats on the "bonus" fish and good job with the light set-up!
 
GungasUncle
GungasUncle
Thanks all.

Modest Man, you're in the right area. We just needed a bit of rain to get the fish stirred up. A couple good rainy days and the water will rise a bit, and bring more fish in - SRC, steelies, and salmon. Saw more fish this week than I did last.

And Waco - it was really fun, though scary. The 4 wt Switch rod really is trout-weight, but it'll handle average sized summer steel without problems. The 4 wt switch really is more of a 6 weight - in fact Tim Rajeff recommends using a 6 wt line with this rod for spey casting, and you can use a 4 weight line for single hand casting. Really though - the 6 weight works best for both - the #4 line won't shoot as far as the 6. If I'd been targeting the steelies on purpose, I would've switched up to a proper leader with an 8lb tippet. The Echo rod is a fast action - but when you get a fish on it bends all the way down to the cork, which helped a lot with the light tippet. The reel I'm using was nice too - it's a Cortland Vista M turbine-drag. The drag is self adjusting - no start up friction, and it only gets heavy enough to prevent an over-run, no heavier. Any more drag needed is done by palming the spool rim. Really neat reel, not sure why Cortland discontinued it.

I'm going to tie up some more steelhead flies, and the next time I head back there, I'll be more ready for the metal heads.

And I'm going to pick up a full spey rod before much longer too - this two-hander fly fishing is fun :)
 
B
bigsteel
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
 
Raincatcher
Raincatcher
I love surprises...and the fishy ones are some of the best!
 
N
ninja2010
good job on the long-waited steelie... on a 4 wt to boot. what a rush that musta been...

GungasUncle said:
And I'm going to pick up a full spey rod before much longer too - this two-hander fly fishing is fun :)

hehe, another one bites the dust - welcome to the next dimension of fly fishing. and kudos on referring to it as "two-hander" and not "spey".
 
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Reactions: halibuthitman
J
john montana
sweet!
 
H
halibuthitman
ninja2010 said:
good job on the long-waited steelie... on a 4 wt to boot. what a rush that musta been...



hehe, another one bites the dust - welcome to the next dimension of fly fishing. and kudos on referring to it as "two-hander" and not "spey".
oh man not another purist!:rolleyes:;)
 
N
ninja2010
halibuthitman said:
oh man not another purist!:rolleyes:;)

sorry, brad... but that rubbed off from another forum... no purist here - what with barbelled intruders and squidros, egg patterns, and on the verge of tying on a 00 spinner :shock: - just a long rod casting junkie. :lol:

so, uncle of gunga... which rod are you eyeing? another echo (tr or dh)?
 
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F
fishsauce
Sweet report. I enjoyed the read, felt as if I was there. Congrats on bonking the 10 year old skunk.
 
troutdude
troutdude
Now there is a fine lesson in Gungas class kids:

Skunk Bonking 101!
 
GungasUncle
GungasUncle
ninja2010 said:
sorry, brad... but that rubbed off from another forum... no purist here - what with barbelled intruders and squidros, egg patterns, and on the verge of tying on a 00 spinner :shock: - just a long rod casting junkie. :lol:

so, uncle of gunga... which rod are you eyeing? another echo (tr or dh)?

Probably will go Echo again - not sure if I'll go with the Solo 2Hand, the Dec Hogan, or the Tim Rajeff model yet. I'll have to cast them to see which style I like the best. From their descriptions, the TR has a softer tip than the DH, and the Solo is a medium action rod that's right in the middle of the road. But I'm really only looking at the Echos for a Spey, I'm really quickly becoming a big Echo fan. Tim Rajeff and his crew really know their stuff.
 
C
ChezJfrey
troutdude said:
Now there is a fine lesson in Gungas class kids:

Skunk Bonking 101!

I might sign up if I can get on the accelerated plan, rather than the 10 year deal ;)
 
brandon4455
brandon4455
nice job steel on a 4wt sounds mighty fine. :clap:
 

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