Saturday, September 18, 2010

...and of course the squirrels

After some success in town on Friday after work, I decided to go back to the same spot on Sunday afternoon in hopes of landing some more trout, a carp, or perhaps get another chance at a steelhead.  I rode my bike with my gear on my back downtown and parked my bike near the spot I fished Friday.  I locked the bike to a fence and walked down to the river below.

It was a nice sunny and warm 80 degree day so I opted to leave the waders on the shore.  I pulled off my shoes and rigged up my rod.  After losing a nice steelhead two days ago on a poorly tied fly on 6x I decided it was probably a good idea to take my 5x tippet section off and change out to 4x.  There weren't any bugs coming off the water today so I figured dredging the bottom with nymphs was my best bet.  I tied a size 12 Mega Prince on the 4x and dropped a caddis nymph off the back on 5x.

I stepped into the cool but not cold water and started tossing my flies into the seam upstream of where I was, and watching the indicator flow down n to the slower water below me.  I worked the seam for 20 minutes and got no action.  At least it was a beautiful day to be out on the water and to enjoy the weather.

Not having any action, I moved out a few feet and found a nice big and stable rock to stand on to keep my shorts dry.  I started throwing my flies to the next seam farther out. And just like Friday the whole time I was snagging caddis pods and having to clean off my flies.  It was annoying, but at least every time I snagged one it gave me the momentary hope that I had a fish on the line.  Of course when I set the hook each time there would be nothing there.

Finally, when I set the hook after my indicator dove there was some solid resistance, and after a second or two I felt the telltale wiggles of a fish on the end of the line.  And the fact that it was stationary for a few moments told me it was a nice fish.  I pulled and he stayed still.  I pulled some more and I still remained where he was.  He took a couple of nice runs and pulled 10-20 yards of line off my reel and came up twice for some aerial acrobatics.  As a sidenote, I sort of wished my reel was the clicking sort so I could hear that glorious whir, but it's not.  After he took a few runs I was able to pull him into the slow moving water surrounding me.  I got him close with my net out, but when he saw me he took off again.

After another ten minutes of fighting me out in the swift current he came back into the slow water and I got my net ready again.  He looked ready to be netted so I got ready, stretched my rod out behind me and stuck the net in front and that's when I realized my leader was about two feet longer than my reach.  I could pull the fish up to the front of the net, but I could pull him in.  He gained some strength and took another run but was pretty tired out so it didn't take too long to get him back. I managed to pull him in close then quickly took a step toward him to net him.  It wasn't pretty, but I got my net on him.  He was actually considerably longer than the net, but he went in nonetheless.

Then he decided he wasn't done.  One big flop an he was right back out of my net.  He turned and took off and that's when he threw the hook.  It sucked and there were a couple fishermen across the river watching me from where they had just docked their boat.  I tried to play it off as though it was an intentional quick release.

I shook it off, took a short break to rest my arm, then shortened my leader to avoid another fiasco and got right back to it.  I walked out to my rock, stood atop it and started throwing my line out into the current.  And it wasn't too much later that I had another wiggle on the end of the line when I set the hook.  We were on again!

This time I was determined to get some images of the fish before I landed him just in case.  After he took his first big run and seemed to be somewhat stationary I quickly pulled my camera out of my vest and slipped my hand through the wrist strap.  Now I was ready to get a picture if he got in close enough or came up to splash on the surface.  It took a good 10-15 minutes before I even got a glimpse of him.  He was gracious enough to let me pull him up to the surface out in the current to snap a couple quick pics.

I breathed a sigh of relief because I at least had evidence that I had a nice fish on the line, now it was time to try to successfully land and release him.  Eventually I pulled him into the shallow still water and easily pulled him in netting distance.  I plunged my net into the water below him and picked him right up.  He flopped a little but remained in the net.  I hurried back to the shore to pull the fly and snapped a quick image of him, with my hand in the picture for perspective.
Then back to the water he went.  A couple quick back and forth agitations to get water moving through his gills and he slipped out from my hands back into the currents.  I stood up with a smile on my face, and a group of three guys on the other side of the river gave me some cheers.  They had watched most of it while hanging out chatting.  I gave them a thumbs up and went and sat on the bank with a smile on my face and a tired arm.

I know literally nothing about steelhead other than they are big rainbows that go out to live part of their lives at sea.  I don't know how you're supposed to catch them:  where, with what, etc.  But I managed to finally officially catch one.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.


  1. Such a situation is the reason for establishing The Rule. I would like to refer you to section 1.1, which clearly states:

    "1.1 - Touching of the fish may be performed by any body appendage, it's substitute or direct extension, with the obvious exception of rod and reel."

    My interpretation of The Rule is you caught two steelhead, as you touched the first fish with the net: a "direct extension" of your hand.

  2. I agree with Clif's Rule #1.

    Two awesome fish. Those other fishermen on the river got to watch two great catches.