SFR: Snow, Steelhead, and Amanita

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ibn, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    It's been at least a year since I've had a really good day steelheading. I was fortunate to get out on Sunday and hit the full force of the incoming hatchery winter run.

    I left Seattle around 5am and pulled up to my favorite small Olympic Peninsula river at around 8:30. This river isn't swinging water, it's a tributary river with smatterings of deep holes and pockety tailouts. I left the 2hander at home and busted out the centerpin. For those that don't know what a 'pin rod is, it's ~13' long and uses a completely free-spooled reel. I think it's as difficult, if not more difficult then a fly rod to cast. Definitely an art-form, just different.

    Back to the story... I walked down to the first run and as I was crossing the river I tossed my line into the head of the pool. As I was finishing crossing and dragging my nymphing gear across the stream I felt a little resistance. I gave a little jerk thinking I was hungup, felt a headshake then saw a chromer take a flying leap and spit my gear. Good start!

    The next 2 hours the snow started coming down in sheets, and the fish decided to bite. At one point I was starting to get a little vertigo as I was watching my indicator, the current of the river, and the falling flakes, everything moving in different directions. The temp kept dropping and the snow kept coming, but despite the cold the fishing was hot. We hooked around a dozen fish and landed around half of them. All chrome bright, and ranging from 3-6lbs.

    Around lunchtime the fishing slowed down a bit, so we decided to hike up stream. We made it about a half mile or so before the fishing picked back up. This time we found some bigger double digit fish hiding under a downed root-wad, the largest being a nice 12-13lb hatchery hen. You had to make a perfect cast, and hooking a fish was no guarantee of landing it on account of the roots and branches. We lucked out and pulled several more fish out while only loosing 2.

    As we were making our way back downstream, all smiles, my fishing buddy spotted a patch of Amanita mushrooms overhanging the river edge. For those who have never heard of an Amanita (Fly Agaric), it's a mushroom with a long and worldy cultural history. The mushroom itself is rumored to cause an intense reaction that some claim makes you feel as if you're flying, it will also make a man violently ill if consumed, even kill. To get around this many nomadic tribes from Russia and Scandinavia used to feed them to their Reindeer herds then imbibe the urine from the animal. Regardless of the history, they make for some cool photos! (and no, I didn't pick them, or try and get any local elk to eat them so I could drink their urine)

    The snow and ice on the road made for a long and slow drive home, but it was worth an excellent day of fishing and finally finding some mushrooms I've read so much about.
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome report and photos Ibn.
     
  3. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    One of the best reports of the year. Thanks for helping me get the stoke going while unable to fish. Very cool find on the mushrooms as well. this is the mushroom that has been claimed to give birth to the xmas tree

    Diggin that 3rd picture (op3) alot. waste deep(as it appears on camera), snow, chrome fish, and a great pose.
     
  4. Annie Rutherford

    Annie Rutherford Washington Native

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    Man, i am green with envy! Nice.
     
  5. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    Sweet- sometimes it all just comes together and is magical, like mushrooms. Great report and photos!
     
  6. FlyFshn'Fool

    FlyFshn'Fool Member

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    Beautiful photos and good story. I wish I was there!!!!! Oh how I love Winter Steelheading! I have yet to experience left coast Steelhead, as all of mine was done on the Great Lakes, until I moved West. There are not many things that are better than colder temps, overcast, falling snow, clear water and fish moving! One of my best days, the harder and worse it snowed, the better the fish bit! I can not wait to ply the Steelhead waters of the West!

    Made me jealous with this thread!

    Congrats!
     
  7. smc

    smc Active Member

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    Just about the best ever, ibn. Awesomeness! Thanks.
     
  8. Rod Wittner

    Rod Wittner Active Member

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    Tremendous! Those pics and the report fire me up!
     
  9. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

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    Crap! here I sit all nice and warm, wish I'd been there instead.

    LB
     
  10. bigdood

    bigdood fishing hack

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    What he said!
     
  11. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

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    I have never been to the Oly Pen, nor caught a steely, this report makes me wish I had done both. The image of watching the snow fall, the indicator bouncing, the current, hooking fish....very cool.
    Great report.
     
  12. singlemalt

    singlemalt New Member

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    What an amazing day it must have been!! Beautiful fish on a perfect winter day - it doesn't get much better than that!
     
  13. Broderick Smith

    Broderick Smith SeaToTree

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    wow man...i was ready for bed, now I'm all amped up and ready to farsh in the snow. That is sweet.
     
  14. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

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    great report. thanks for sharing.

    Once this cold passes I gotta get out there.
     
  15. Cruncher

    Cruncher -

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    Great job pinning them. Must have been majestic on the water with snow falling all around and having a tight line.
     
  16. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Cool report. What pin rod is that? The handle looks kind of unique. Been thinking of getting one so I can "nymph" more effectively than with a fly rod. Either you are well liked on the forum or the forum is slowly changing or both. There was a time when someone would get flamed for posting a gear report on a fly fishing site...but not by me.
     
  17. riseform

    riseform Active Member

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    That was a joy to read. I've wanted to see Amanita muscaria since I learned about it in botany class over 20 years ago. Great find and photos, thanks for sharing.
     
  18. Will Carnaghi

    Will Carnaghi Member

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    Very nice report man. I'm really getting amped for the winter fish now!
     
  19. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey BDD, it's a 2-piece 11'3" loomis GLX STR-1352 and a ross flow reel, works great for those smaller rivers/streams.

    Regarding a gear fishing report; I agree, and I hesitated to post. I thought about it for a while, then decided to go ahead since it was such a fun day and something I wanted to share. While I do swing flies for steelhead, I did most of my catching nymphing, I think other nymphers might enjoy pin fishing, it's a real challenge to learn how to cast. There are a lot of parallels to fly fishing, both in the enjoyment I get, and the techniques used to fish.
     
  20. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

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    ibn... Sweet report! Have you started fishing blades off your center pin yet?
     

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