Steelelk

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by orangeradish, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. orangeradish Bobo approved

    Posts: 2,459
    Capital City
    Ratings: +484 / 0
    I was out fishing a little while ago, and stumbled
    onto a big herd of elk. I was on a pretty small river and they were just on the other side. I spent the last 2 autumns wandering around in the hills looking for them with no success, so my first reaction was sonofabitch. But just for a second. I made a few cow calls, and the girls on the edges looked up. I guess they didn't perceive me as a threat because they just went about their business. Elk use a complex social structure and means of communication. It felt cool to interact with them. I was also struck by how effective their coloration hides them. They are the size of a horse, and they just melt into the timber. They were so close, I could have easily hit them with a cast, but I didn't hear a single twig snap. Just an amazing animal. This all got me thinking about past failure and success. It can be frustrating to get blanked, or eat your tag. But I can't get over how lucky I am to live where I do, and interact with the animals that live here too. I get to leave my world and spend days at a time in their world. That time has made me a better person. I got one grab later that weekend. I was so surprised by it that I totally fucked up the hookset. But it was a few days in the middle of nowhere chasing wild things with some of the best people I have ever met. I'm calling it a win.

    Thanks for reading.
    Jason
  2. Rob Ast Active Member

    Posts: 1,893
    West Pugetopolis WA
    Ratings: +229 / 3
    Nice. Mumbles and I were up on the Elwha a few years back and had the same thing happen. They really are amazing creatures, and being on foot sure makes you appreciate their size.
    orangeradish likes this.
  3. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,429
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,604 / 2
    When our mutual friend AJ flew out from NY last winter to fish with me, on his first day here, he hooked in to his first Pacific run steelhead just as a small group of cow elk walked out of the woods on the opposite bank to watch him do battle. Pretty epic intro to the PNW for him.
    Freestone likes this.
  4. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,281
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,237 / 0
    There's nothing quite like watching a herd of sixty elk disappear before your eyes, much like smoke. Real life ghosts.
  5. orangeradish Bobo approved

    Posts: 2,459
    Capital City
    Ratings: +484 / 0
    Funny you mention that. I was thinking that if I ever hook a steelhead while looking at elk, I'll get a massive tattoo of a 6x6 bull with an adipose and tail fin across my chest and walk around downtown Forks with no shirt on.
  6. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,681
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,729 / 0
    Pretty cool post 'radish. I guess I get somewhat used to seeing elk. I know where to find the Nooksack herd almost any morning. They frequent a few different fields early in the day. The issue is to determine what side of the river they will be on. Saturday morning I was thinking I would try for some shots of elk in the fog and drove right to the field they were in. Only got a few worth keeping out of about 50 shots but it was cool to be around them. I'll post up one of the pics later.
    Freestone and constructeur like this.
  7. Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Posts: 2,660
    Snoqualmie, WA
    Ratings: +833 / 1
  8. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,681
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,729 / 0
  9. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 881
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +369 / 0
    Yeah, I remember taking a good friend on a hike up the Queets many years ago.

    After doing the initial ford of the river and hittin' the trail we were many miles upriver and in that somnambulistic type of hiking where you're zoning out a bit and just looking at the few feet of trail in front of you.

    I was probably a hundred feet in front of Mike and just entering a big grassy meadow when I heard a big sorta breathless "whooof"!

    I looked up and saw that we were on the edge of a huge herd of elk, maybe 50 to 75 beautiful animals grazing in this big grassy place!

    Mike and I both stopped and watched as they raised their heads and saw us. Nonchalantly, the whole herd then sort of ambled off into the surrounding forest and disappeared.

    An amazing memory! :)
  10. Josh dead in the water

    Posts: 2,932
    NW Washington
    Ratings: +495 / 2
    That's pretty cool. I've never seen the Nooksack herd. Then again, I've never looked and I'm not the best at scoping my surroundings when fishing. I'm pretty focused on what I'm doing until I get to the end of the run. I probably miss a lot because of it.
  11. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,956
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +625 / 0
    One late autumn evening I was camped out on a gravel bar on the upper Hoh River. It was one of those crystal clear, frosty cold nights, and every star in the universe was brightly gleaming. I took a walk up the bar to get a view of the sliver of moon showing through the tops of the fir and spruce trees. I was spellbound in the the heady mix of crisp air, and my cedar smoking little campfire, and the magical scene of an absolutely black night sky with all of those ancient lights superimposed. I must have stood there for an hour anyway. And when I turned to walk back to camp, there was a small herd of elk standing right behind me, their backs reflecting the soft moonlight, their antlers slightly twinkling. They were but fifty feet away. I could smell their steaming breath. They weren't the least bit afraid of me. It was a stunningly peaceful moment. I walked back to my tent, maybe 100 yards, and I climbed into my sleeping bag. In a short time I could hear the elk settling down for the night. It felt so good to be that close to them.
    smc, Salmo_g, Steve Call and 6 others like this.