Why Steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by NomDeTrout, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Bullshit! For you, maybe, but not for me. The name, "Chinook" evokes images of raw , unstoppable power for me. I have hooked a quite a few over 30 lbs, but never a steelhead over about 17 lbs. I have hooked Chinook I have never seen and so powerful that I could not stop their run into a log jam, but I suppose a 30 lb Steelhead would be as powerful a fish, equal to a Chinook of the same size. The name, "Steelhead" invokes images of acrobatics, and also of fanaticism and addiction and crowded rivers.

    I have caught chrome Chum on a fly in a coastal creek that fought every bit as hard and spectacular as a Steelhead. The one Chinook I hooked on a fly was too powerful for words...an 8wt fly rod was a pitiful tool against that charging beast.

    I'll take Chinook over steel any day. Any day.

    But BDD really said it.

    This year, I've been invited out and dragged down the river on what seems like the worst days to be steelhead fishing, lately. I'm even driven to swearing! Aye...SWEARING!!! that a boat ride down the 'Nooch for steelhead fishin' with Capt Fearless is enuff to kill your fight and start ye drinkin' the hard stuff! He positions the boat so the good water is just a few feet further than ye can cast to, and then moves on after only 3 casts! Or he anchors up in water that looks too fast. Hell...it IS too fast! And when ye think yer gonna fly fish for Nates, he announces that he is gonna experiment with spawn sacks and roe. WTF? The season is over for hatchery fish!

    Like I said, I'm done...maybe just done floating ...I did much better when I was hiking the coastal streams alone. I can never find anyone to go hike and wade fish with me, but I think I'm going back to that. Steelheading is a lonely experience anyway, since so much of it is anticipation, contemplation, and hope.
    And different anglers have different approaches to the game. It almost seems unrealistic to hope to find a fishing buddy who thinks along the same lines that one does himself. As soon as my Achilles' tendon heals up better, I'll just hike in somewhere and fish. Alone. I have a really hard time riding in someone else's boat when I always feel out of position all the time and keep getting skunked trip after trip.

    But when you've been invited along for a float, it just ain't right to criticize the rower for his positioning or choice of days, even though you'd go on another day, and/or position the boat differently if you were rowing yourself. You just have to grin and bear it.:beathead:

    If I fish for steel again, I think I am going alone. i don't want anyone else calling any of the shots.
     
  2. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Jim, so you have good success with a springer taking a fly on the swing?

    Just for some objectiveness: I appreciate it when someone asks me to change the profile of the boat, in fact I think you need that as a rower. I learn that way. It only takes a second of spacing out to get the position out of wack for one or both fisherman, but I understand what you're saying. Steelheading is best done from the bank anyway. when ever I nymph out of a boat, I feel like I'm missing the point.
     
  3. oldskool

    oldskool Guest

    Man, I might be treading on sacred ground here but I got to ask. Pan, have you ever stuck a healthy carp on the fly? I don't mean like those 5-8 lbrs, I mean like the ones in the mid teens. WOW! If you have, then you have to call it a toss up don't you?
     
  4. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    It was a Fall fish, in late Oct or early Nov on the Satsop a few years ago. At least 25 lbs. I was sort of "high stick" dead-drifting a large black and purple ESL along a seam about ten feet from the anchored boat, next to an underwater snaggy log, when it bit and then started shaking its head. It exploded upstream and snapped me off. Just like that.

    I prefer bank fishing for steelhead, too. Certain walk-in spots are sometimes better to fish at dusk right up until dark, but I don't like to still be floating downstream after dark. When I'm fishing alone, and stalking fish on foot, I sometimes feel like I'm being stalked myself on the way out, especially when walking with a dying battery in my headlamp!
     
  5. Brady Burmeister

    Brady Burmeister Active Member

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    I just caught a 15 pounder a couple days ago and have caught a few nice carp over the years on a fly rod, including a 20+ pounder, and i love fishin for them during the warmer months when the steelies are gone, but they don't even come close to the excitement of steellhead. They have a lot of bulldog power and can hold their ground, but really don't compare to the leaping, hard runs of a steelhead.
     
  6. bconrad

    bconrad Member

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    I fish primarily for steelhead because no other fish gives me the shakes.
     
  7. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Carp, the poor man's steelhead. Carp kick ass for sure.
     
  8. Brookie_Hunter

    Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

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    They're elusive beasts worth the prowl.
     
  9. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    Funny thing is I've probably spent more money chasing carp than I have steelhead.
     
  10. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

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    For me, I think it started when I was a kid growing up in the Midwest. Other than an occasional trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where I had the opportunity to fish a small river that was stocked with trout, most of my fishing was done in lakes for bass, bluegill, and catfish. For some, reason, this left something to be desired. Anyhow, I would page through my Grandfathers fishing magazines and from time to time, I would see these pictures of huge rainbow trout. Looking back on it, I’m not entirely sure that they were steelhead. However, these pictures did leave an impression on me, and I use to dream about pursuing rainbow trout like those in my Grandfather’s magazines. Looking back at it, I kind of think that steelhead are the epitome (at least for me) of those huge rainbow trout that I used to dream about as a kid.

    Apart from that, I will give the following reasons for why I love to chase steelhead:

    - I get a sense of total freedom when covering miles of river searching for steelhead. So, in other words, I feel alive when I am out on the river.

    - I love the challenge of finding and then afterwards, the satisfaction of catching a steelhead using whatever method I have chosen for that particular day.

    - I love how they (steelhead) go ape shit when you hook into one.

    - Whether they are chrome or have their war paint on, they are all beautiful fish.

    - I am fascinated by the life histories of the steelhead in the different river basins that I pursue them in.

    - Tying steelhead flies gives me a creative outlet; one that I have not known since I quit playing music.

    - In my pursuit of steelhead, I have visited many different places in the state Washington (and a few in Oregon) that I might not have visited otherwise.

    - In my pursuit of steelhead, I have come into contact with people who I would not have not have met otherwise.

    - I like preparing for my trips and doing research on the rivers that I am going to fish.

    - I like the anticipation that I feel while en route to the river.

    - I am fascinated by the history of fishing for steelhead with a fly.


    Sorry if this was a little bit long.
     
  11. doublespey

    doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

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    I've got the shakes too, but it's because my rivers are closed till June and I'm going thru withdrawl. bawling:
     
  12. oldskool

    oldskool Guest

    No lie man, no lie.
     
  13. chromeseeker

    chromeseeker Where's the Bucket?

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    Adam,

    What about Atlantic Salmon? More similar to steelies than to salmon. Or even stripers??

    I'd like to chase both of those species in the future!

    CS
     
  14. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    Good point. The Atlantic salmon fishing I did in Scotland was almost identical to steelhead fishing here, just with more rules and actual Scots instead of Americans dressing up as Scots.
     
  15. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Steelhead are over-rated.

    Sg
     
  16. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Yes, Good point. I have no experience with Atlantics. On my list though.

    Salmo, you're just butt-hurt because washington steelheading sucks. Hey, you always have west-side trout on a .05 weight.
     
  17. kjsteelhead

    kjsteelhead Member

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    Good stuff!
    For me, steelheading is the fishing equivalent of elk hunting. The whole experience is magical, and the way we do it, hard work as well. Fishing for salmon is fun. The brute power of kings, the acrobatics of silvers, but the fishing lacks the finesse that steelhead require. Trout require finesse, but you don't always get "holy shit, now that's a fish!" feeling you get with steelhead. I've been fishing for them it seems since I could walk (Dad would have used one of those baby packs if they'd been invented then). But even now, forty-some-odd years later, every time I get one on the end of the line it feels like Christmas did when I was six years old. When you get to the point where you can catch them with some consistency you know you've reached a level of skill and competence, and that's a pretty good feeling. Now it seems we're going to have to fight as hard for the steelhead as they do on the end of our lines.
     
  18. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

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    Because trout are to easy
     
  19. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith On the river Noyb

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    Because I'm delusional to the fact that I will never catch one.
     
  20. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    Kjsteelhead, well said.