Why Steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Muskypicker, May 8, 2011.

  1. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,503
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,706 / 2
    Jarad Skeels guides just on the other side of the border. He's posted on this thread, "JS."
  2. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,239
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +223 / 2
    I don't have much to add to what has already been said. I do think that steelhead are generally over rated as a sport fish but exhibit the best combination of qualities I like in a fish; beauty, life history, size, speed, willingness to take the fly, diversity, and sporting qualities add up to be the perfect freshwater game fish in North America. Hardcore Atlantic Salmon anglers may disagree but having never fisher or caught one, I can't really comment on that.

    I'm not completely possessed to chase steelhead over every other fish. When the rivers are blown or they are on the spawn, or environmental conditions are such that they severely restrict the chance of hooking a fish, I'll fish for or do something different. Fishing comes first. Fishing for steelhead comes a close second. However, when conditions, run timing, season, and location all line up, there is nothing I'd rather fish for. Steelhead are where my heart, mind and soul unite for now.

    Should I experience freshwater dorado, bones, tarpon, permit or any other species that I have not done, then that could be subject to change. However, I don't see myself taking off to live in a tropical or other exotic location, so I'm content with my current situation by chasing steel.
  3. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,575
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    Because now and then, you get to shake the hand of god..
  4. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,401
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +774 / 2
    It's fun to pursue endangered species.
  5. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,138
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +127 / 0
    RATE THIS THREAD BUTTON.

    Gave it 5 stars; great answers, but "The tug is the Drug" covered it for me. The 'anticipation' that this could be the run, THE cast, the, the, the ... and repeat.

    fae
  6. ralfish Active Member

    Posts: 297
    B.C.
    Ratings: +48 / 0
    There are far more effective and easier ways to catch steelhead than on the fly. In recent years with short heavy head line developments it has become easier though. That being said, for those who persevere and wish to pursue the game the choice of line type and offering is theirs.

    The time spent learning to cast, figuring out the play of water on the line and fly and how that will effect how it swims, the preferred holding water types, and the various run timings all become part of a code that we begin to unravel.

    Least of importance to the fish but most attractive to the angler is the choice of fly and delivery system. Traditional mixed wing, heavily weighed string leech or waked; steelhead eat them all. Some of us want to fish with pretty flies for no particular reason other than we think it shows some respect to the quarry, and the fact that the time spent acquiring materials and figuring out how to tie and fish nice bugs extends the pleasure involved in the game. Its the same reason why some like using old beat up gear and pawl reels when so many better performing and easier to use reels are available. Land a fish on a wobbly clicker, get a good line burn in the process and the smile is that much more intense...as is the smile when you have found a 20lb+ player that ate your Dee wing on a floater fished behind a few guides on their day off fishing the usual heavy huge junk. (the fish in the pic taped out at 38'', the rod handle is 18'' long)

    Point being there are many levels you can take it to in the game. The fish are irrespective of this and will eat a rubber worm just as soon as a nice Akroyd if its presented correctly. Take it to whatever level you want, read as much into it as you want and take from the game what you want. We all have our reasons and hopefully some of us get it and clue in that without our active involvement in conservation all the romanticism of the game means jack shit to those who would rather count $$$ than fish steelhead
  7. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,593
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +752 / 2
    Not sure what illusive means but oh well.


    Your comment is quite the stretch. Ever fish for Permit, carp, musky, tarpon, etc.? Steelhead are willing biters.
  8. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,637
    Ratings: +649 / 2
    I taught many friends how to catch steelhead in the 80's on a fly rod with flies , it ruined them as far as i'm concerned , when i asked them to go to the deshutes to fish for trout they laughed and said why?

    why do i want to go catch 16 inch trout when we can catch 10 pound steelhead ? i wish i never taught them to catch steelhead on a fly !

    the only thing you need to know about steelhead is how to get a fly down to them - THATS ALL -
    they are not picky , they are not tunned into the aquatic insect life in what rivers they swim up , to me they are a stupid fish , learn to get a fly to them and they will take .

    the other thing about steelhead is fishing where they actually are . just because a river is known to have them doesnt mean they are their ! so the other thing to know is when they will be their and what kind of water they like . when you learn these things you are done , and you are a master steelheader and can be a guide or teach others . it doesnt matter if you swing or nymph or bead or what ever you want to do , just learn to get it down and find them .

    to me fly fishing is about trout , learning aquatic insect life in waters the trout live in and matching that life cycle perfectly to have a spring river trout want to eat it . which is just a little harder then getting a fly down and takes much more study and brain work IMO . the northwest steelheaders are great fisherman don't get me wrong . but there is so much more to fly fishing that the steelheader never learns , or just doesnt want to learn that it saddens me . it saddens me because so little conservation efforts are put forth to preserve our native trout populations and so many billions are being spent on fish we have so little control over !

    In the portland area you have to drive at least to the deshutes to fish for any kind of native or good speicies of trout , this is why i think so many do not trout fish . why when they can drive for ten or twenty minutes and be steelheading , there are so many mt hood lakes that could hold good populations of trophy trout but are just - follow the stocking truck - fishery's

    after fishing for steelhead for some 40 years i feel sorry for them , there are so many guides and driftboats on the waters now , not to mention the nets and bank fisherman that its crazy . i myself do not want to bother them after they go through all this so i don't anymore and havent for some 5 or 6 years in my local waters . i do go above bonny and fly fish them in the still water areas since there are some 600,000 fish a year going over the dam and so few people do it . but my love for fly fishing has always been trout and always will be - but thats just me . the way the steelhead populations are going now in our rivers maybe a lot of you will see what its like to hook a 20 inch spring creek rainbow on a # 20 bwo on a 2 1/2 pound tippet and see if you can land it - thats if you can match the hatch . and yes i know that a lot of steelheaders are educated in trout fishing also and do both but it doesnt seem to be the norm . just my two cents .
  9. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,769
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    It is simple. Either fish for steelhead or fish for slimers. So the obvious choice is steelhead.

    I catch more steelhead using fly then I did using gear. Either that makes me a really good fly fisherman or a really lousy gear fisherman.
  10. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    kerry, you were a really lousy gear fisherman....

    If I was to book a trip, man I would head for the Dean in a heartbeat...Second would be the camps listed in your weekly email...I get those as well and drool..One day..

    BDD I'm in your boat as well...I'm a steelheader now..but ask me after I've caught a tarpon, permit, Dorado, bone and rosterfish..just to name a few...I have talked with an old time in the books salt water fly guy who knew every bend and nook on the PS rivers for steelhead...He goes south for the winters, now he's retired...Said that catching those big boys is like a steelhead on steroids..and you get a lot more of them...and fuck me I wouldn't feel guilty about eating some of them either...

    For now though that's all a dream that hopefully happens when I'm retired from this grindhouse I'm in...Then hopefully I'll have the summer and falls in northern BC fishing for steel and winters in the sun chasing those bad boys of the salt..
  11. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,826
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,732 / 0
    After reading all of this dribble I have come to the understanding that the reason that you all fish for Steelhead is that you don't know how to fish for just trout. I mean the ones under 20". Those smaller fish are just as much fun as the big boys are on light tackle0.
  12. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Catching fish with my teeth has been the hardest, even harder than steelheading.
  13. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 733
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    This past year, I came realize that another reason for why I chase steelhead is due to my love for the rivers that I fish for them in, as well as the memories associated with those places. I guess you can say that it warms my heart when I step into a run in a river that I haven't fished since the end of the previous season, and cast a fly to a piece water in which I caught a steelhead.
  14. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,769
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    Quite the assumption for someone that has never seen me fish.
  15. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,368
    m-ville
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    KerryS, when was the last time you gear fished ??? Once I thought I saw you chuckin buzz bombs at deception pass But I can't be sure it was you !!! (I didn't have my bino's that day)
  16. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,769
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,785 / 0
    Sorry, I have never owned a buzz bomb. I did try to set a gill net in there once. Didn't work out real well.
  17. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Old man, did you just say that catching trout is every bit a thrill as catching a steelhead? That's a pretty ludicrous statement. A 20 inch trout on 4wt couldn't hold a 5 lb steelhead's jock. In fact, I have very little motivation to trout fish anymore because of this fact. I litterally prefer rowing and and if I didn't have a boat I would rarely waste my time pursuing those sissies. Either you've been in trout country too long or you're going senile.
  18. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 733
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    I don’t know about that. I have had some amazing takes from red sides on the Deschutes River in Oregon, while swinging streamers using my 5 weight single hand rod. I can only imagine what that would have been like if those 16 -20 inch fish would have been larger.
  19. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
    Ratings: +215 / 1
    Trout fishermen rule...steelheaders drool !!! :rofl::rofl::rofl:
  20. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Andrew, you mean you can only imagine if it would have been a steelhead?