I finished up my work early Friday afternoon (yesterday) and persuaded my wife to pick up my son at daycare so that I could have a rare couple hours on the river- tough to get out with all the responsibilities. Headed from downtown Seattle up to the Sky at Monroe. Driving in I find that I see no one on the run I want to fish- I may have it to myself!! So I get out there fast as I can. Someone leaving and I'm the only one headed in- excellent, I love to fish alone. As usual for me in my first season of steelheading (about 7 times out now) it soon became casting practice- getting better at it. After a little over an hour fishing the tailout water that I thought looked best, I moved down to a bit of faster water. It was nearing dark and was glad to have gotten out; I figured I'd fish my way back toward where I parked. Lost the purple bugger I was using and nearly just called it a day; but decided what the hell, I'd tie on this black, green tipped bugger and take a few more casts on my way out. On about my fifth cast there it was- huge take and, remembering not to jerk, I let the fish take it for just an instant before I tightened up with a swing of the rod tip toward shore...I felt the weight of the fish...hooked!! Started fighting and geez never fought anything like this fish before! Now I see what all the fuss is about. Anyway my 9 weight was bent over and this fish was stripping line off my reel for several runs, all the while I'm thinking "wow, my first steelhead!". Tried to play him fast as possible, just tired enough to keep from bashing himself on the rocks of the gravel bar because I figure he might be a native. But he takes me for another ride! Finally I get him to shore and fumble with my broken camera enough to get a couple pics- gorgeous, bright, wild fish about 32", estimate around 10 pounds. I pull out the hook, revive, and sent the guy on his way. Waded out of there with a big smile, got in my car and drove out. Stopped in at All About the Fly on my way out to replace a couple flies I'd lost, and share the joy. Overall, a great two hours after work, arguably the best I've spent on the river since I moved to Washington last year- and I always enjoy my time on the river, fish or no. Feel so fortunate to catch a steel in my first season out! This more than makes the skunkings worthwhile, and now I can work through my busy next week and remember the feel of my first steelhead. Sorry for the ramblings and lousy pics (that weird loop is the camera carrying strap- try taking pics while manually mashing the batteries in the battery compartment while standing in a river controlling a fish). I'll always remember this fish!