This post on another thread got me thinking. There are a lot of things in life that you forget--the combination to your locker, the name of that girl you dated back in your teens, and more recently your anniversary--but you never forget your first steelhead and you can recall it in vivid detail when the subject comes up around the campfire. Mine was more than 30 years ago on an Oregon coast stream that's now closed to fishing. It was a really cold December day. I hooked him on a copper colored Metric spinner. The water was so cold that the little 8 pound buck didn't fight much. But I still remember the rainbow stripe along his side and the feeling of elation at finally catching a fish I'd pursued for almost four years. Just a couple of years later, my first fly-caught steelhead was on the Siletz, a summer fish and very active. She seemed to jump so much she spent more time in the air than in the water. That was a definite turning point in my fishing because, once I put down the spinning gear, I have pretty much stuck to the fly rod for all my fishing. Wasn't long after that when I caught my first waking-fly steelhead. It was on the Nestucca, and also a summer. She took a riffle-hitched Silver Hilton. Seeing a torpedo wake suddenly appear and begin to overtake my fly, it almost killed me to wait for the take. In the many years since, there are very few fish that I can specifically remember. They mostly run together, a jumble of pleasant but indistinct memories, the sum total of which now forms my own personal understanding of what a steelhead is: the nuances and complexities, character and behavior that are this magnificent fish. But, I never will forget my first. How about you? .