I caught my first Steelhead on Oct. 16. Saw my wife and baby off at Sea-Tac on the 15th and just kept driving. A lot of traffic and many hours later, sometime close to sunset, I pointed my car upriver at the mouth of the Klickitat. Made it all of 8 or 9 miles up rt. 142 until I just had to pull over and fish one hole before the light was gone. I hate to set up camp in the dark but an extra day of fishing, even if it is only for 15 min, is not something to be passed up. The next morning I geared up and rode my bike along a section of river that does not have roadside access, stopping at any likely stretches to see what I could catch. As it turns out I could not catch anything until about noon, when a ~15lb Chinook grabbed my polar shrimp about halfway through one of the deeper holes. I just about crapped myself. I have been pursuing the elusive steelhead since I moved to area, just over a year ago. This may not seem like a very long time to many of you, but no matter how you dress it, going a year without catching the fish that you are targeting is tough on a guy. I had hooked into two winter fish on the Skagit but those turned out to be fleeting affairs and left me, how should we say.. unsatisfied. So when a big fish grabs my fly on the swing when I am fishing for steelhead – I think STEELHEAD! A few seconds later, the slow, unconcerned, bulldogging style of the fight forced me to remember that there are lots of Chinook in this river. Sure enough, 5-10 minutes later I had my first fly caught Chinook to hand – nothing to sneeze at, but not a steelhead either. A mile or two up the river and about three hours later I was working my way down a small steely-looking run above another Chinook-looking hole. When I came to the end of the run and could wade no further on my side of the river, I decided to lengthen my line so as to swing into some brushy cover a little bit further below me. On what I am pretty sure was going to be my last cast, as the fly swung below the brushy cover, it was taken! This time there was no mistaking it. She was at the surface instantly. Rolling and thrashing, but not quite jumping. She made a couple of short, strong runs and another lively if not aerial surface display, but I had a 12lb leader and was determined to keep her out of the snags downstream. A few minutes later I was able to cradle my first steelhead in my own two hands. She was a hatchery fish, a little over 30” - pure silver with a dark green back and a faint pink stripe - magnificent. She took a #4 coal car with purple hackle, if that matters at all. Even though the Chinook was almost the exact same length, the two fish could hardly have been more different. I let her go. I could not kill my first steelhead, hatchery or no. I spent the rest of the day skating an ugly green bomber. I did not feel particularly motivated to get another one and I thought that if did get one on the bomber, it would just be a spectacular bonus. No bonus. I drove home satisfied and was quite satisfied for the next few days. I guess I still am satisfied, in a way, but by the following Thursday the drive had returned and with my wife and baby still gone, I returned to the Klickitat Friday evening. To shorten this already long story, I fished a solid two days, driving from run to run on the lower part of the river this time. I ended up catching another Chinook about 200yds from my tent in a hole that looked almost exactly like the first Chinook hole, but wasn’t. This one took an orange General Practitioner and was more like 33” and a good deal heavier, maybe 20lbs. The same day I landed another steelhead, this one around 28”, on an egg-sucking-purple-and-black-stiff-mono-leach. She was also a hatchery fish, was soundly bonked and joined me on my journey home. The second day, I received a good old fashion steelhead skunking and did not catch any fish of any kind. So there you have it. There are steelhead – they can be caught. It may be noted that both of the Chinook were caught on orange patterns and both the steelhead on black/purple patterns. The water was fairly low – 500 cfs – with good visibility. The days ranged from partly cloudy to clear and all of the fish were caught in the shade.