Good job Michael, but there is one problem left. You more than likely felt a sudden release afterward, kind of like the pressure is off now and you can relax. The problem is the addiction starts now and the pressure just increases from this piont on. Now every time you take a Steelhead "Virgin" out you are required to hold the torch to light the way. You will go to all ends to catch these "aquatic" beasts now, having to prove to yourself and others that you can do it again. New gear will follow becuase now that you have decoded the secret you will need to have new tools to end the chase sooner next time. The night's before a trip will soon be filled with all night tying sessions, using the most un-godly material and color combinations ever seen, and the patterns will begin to resemble things only found in re-runs of Star Trek. It gets worse and worse untill your life spirals out of controll, and just when you think you've reached the end of your rope, you'll find a small group of fellow "fin-addicts" that can and will help you deal with the sometimes overwhelming stresses asocciated with the caliber of fishermen you've just joined the ranks of. Just remember, we can do together what we could never do alone. Welcome to the club, now you can pass the torch to another "Virgin"!!!!
Actually, I've got it worse than you describe, and you did a good job describing it. A month ago I was up at Samish Island (my wife's folks live there). And for those of you who don't know the area, Samish island borders the north end of Padilla bay, much of which is an enormous tide flat.
Well, this area supports huge numbers of blue herons (the locals call 'em 'shit-a-quarts'. When the take off, the name is easily apparent). Anyway, we were digging clams and I came upon the carcass of blue heron. Now, in many of my steelhead flytying books and recipes and word-of-mouth descriptions, blue heron is a revered feather for spey flies (see esp "Steelhead Fly Tying Guide" by H.K. Helvie). And, as feathers from these birds are no longer available I took the action of any wannabe steelhead fisherman who ties his own flies - I skinned the damn thing. I blew chunks that day, I'll tell you. But, I have a set of Grey Heron spey flies with real heron hackle, not mallard flank. :THUMBSUP
I was trying to catch my first steelhead on a fly today on the Klickitat and all I got was this stupid chinook. I thought these purple hareballs were a steelhead fly. I felt like Homer Simpson trying to subdue General Sherman, the giant catfish.
Not quite. The fish took the fly at 7:40 PM so it was pretty dark. Virgin Suicide is deep behind a canyon wall about 7 miles upstream from Maupin. The sun goes off the water at 6:30 PM, so by the time I caught the fish it was pretty dim.
If you're fishing the Deschutes next week, here's some additional info:
I was in Maupin attending Derek Brown's spey casting clinic. During this time, the guides seemed to be taking their clients well upstream - The Long Bend campground seemed really popular with 'em. Having said that, a couple of guys in the same spey class came down early and fished Mack's Canyon. They didn't have any success, but most of the guys they talked to did pretty well.
The October caddis were coming off in good numbers and the redsides were porpoising all around us. Bring your trout rod and fish for redsides during the bright part of the day. In the evening, find some greasy water and wake an october caddis or a rusty bomber. I had two strong takes (but, alas, no fish) on the one night I had time to try this out.
One other thought.
It rained really heavy the day before (the 15th)and was partly sunny for most of the day (the 16th). I think the fish appreciated the new water and dark skies and were on the move by that evening. Dance and/or pray for rain.
I keep reading these posts and as I do I have come up with a question on fishing with dries for them.They tell you when fishing with dries for them not to create any drag as it will not get you any strikes,but whe you fish for steelhead they say to use that skating method. Isn't that just about the same a creating drag.
I don't think that this came out the way I intended it to but I couldn't think of anyother way to say it.
>Isn't [waking] just about the same a creating drag.
Yep. One controls the speed with which the fly wakes across the surface by raising and lowering the rod (i.e., controlling the amount of line on the water). Just keep the rod tip pointed at the fly as it swings across the stream and raise and lower the tip to control its speed.
I don't know why this works for steelhead, but I sure know it doesn't work for non-anadromous trout.
This picture is me holding a 9 lb Deschutes male steelhead caught at 7:42 PM while spey casting a Night Dancer on 16 Sept, 2002. The dancer was presented subsurface, tied to an 8 ft leader off of a floating tip (RIO Windcutter).
In honor of this, my first steelhead, I named the spot where I caught the fish "Virgin Suicide". 'Nuff said.