Haven''t figured out how to quote another post on the new format. Regardless, I too would fish for anything available but steelhead continue to swim by within a 100yards of my bedroom...in the summer they sometimes wake me when they flop. There are trout there too (mostly smolts) but they are never my target.
Before I fell head over heels for steelhead, I really enjoyed timing my calendar around all the good stuff Washington has to offer. If you're flexible you can enjoy a little bit of everything while its fishing in top form. The last two years i can almost count on one hand the number of times I targeted anything other than steel, and probably well over 100 days in search of steel. I've learned a lot and seen a lot, but sometimes I miss the easy pace of a day spent tossing dries or stalking carp flats. I'm making it a point this year to revisit some of the old stomping grounds and have a little downtime instead of always putting 110% effort into finding a steelhead.
Don't think there is really much difference honestly...
Water temps and spawning aside...trout will literally hibernate in the cold water bury themselves in the gravel..( from B. McMillan's book) so catching many in winter steelhead streams you might have to wait for the thaw.
If your asking, NO hatchery fish is ever going to replace a wild one in my books...so I would rather fish for wild trout over them anyday..
Some of the places I fish the trout have residualised (?sp) to the river and are close if not bigger then most hatchery fish I've seen in Wa.
I have no problem fishing for any wild fish..I am not going to hang up the rod or grab gear just because one season has closed...One of the coolest things IMHO is fishing for one and catching the other...
My first summer run out of one river came when I was fishing a size 14 caddis on my 000 for trout...not a huge fish 6lb range..but still very cool..
Hell to be honest...I dig bulls for that matter...I'm a whore, I swing year round and whatever fish I get on a dry or swing is my favorite at that moment...
I remember a couple years ago when I hitched a ride on your boat on the Yakima. "Dude, do you want to fish"? "No, I like rowing and I'm mostly into steelhead". I thought to myself, this guy is crazy...only fishing for steelhead. What's the matter with him?
Then I caught a steelhead - haven't used my 3-5wts in probably about 7 mos or so.
The steelhead bug bit me in the 70's and 80's. But fishing for them today just isn't the same. I agree with Jason, its hard seeing the fishery decline to the point where the PS rivers are closed and the OP is at times a mob scene. I still fish for them several times each year and its still a thrill to catch a few each year.
But, my first love has always been fishing for trout and I enjoy it now more than ever. I love fishing mountain streams especially with dry flies in the summer and fall.
Interesting responses, and only time will tell if I continue to focus primarily on steelhead. Perhaps it's my ADD, in that I enjoy the spey casting and the greater degree of engagement it requires of me. I've been thinking that steelheading is, for me, more like bird hunting than anything else. There's much walking and stalking, and steelhead, like grouse, woodcock, quail, and pheasant, have their particular places, and while not always the case, to look for them elsewhere is usually a losing game. The degree of time and work per fish is also similar to bird hunting; hours and miles are often required for little or nothing other than the experience, which is what I'm ultimately after. I love the wild places steelhead have taken me, and the fact that I'm almost never fishing in someones backyard or even very close to a road. So far, I'm enjoying my days chasing steelhead without a hook-up, or even a bump, to a greater degree than I have on days where I caught quite a few trout. I'm not by any means dismissive of trout or the experience of trout fishing, but rather commenting on my wonder at the degree to which steelhead and steelhead "hunting " has taken over my time on the water and on my plans for the future.
I can't remember the last time that I actually went trout fishing. Last year, I probably caught a few hundred trout during "fly tying breaks". When the lake is stocked, you can catch one on every cast. No challenge. I'd rather get up early, drive a hundred miles, and chase steel.
It is tough for my wife to understand exactly why I get up so early and why I drive so far for steelhead when trout fishing is 40 ft out the back door. She hasn't divorced me, so I guess she doesn't believe that I am crazy, just obsessed with chasing steel.
should differentiate between lakes and rivers...weird as I got my lake stuff and it just collects dust...can go up north and catch huge genetic trout on chronies...pretty fun too...but rivers that have both steelhead and trout are my favorite ones to fish..I use different spey rods year round and love the summer runs and trout on skated bugs and swung dry line...Would much rather fish for actively feeding fish or summers...The whole concept of my fly fishing is the fly..the swing, dead drift, skated...flies that are food...even if it's something white like an old flesh fly...aggressive fish rising and sipping off the top!!! What?
I gotta seriously wonder though, So you swing a minnow pattern, cool hairwing classic or skate a Lemier just subsurface...3-4 or larger pound bright red side slams it...goes airborne reapedly..your reel is screaming...
Oh but that sucks man cause I only fish for "steelhead"???
I`m going trout fishing today , but I`ll be doing it with a 12 foot Gary Anderson 3 weight . That`s got to count for something - no ?
I would rather be going fishing for steelhead , but the closest open steelhead river to me is over 3 hours away , and it`a gong show down there , and no matter how good the fishing on that system is , I always make the drive home with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth .
I`ll opt for the solitude , thank you very much .