Dad caught a 100lb sturgeon on 20lb test. Fought that fish for about an hour and a half. Darrell'd say "Jump ya sons a b---h!" And he grabbed for the gaff. When we got him in the boat, he measured 6ft long. I was so dang impressed...
So you gotta figure someone could catch a silver on a 6wt.
I think the same people that fight fish to exhaustion on light gear would also do the same with gear considered too heavy. They either are afraid to put pressure on a fish for several reasons or simply don’t know how. I don’t believe you lose more fish by putting more pressure on them. I do believe you can lose more fish by putting too little pressure on them. I think that thought process may be opposite for many who are inexperienced with fighting salmon or steelhead and why it may take 2 or 3 times as long for someone to land fish with the same gear as someone who is proficient. Light tippet drives me crazy. Light rods do not. Like I said I wouldn’t hesitate to string up a 6wt rod for coho unless I was fishing a spot where they could get out into the main current and really dump some line on me. That wouldn’t be fun for me or the fish and I would quickly reach for my 8wt. But YMMV.
Hard to say if it’s a trib, braid or mainstem from a picture of a gravel bar, but just having been around that neck of the woods I do understand it’s very likely. That’s where I would be with something similar to that rod if I was there now. Good all around rod for char and trout and quickly switch flies and throw at a pod of coho.
When trout fishing the D on a 5 wt I highly doubt steelhead are ever the intended target. I mean I’m sure people try steelhead fishing on a 5wt, which seems like a not great idea I agree. But when you hook one on a 5wt nymphing for trout, which I have seen on MANY occasions myself as I fish there heavily, what is that person suppose to do instead of trying to land the fish? What would you do if you happen to hook steel while nymphing down there? No offense intended truly however, I’m just trying to understand why this would upset you.May just be me. I also get mad when people land steelhead while trout fishing the D with 5wts.