Are steelhead too popular...

Gyrfalcon21

Honoring Vets
I think steelhead fishing should be made uncool again. It's almost happening. It's so cool right now that guys like me who are actually cool don't do much of it anymore. I will repeat that narrative over and over to as many as possible to negate any false belief of cool. The evolution of cool and the steelhead is simple. Here's how it goes.

Stage 1: Steelhead fishing is something your grandfather did and your dad but video games and other stuff are cooler so the twenty something crowd opts out. Essentially it's a bunch of old farts and weirdos who like being cold and miserable. This stage is the "golden" age as the golden agers are the main practitioners. They are retired, bored, and uncool.

Stage 2: This stage is the "economic" stage. Demand for this Filson experience increases and even the younger cool crowd begins to take notice. Being they are cutting edge "early adopters" of this long lost arcane art they are dubbed the coolest of the cool. A boom in the fishing economy happens and companies are on for the ride.

Stage 3: This is the "exploitation" age. This is the stage we are in now. Steelhead angling is now at the height of cool. Problem is the stage one guys don't like the company or all the buffs and bobbers. The experience is packaged and processed into easily digestible units for those who want to be cool. They aren't that cool but they still think it's stage one or two. These are the new experts. These are the bead bros. The real experience is degraded while these guys get experience and post their exploits on various ego masturbatory blogs and social media.

Stage 4: This is the "death" of cool stage. All the actual cool guys have left the building or at least stay well hidden. All that's left is guys who "got a grab" and landed "a face melter". It's a cacophony of bro talk and false fortitude mixed with the heavy scent of Filson wax, the soy based stuff that's non toxic of course. The heady mix of micro brews and hipster facial accessories offends the old guard to the point they don't want to be associated. The industry still thrives but it's clear a change is in the air. There's so much cool and not much substance. Even the cool guys are losing patients and wonder what a steelhead actually looks like and they fantasize about actually catching one.

Stage 5: The "extinction" of cool phase. The death of quality fisheries and an increasingly less than pleasant experience wears even on the coolest of the bead bros. They haven't seen any numbers of fish and find themselves talking about the good ol'days ten minutes ago when they got that grab. Yes, that grab was nuclear cool awesome but it was ten minutes ago and they hunger for more. Even the skagit master website doesn't stoke them out with heady ties and bitchin banter over organic oatmeal stouts. In this phase the language of the tribe is becoming lost and fractured along with the culture. They await marketing from another industry to lure them away to a new pursuit they can enter in the later stages and claim ownership or "OG" status. That's "original gangsta" for you hodads out there.

If we refer to the chart we can actively see the devouring and destruction of cool by the very cool. This species actively destroys a culture in which they become a part of. It's colonial, systemic, and without cure. Cool is once again not created or destroyed but changing in form. The actual cool which is in layers too deep to be easily mined was long gone in the early stages. This coupled with distraction will once again allow the deeper layers of cool to repopulate the upper strata once the bead bros have left for surfing or some other type of culture vulture activity. All one needs to do is outlast them, distract them, and stay hidden from them. Do not be seduced into giving up any intel no matter how good their weed and heady micro brews are. This process of burning out can be accelerated by a vigorous misinformation campaign to counter act the vigorous misinformation campaign put forth by the industry.
In summation, I think you are saying, steelheading, if compared to rock 'n roll, is a 70's band down to their one last original member who misses most of the shows on an endless casino farewell tour because of a bad heart.

Oh yeah, that sounds like Foreigner

 
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dustinchromers

Active Member
In summation, I think you are saying steelheading, if compared to rock 'n roll, is a 70's band down to their one last original member who misses most of the shows on an endless casino farewell tour because of a bad heart.

Oh yeah, that sounds like Foreigner


Zeppelin at least had the class and sense to realize they were greater than the sum of their parts and could not continue merely carrying a marketable name. The music meant something to them as well as the connection they had as a group. I absolutely love the band but each of the subsequent solo efforts were never the same. Like a post Waters Pink Floyd sound in that there's something missing. In Zeppelin's case the drummer, in Floyd's case Waters, and in the case of steelheading today the fish. Like happy bears anglers can make good company in the times of plenty. And like bears get snatchy in slim times. Fix the fishery and fix the experience. Sadly you cannot raise a drummer from the dead. I miss the rhythm of a strong run of fish. Those days when animosity towards a fellow angler was less and limits frequent for all. Yes, an era of better music, art, and fishing. It would be nice to get the band back together.
 

bhudda

heffe'
Zeppelin at least had the class and sense to realize they were greater than the sum of their parts and could not continue merely carrying a marketable name. The music meant something to them as well as the connection they had as a group. I absolutely love the band but each of the subsequent solo efforts were never the same. Like a post Waters Pink Floyd sound in that there's something missing. In Zeppelin's case the drummer, in Floyd's case Waters, and in the case of steelheading today the fish. Like happy bears anglers can make good company in the times of plenty. And like bears get snatchy in slim times. Fix the fishery and fix the experience. Sadly you cannot raise a drummer from the dead. I miss the rhythm of a strong run of fish. Those days when animosity towards a fellow angler was less and limits frequent for all. Yes, an era of better music, art, and fishing. It would be nice to get the band back together.
That calls for a doobie!
 

LilCutts

Semper Doodle
WFF Supporter
for their own good? I suspect yes, the fame of social media has ruined it for them. Fisherman have turned into the nasty paparazzi chasing celebrities (steelhead) on a crash course for destruction. They can’t get enough!!!

Your thoughts..
Yes, I think a combination of things have made them into the new ultimate trophy fish, and everybody is desperate for the best campfire story to impress their friends (real and online). "I was fighting this Steelhead..." causes ears to prick up, so the popularity continues and grows. I think it's a shame.
 

Gyrfalcon21

Honoring Vets
Sadly you cannot raise a drummer from the dead.
This made me sort of nervously chuckle as I recall seeing the band Bonham open for The Cult in 89/90 at the Seattle Center Arena with Jason Bonham on drums and his Robert Plant clone lead singer. Cringe.

Zeppelin indeed had gracefully flown away when the time came to!

I promise no more band references, but DChromers hit that nail on the head.
 

Gyrfalcon21

Honoring Vets
Steelhead have eventually come to the most dreaded stage a creature has before extinction. Rare. Now intensity builds instead of mercifully abating.

Being the person who clubbed the last Dodo or Mammoth is a bloodthirsty title many would love to wear.

Watch how crazed "nature loving" birdwatchers will tear up a neighborhood to see a rarity, even to risk death of the bird.
 
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Rob Allen

Active Member
Yes, I think a combination of things have made them into the new ultimate trophy fish, and everybody is desperate for the best campfire story to impress their friends (real and online). "I was fighting this Steelhead..." causes ears to prick up, so the popularity continues and grows. I think it's a shame.


Not everybody is desperate for a story.

That's certainly not my motivation.
 

Yadwick

Active Member
Part of the difficulty around stereotyping a steelheader is that there are so many different types of people that go out to experience our rivers. Some for selfish reasons, some for the reputation and fame, some for the pure appreciation of nature and the fish. The younger generations (me included) are a mixed bunch. Dedicated, passionate anglers are definitely less common as compared to the 'real cool guys' generation (from what I have experienced). The years of experience and learning are what humble a fisherman, hence the current difference between the younger and the older. I have grown up and fished Puget sound rivers for the last 10-12 years and met only a handful of people my age that have the same appreciation and respect for fish that I do. Those friends are my lifelong fishing partners.

On the contrary, there are also those (no matter the age) that just don't have enough experience or knowledge to know that steelheading takes patience, perseverance, and sometimes wisdom. I think this is where a lot of the social media bros hype up steelheading, and feed into the marketing scheme that is our spey fishing industry. I have introduced several friends to spey and gear fishing for steelhead, and I've noticed first hand how their demeaner, attitude, and 'hype' changes over the course of a couple years (even a couple fishless days on the water). I would assume that most newbies don't make it to this stage, but hopefully those that do become stewards for our rivers and our fish, so that when we are all old and 'uncool' the newer generations of hype bros get to experience the beauty of our anadromous fish and their environment.

In addition, I know idiots of all ages that shit on our sport. I follow a 50+ year old guy on social media who fishes my local river with gear. Just this season he caught a native steelhead on a giant bass fishing swimbait with a hook that was at least 2/0. On top of that, he flaunted it all over Instagram. There will always be those that feed into the popularity and fame steelhead provide, and I pray every day that they finally get skunked enough times to stick with bass fishing.
Wait, your going to have to explain this "reputation and fame" comment from above a bit more as i don't understand how one would get that from steel head fishing? I thought the only reason people wanted to be famous was to get chicks/dudes. Why would you want to be famous in fishing, when its mostly a bunch of old dudes hanging around?
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
These days everything outdoor related has become incredibly popular, especially in the last year and a half. Rivers, beaches, lakes, fly fishing, gear fishing, it is amazing how crowded everything seems to be when you head out. Steelhead are no different but they are different in that an argument exists that this increased pressure is more impactful to them than other resources considering their state.

For those of you bemoaning the younger generation, just remember the generation before you did the same....all those damn hippies with their graphite and Fly Fisherman magazines...... I am in my earlyish 40’s and poke fun myself at younger folks because it’s what one generation does to the next. Young people live their lives online. They do it with everything It’s a generational shift I don’t quite get as a middle aged dude but understand better than some of you damn boomers :). Fact is, those young guys just doing it for the story or pic won’t stick around most likely. There are easier ways to get likes online. Those that do, even if they started for the wrong reason will only stick around for the right ones and that is not a bad thing. The more people who truly love our fish, the better. Furthermore, I have come across a TON of young guys, from pre-teens on that are out there because they LOVE fishing. It will likely be one of those folks who connects the influence of social media to a movement that may one day save these fish. As older folks we should be helping them figure out how to do that. Not bitching about the fact they took a pic for Instagram. You know how many dead wild brookies I let get freezer burned and threw out as a kid growing up in New England....to many than I care to count. That wasteful mindset is my generations cross to bear along with all of you older than I.
 

JACKspASS

Active Member
I thought the only reason people wanted to be famous was to get chicks/dudes. Why would you want to be famous in fishing, when its mostly a bunch of old dudes hanging around?

I am living proof that catching alot of steelhead does not make you famous or get you alot of babes, what it can do is stroke your ego when around other like minded individuals or internet bobber bros. As you get older I don't think it matters much anymore. Most of us are just lucky to get out and steelhead rivers are pretty cool places to be regardless of fish.

I'm knocking on 40's door, so I am officially transitioning to the old dude on the river, replacing other older dudes.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
These days everything outdoor related has become incredibly popular, especially in the last year and a half. Rivers, beaches, lakes, fly fishing, gear fishing, it is amazing how crowded everything seems to be when you head out. Steelhead are no different but they are different in that an argument exists that this increased pressure is more impactful to them than other resources considering their state.

For those of you bemoaning the younger generation, just remember the generation before you did the same....all those damn hippies with their graphite and Fly Fisherman magazines...... I am in my earlyish 40’s and poke fun myself at younger folks because it’s what one generation does to the next. Young people live their lives online. They do it with everything It’s a generational shift I don’t quite get as a middle aged dude but understand better than some of you damn boomers :). Fact is, those young guys just doing it for the story or pic won’t stick around most likely. There are easier ways to get likes online. Those that do, even if they started for the wrong reason will only stick around for the right ones and that is not a bad thing. The more people who truly love our fish, the better. Furthermore, I have come across a TON of young guys, from pre-teens on that are out there because they LOVE fishing. It will likely be one of those folks who connects the influence of social media to a movement that may one day save these fish. As older folks we should be helping them figure out how to do that. Not bitching about the fact they took a pic for Instagram. You know how many dead wild brookies I let get freezer burned and threw out as a kid growing up in New England....to many than I care to count. That wasteful mindset is my generations cross to bear along with all of you older than I.

True in the fact generations always look back at the screwed up kids and gripe. We're just doing our part to keep the cycle alive. But there are other facts.

Social media is bad for steelhead and will not save a one, that's a fact.

Guiding isn't conservation and in fact is exploitive of a scarce further dwindling resource so it shouldn't be portrayed as conservation. That song is old and tired and flat not true.

Both of the above have lead to a less than quality experience that is further being degraded, marketed, packaged, and hashtagged to a spellbound instagram audience of Johns wanting instant gratification that's so common in the Amazon Prime jungle we now live in.

Nobody ever got chicks because they slay mad chrome. You will get tons of accolades from the wannabes and the cool guys though and that for some is just as important on the Maslow's hierarchy of needs chart.

I will likely continue to complain here about the above and not a thing will change. That too is a fact. It's over and there's nothing that will change that. Enjoy the last drops of what once was. Humans are great at loving something to death and destroying it in the process.
 

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