Summer Steelhead 2021

jfilip85

Active Member
Early in my steelhead fly fishing career I grew frustrated with the lack of positive feedback I was getting (bad casting + bad wading skills + no concept of swimming a fly) and decided to break out a spinning rod with some blue fox spinners. On a warm July morning, I set out for the intended target - a pool on the Sky that I knew held fish. With just enough light to see my gear, I tossed out the #5 chrome spinner and let it swing through the current. Within seconds I received what is still today the most violent take I have ever experienced. With hands shaking, I reeled in my spinner to see a nearly straightened Owner hook. I just sat on a rock staring at the spinner for a few minutes trying to process the event.

Needless to say, I check my drag settings more frequently after that.
 

GOTY

9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
Early sky summer runs hit different. To this day I have no idea how I landed this fish (turn your sound up, I muted over my inappropriate language).



Yes the run size sucks, but I'll be out there this year. Knowing grabs like this could come on the next cast make it worth it.
 
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long_rod_silvers

WFF Supporter
Early sky summer runs hit different. To this day I have no idea how I landed this fish (turn your sound up, I muted over my inappropriate language).


Yes the run size sucks, but I'll be out there this year. Knowing grabs like this are a possibility make it worth it.
No joke! That sound is so great. Bougle?
 

gt

Active Member
Best of the best. In 50 years of fishing for steelhead, I estimate that about one in five, or 20% of the steelhead I have hooked have ever run into my backing or put on enough of a show worthy of mostly unearned fame of the species. But those early summer runs, from late April to early June are the fish that consistently lived up to the steelhead reputation. One or more sizzling runs into the backing and many adrenaline fueled jumps.

In hindsight I don't much regret having been an impoverished student who bought used fly reels for $3 each at Goodwill. If I'd had a 1495 Pflueger Medalist on my rod, some of those hookups would have made for much tamer stories. Instead I have the memory of a hot E Lewis springer that exploded from below a log jam, pulling line so hard and so fast that it compressed the line remaining on the reel spool to wedge the flanges outward, bringing the whole experience to a sudden conclusion. And of course the fish got away. And then there was the first week of June NF Stilly fish that took off downstream, through the riffle to the next pool in a few seconds. The cheap reel didn't stand a chance as the handle broke off, and the pawl dissolved into metal shavings. Nonetheless, with the reel in freespool but my hand on the outside of the spool I gradually worked that fish back upstream to the most downstream point I was able to wade and eventually landed the fresh run 8 pound steelhead.

These days the hookups are few are far between. And I fish with reliable equipment, and while a hot fish is exciting, it lacks some of the equipment predictability of the past.
go ahead, ruin your fresh water fishing, take up salt water for trophy targets, you will see your backing ripped off your reel :)
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I once went 1-for-11 landing summer runs (multiple trips). Much respect.
I would love to go 1 for 11 on summer runs because that would mean that they’re at least present!

On a different note, I think Les J. (RIP) once wrote that if SRC grew to steelhead sizes, they’d be impossible to land, which is fun to think of.

Recent changes find me with a bit more free time and I’m thinking that some trips for summer steelhead are in the cards.
 

Dizane

Coast to Coast
Ten years ago a set
Good snowpack, bank-full rivers running that wonderful shade of green backed by lush green forests with last winters snow hanging on high above. All hail the greatest fish to swim our waters. Gunmetal black backs, clear fins, snow bellies, tailwalking sometimes at eye level.... It's one of the few fish I pursue that I'm not just a spectator just enjoying the day, i want to leave the river with a feeling of achieving something special, whether your knees are wobbly, vomit stained vest, smile a mile wide, or just plain living the steelheaders dream, whatever...

Feel free to post anything you want about Summer Runs, not last year's spawners, but the real deal. For some reason when May roles around, I start getting anxious!

In the past conditions like this would get me itching to drive up Hwy. 2. Not as much now and that is very sad.

I've caught several impressive summers, but 1 sticks in my memory, probably because it was the one that got away. I was a teenager pitching spinners on the upper Sky. Middle of a sunny late July day and the water was low and clear. I was casting to the head of a small pool, right at the base of the plunging riffle that flowed into it. This riffle was one of those upper Sky riffles where the water is white, dropping hard and fast, and a good number of the large rocks in the riffle are partially exposed. Not a gentle, bouncing riffle.

So I cast up to the base of the riffle and my line stops instantly. Figuring I'm snagged I pull back hard in frustration, and in response a mid-teen chromer explodes from the pool. This fish zig zagged around the upper part of the pool for a bit, then started swimming up the riffle. The riffle was so fast, shallow, and rocky that it frankly scared me to see the fish heading up it. I panicked, clamped down on the reel, and instantly broke the line. That fish must have realized it'd gotten the best of me because it then leapt from the riffle back into the pool and jumped twice more as it headed downstream and presumably exited the pool.

Just an incredible bruiser of a fish that was full of piss and vinegar.
 

doublespey

Steelhead-a-holic
Hot Summers ruined me. Clearwater, Thompson, Snake. I should post the one of the unusually vicious Snake River fish that tracked my waking fly from midriver like a shark (I watched the "V" chasing down and crushing my fly). Or the visible adipose of a big wild buck Steelhead crusing the shallows on the Clearwater. It came upon my stationary fly on the hangdown and just about ripped the rod out of my hand. And don't even get me started talking about the Thompson, where I was spooled twice by fish so hot I couldn't even speak afterwards. Great but bittersweet memories since none of these fisheries are a shadow of what they once were.
 
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Charles Sullivan

Active Member
The little summers sure can act big too. I caught a 4-5 lb summer on the Kispiox years ago that was as hot as any fish. Small and hundreds of miles from the ocean, it tailwalked across a tailout after a super fast running take. I will never forget that little guy. He was the 1/3 the size of a normal fish from that river with twice the heart.
I am going to fish summer fish for a week this year. I need to pledge this to myself.

Go Sox,
cds
 

the_grube

Active Member
I had one 30sec encounter with a summer fish last year whos memory is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. Big, bright and full of vinegar and urine; I can still see it rush up from the bottom of an 8ft deep pool, come all the way out of the water to take my skated fly, then tail walk for 30ft, give me the finger and shake itself loose. In a strange way I'm glad it got off.. I tend to remember the ones that got away longer.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
Hot Summers ruined me. Clearwater, Thompson, Snake. I should post the one of the unusually vicious Snake River fish that tracked my waking fly from midriver like a shark (I watched the "V" chasing down and crushing my fly). Or the visible adipose of a big wild buck Steelhead crusing the shallows on the Clearwater. It came upon my stationary fly on the hangdown and just about ripped the rod out of my hand. And don't even get me started talking about the Thompson, where I was spooled twice by fish so hot I couldn't even speak afterwards. Great but bittersweet memories since none of these fisheries are a shadow of what they once were.
There is something about the snake, and the b runs that still leave me shaking in my shorts. I had a fish grab my fly on the hangdown, seconds later jump close to 100 yards straight across river from me, and turn down river and spool me. Lost my fly line on that one. Caught one a couple of days later, biggest of my life, but for sure smaller. Single hand rods and early returning b runs. A distant memory.
 

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