Winter Steelhead Kickoff

jasmillo

WFF Premium
I have a lot of days off between now and January 4th. If the weather and rivers cooperate on those days, I’ll be giving it a shot once or twice looking for my first fair hooked steelhead ever. I am 99.999999999% sure I’ll be unsuccessful. I’ll enjoy the change in scenery though. It’ll be the first time I’ve attempted since 2015 I think. I was 0-25 on solo trips over two years at that point (with two mystery fish lost), so decided to concentrate on saltwater.
 

GOTY

9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
I have a lot of days off between now and January 4th. If the weather and rivers cooperate on those days, I’ll be giving it a shot once or twice looking for my first fair hooked steelhead ever. I am 99.999999999% sure I’ll be unsuccessful. I’ll enjoy the change in scenery though. It’ll be the first time I’ve attempted since 2015 I think. I was 0-25 on solo trips over two years at that point (with two mystery fish lost), so decided to concentrate on saltwater.
I’m ready! Thems early fish act like a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar. Early early is about the only time I venture into the prime lower river runs.
20 years ago almost to this day I remember fishing the head of a nice seam and getting a chum on about every 5 casts. About an hour in and I hooked a nice bright winter hatchery buck...the good ol days, when chums were thick and the possibility of a early winter was very real.

@jasmillo @Yard Sale @JACKspASS open seat in my raft for any or all of you. Happy turkey day
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
20 years ago almost to this day I remember fishing the head of a nice seam and getting a chum on about every 5 casts. About an hour in and I hooked a nice bright winter hatchery buck...the good ol days, when chums were thick and the possibility of a early winter was very real.
Sadly the WDFW has killed the chum runs as they have done/are doing to the steelhead runs. a tad bit of hope is there are some folks trying to rebuild chum salmon in a river.
 

HauntedByWaters

Active Member
I miss the days of hooking chum bull dozers near every cast and those deep slow head shakes before going crazy. Laughing with friends back home from out of town for the holidays as they got their river fix. Camping in a big run for hours with the easy epic fishing. Catching a handful of bull trout and maybe a big one. Arms sore and wrist hurting from hours of catching. Then suddenly a smaller fish zinging some line off the reel and a nice jump as a hatchery steelhead took to the air. Everyone standing over the fish with glee even if it wasn’t their catch, just because they got to see the PNW icon.
 

vader

Active Member
20 years ago almost to this day I remember fishing the head of a nice seam and getting a chum on about every 5 casts. About an hour in and I hooked a nice bright winter hatchery buck...the good ol days, when chums were thick and the possibility of a early winter was very real.
How about fishing the Skagit back then. Swing a fly, get a tug, get excited, fish runs, and wondering what it could be a coho, chum, steelhead, or dolly. Finally land it and it's a sucker. Oh well because next cast can be either a coho, chum, steelhead, or dolly. The good old days.
 

vader

Active Member
Ten years ago I would have made two trips for early winter runs by this date. Now I sit and type on an internet forum about fishing and reminisce about those times when going steelheading meant actually catching steelhead, regularly.
So true. Remember the Sky and Cow produced the biggest winter runs in the state Didn't they stop producing winters so they won't interact with the wild spring runs?
 

JACKspASS

Active Member
You know damn well when a chum hits....whomp.....whomp....whomp....then bulldogging. Coho will straight line, then do the twist and turn spiral wrap game. There was a time on the upper Skagit when I would look in that clear water from a high vantage point and see 30+ chums laying there, and decided not to make a cast because didn't feel like wrestling another one. Those early Skagit winter hatchery fish were visible at a couple of my old haunts, it was fun as hell to sight fish for winters in such a large river. First fresh snow 1/3rd way down the mountain, dropping river and late Nov/early Dec was prime time. Now I'm catching swinters, reminiscing about the past, and doing honey do's for the wife while fishing a fraction of the time. It's all good, but man, it's hard not to think about the past
 

vader

Active Member
You know damn well when a chum hits....whomp.....whomp....whomp....then bulldogging. Coho will straight line, then do the twist and turn spiral wrap game. There was a time on the upper Skagit when I would look in that clear water from a high vantage point and see 30+ chums laying there, and decided not to make a cast because didn't feel like wrestling another one. Those early Skagit winter hatchery fish were visible at a couple of my old haunts, it was fun as hell to sight fish for winters in such a large river. First fresh snow 1/3rd way down the mountain, dropping river and late Nov/early Dec was prime time. Now I'm catching swinters, reminiscing about the past, and doing honey do's for the wife while fishing a fraction of the time. It's all good, but man, it's hard not to think about the past
Ditto what you wrote. The back channel around the island up there would be full of chum. What about using a six weight, egg fly, and bobber then cast out to the faster water to get to the dollies. Only to make a bad cast that lands in the soft water and get torn up by a chum.
 

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