Steelhead Behavior

I was looking at some of my steelhead photos and I remembered a funny story about catching the same steelhead, on the same fly, in the same location, less than an hour later then when I first caught it. No question it was the same fish because I took photos both times.

Any one else have such an event? I had always heard they are uncatchable for at least a day after being caught.



Well-Known Member
Not personally, but I've heard stories of a given fish being caught on back to back casts. I don't think that happens often, or I'd hear about it, or have it happen to me. Did observe one fish caught by 3 anglers - I was the second - on three consecutive days. So your experience is within the range of repeat strikes that I've seen or heard about.


I caught the same fish 3 times one day at Reiter. Big hatchery buck and no he wasn't flossed. Fought the first time. Not the second or third. The fish moved off his lie each time to take the same fly.

I probably should have removed him from the gene pool but I didn't. Figured I'd leave that "biter" for one of you that marked the over 20 box on that last poll.:p


Active Member
the answer to the riddle of catching the same the fish the second time lies somewhere in catching the same fish the first time........................ hmmmmm

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I have done it a couple times. Think the funniest one was I caught the same fish in two different slots. Caught the first one downriver. Only reason I know it was the same fish, is that it had a hook stuck deep down in it's gullet and could see the chunk of yarn. Was a no wild retention river at the time (not many of those back then) and let him go. Decided to head upriver a bit, next slot up. About an hour later had another fish on. Got him to the beach and thought it looked like the one I had caught earlier. Sure enough, looked down the gullet and saw the same setup. That was the only true time I knew 100% it was the same fish. The others, well I had to guess at it. Not 100% sure, but pretty close.

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
I have fought a fish, landed it, released it, and caught it again on the next cast.

No it wasn't very dark but it was a hatchery fish in early feb.

I have many times hooked steelies, lost them, and then hooked up again with what had to be the same fish.

One particular fish was sitting in a really snaggy lie but was very grabby, we hooked him a total of 4 times and never landed the damn thing, this was back in sept/early oct on a local tributary.

In small water situations I think it must be more likely to happen, I'm sure it happens on big water but might be harder to gauge.

Steelhead are just plane grabby as hell when they are in their "happy water" finding that water is the real work, it changes all the time.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
This isnt a steelhead story but tonight when I was fishing the guy next to me had on a huge chum and fought it for about 10 minutes and it broke him off. A drift or two later he hooks another fish and brings it in and in the same corner of the fishes mouth as his jig is the jig he lost 5 minutes earlier.
A few years ago I parked at a public access and fished my way down to a friend's house where I walked his property back to the highway. My friend has worked graveyard forever and does a lot of fishing in the morning when he gets off work. Just before dark I caught a summer run behind his house. The next morning I talked to him on the phone and told him about it. He asked if it was behind the rocks against the far bank. Yup. He asked if it was a colored up hen. Yup. About 6 pounds? Yup. He said he lost it at the bank in the morning before I was there.


Proud to Be Alaskan
I was a guide on the talachuitna river one year and one guide hooked a king on a snoopy rod fought it for an hour before it broke the line then the next night a different guide caught the swival attched the the leader a mile downstream, the fish weighted like 48 pounds


Active Member
At least three times I have caught the same steelhead on consective casts.

In one case a fish was tagged and released and immediately caught again on the next cast (North Fork Nooksack). In another saw a group of fish (3 or 4 fish) in a deep pocket behind a boulder - first cast a the smallest fish (a dark buck) was caught, after release it darted back to the same lie with the others. Casted again to the same spot hoping to catch another - watched the same fish take again. After releasing that fish (downstream this time) I was never able to catch any of the others (Cascade). In the third case was collecting scales samples - caught a buck of a given length with an uniquely deformed dorsal, took the scale sample and released the fish amd caught it again on the next cast - a buck of the same length, missing scale patch, and same deformed dorsal (Skykomish River). Interestly 2 of the 3 fish above involved additional handling besides the "normal" catch and release.

Several other times suppected that the same fish was caught but could not say so with certainity. Many times the same fish was caught in the same day. In one taggng study several fish were caught multiple times in a week and as I recall one was caught 8 times in little over a 2 week period.

Just goes to show a couple things -
1) Catch-and -release does work
2) Steelhead have to be one of the "dumbest" fish that swim.
3) If you fishing long enough one is likely see almost anything.

Tight lines
Thanks for all the tales (tails). Since I typically fish big water for steelies, it seems I don't have nearly as many experiences catching the same fish. I think it is really interesting that even on the next cast, they are willing to strike again.


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