Trout? Oh Yeah... I Remember Those. Are You Still Fishing For Them?

Dan Cuomo

Active Member
Much of what is below from a previous post, but it raises a question more appropriate to a new thread. Have steelhead "ruined" you for trout?
I must report that the insanity that is this disease continues.

I had another slip, and found myself out on the Hoh recently where I stuck a steelhead on the third or fourth cast. I saw the fish roll and take. It seemed to be a decent fish, and its conduct at the end of my line supported that opinion when it broke me off as I tried to put the breaks on after it put me into the backing while making for some very fast water at Mach IV. Such was my awe, that the explicative I uttered was delivered in a whisper rather than a scream. I worked my way downriver over the course of the next few hours, and finally pined another fish. This one I managed to bring to hand and get a pic and a short video. As I released it I had the realization that my trout fishing was headed for the toilet.

I thought about my tying bench, and the fact that I don't know - or care - where my size-4 through size-18 hooks are, nor do I care that Steven Tyler's use of hackle in his hair has made the stuff harder to find than sub-four-dollar-a-gallon-gas, and that my nightstand currently supports copies of The Color of Winter, The Complete Steelheader, A Steelheader's Way , and A Passion for Steelhead. I am screwed.[email protected]/6965528145/
So the question becomes, how many of you are still choosing to chase trout when the option for steelhead exists? At this point I don't see myself dedicating too much of my precious time to trout, when the weather and/or the season allows me to pursue steelhead. Is this the prevailing trajectory after catching a few of these magical fish?


Joe Streamer
So the question becomes, how many of you are still choosing to chase trout when the option for steelhead exists? At this point I don't see myself dedicating too much of my precious time to trout, when the weather and/or the season allows me to pursue steelhead. Is this the prevailing trajectory after catching a few of these magical fish?
The "option for steelhead exists"? Arguably, that option is dwindling to the point where most runs in the state are either "Endangered" or "endangered", and more rivers are closing more of the time. Despite that, our anadromous rivers are ever more crowded, so I can't even get the solitude I want on the water chasing steel. No thanks. I love steelhead, but I've almost totally sworn them off in favor of trout.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I would rather fish for trout. They are more of a fun fish. Plus there are more of them around,.

I remember when you could catch trout in the rivers around the greater Everett area. Those days are long gone now.

I have since moved to Montana where trout is what everybody seems to fish for now. A big Brown will give a Steelhead a run for it's money


Eyes to the sky...
I'm not that hot as a steelhead fisherman, and I've only been at it for a few years. I love fishing for them, but not as much this year. It's hard to watch the species circle the drain, despite the hard work of groups like WSC. Kinda like watching a good friend ruin their life with drugs. You still care about them, but it's hard to watch. I'm going to continue to contribute, but this year, my trips have been pretty limited. I'm lucky in that I have some good friends who are Jedi-level steelhead guys. They have been unbelieveably good to me, and put me onto some awesome fish.

As far as your question goes, I love fishing. My sons and I have spent time in beautiful places with some of the coolest people I've ever had the good fortune to know. I spent 3 days in E WA a few weeks ago with my oldest and a good buddy. It was an epic road trip. We hooked fish, and spent a long weekend living like Huck Finn. Last weekend, I hit a beach with 3 friends who absolutely LIVE to be on the water. I hooked an 18" cutthroat on a fly I tied. I'll remember that fish as much as any steelhead I've caught. This spring, my family and I are planning a campout with a friend and his family at a lake with 826,554,856 bluegills. I can't wait. PHW events. The youth FF academy that I work at. After work fishing with my boys on my local all summer long. I love fishing for anything, anywhere, anytime. Steelhead are a part of that picture. But not the whole picture.


I hope she likes whitefish
When I can't fish for steelhead, I trout fish. But as a friend so eloquently put it, " Luke, good steelheader, but a horrible trout fisherman." ;):( I cried.

But he's right, I fish for steelhead even when I'm supposed to be fishing for trout. I can't seem to turn my brain off and look at trout water anymore.


Well-Known Member

You're screwed man. Hope you don''t have a wife, family, or job that you care about. I've known a few steelhead bums. Nice guys all, but some are too one dimensional.

I caught my first steelhead just over 40 years ago, and without a doubt it cut into my trout fishing, caused me to give up hunting, and lose interest in other sports. But I still trout fish. Trout fishing offers a challenge that steelhead can't. They feed, at they can be selective and hard to catch a lot of the time. I got trout fishing a couple times a year. Not catching steelhead isn't because they are hard to catch. They're pretty easy, but it can be very, very hard to find one sometimes. Especially these days. You've had some good luck, but wait until you fish for them 6 days straight, or 6 consecutive trips, without so much as a sniff. It happens to guys that are steelhead highliners. It's possible to catch a steelhead during those down times by slumming a bit, but that's another thread, of which there's been more than enough. My contention remains that anyone who needs to catch a steelhead ought not to take up fly fishing for them.



Back about '85 I fished exclusively trout with the fly and steelhead with gear. After a few hundred steelhead on gear I started flyfishing for them. Split trout and steelhead flyfishing for a few years but got bored with the trout. I wouldn't say trout got too easy but it's a game I'd played long enough and started to not like the crowds that were getting worse by the year. So, I started chasing steelhead 12 months a year with the occassional trout trip thrown in. Spending even 2 hours at Lenice or wherever got to be mundane. Having a bunch of steelhead under my belt before ever picking up the flyrod was invaluable. Being able to disappear into the woods and fish for/catch steelhead with next to no pressure was about as good as it gets. Spent the next 12 or so years chasing steelhead 12 months a year. As the crowds grew and opportunities dimished I bought a pontoon so I could find water others couldn't get to. Pontoons became popular and those spots started getting hammered so I started fishing gear again at least half the time. Now, the gear I fish is determined by who I'm fishing with. Jack and I will flyfish, other friends can't ff so we gear fish. Almost all of my steelheading is done by boat now. I love the water and enjoy being on the oars. Every now and then I'll walk into some spots but mostly because I want to see my dog out in the field. The past 3 or 4 years have been spent on the oars watching others do the fishing and that is what I enjoy. Tying up the gear, pointing out the spots, picking my way thru boulder gardens other people tend to stay away from. Now, everyone has a big 'cat or raft and those spots are starting to see more and more pressure. If I was independently wealthy I'd be guiding full time. It's what makes me tick. Until then I'll keep doing what I'm doing and maybe someday you'll see me on the professional perch cicuit.

I wouldn't have had this day with my cousins Rick and Duff if I insisted on being only a flyfisherman. Ed, Chris... notice the Gatorade bottle. :D

I still fish for trout. Nothing like long summer evenings hiking up an isolated stream tossing dries while listening to the voice of the river.

My favorite thing in late summer is to do both in the same day. Swing flies on the lower reaches of a coastal river for steelhead from dawn until lunch. After some food, move up to the headwaters and fish dries for native cutthroats. We're pretty lucky to be able to do both in a single day here in Washington.
Steelhead are awesome fish but I could never limit myself to chasing only them. I am and always will be a trout hunter at heart but have also had some killer days casting a fly for Largemouth, Smallmouth and Striped Bass as well as many types of Perch, Sunfish etc. add to this all of the great water I would have never fished if I had only targeted Steelhead. I get it, it's just not for me ;)
Alas, steelhead is pretty much a young man's or young woman's game.
My old bones will not let me pursue them as is befitting or required to do so. So I am pretty much limited to fishing for trout and spiny rays. Yes, I said that. I have no moral fiber. I will fish for most anything. Just some things I will not take home and eat.

That said, a warm day, a blue sky, a fly rod in my hand and the trees along the river or lake giving shade to the water. I can do that most any day. Especially when the water surface is dimpled by feeding fish.


I thought we were talking just trout and steelhead. I'll ammend earlier post. I don't discirminate against anything that swims and is willing to eat a fly.

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