4 year anniversary of my first steelhead excursion

I cleaned up my fishing spreadsheet/log today and adjusted a couple times back in 2009 where I was fishing for Salmon and had marked the sheet as steelhead.

As a result, I see that today marks the 4 year anniversary of my first attempt at fishing for steelhead. I've learned a lot in that time, spent many mornings on the river in the winter, fished with flies, lures and bait. I've swung flies with single hand and spey rod, nymphed, lobbed spoons and various other contraptions, drug various kinds of bait through fishy-looking runs, and all sorts of other approaches. At first my approach was pretty random- just trying whatever. Then it moved to concentrated efforts- do the same thing every time no matter what. Now it's much more about trying to match the method to the water and location.

Many a morning was spent walking and wading, exploring river banks and sandbars. Many an evening was spent watching flow level reports, weather predictions and pouring over satellite maps searching for "secret spots". Articles, both in print and electronically published have been consumed, and many videos have been studied- some to learn techniques, and some to try and figure out where they were filmed. I've seen many steelhead caught in person, sometimes within a few feet from where I was fishing.

I'd say that I've spent countless hours on the river, but that's not true. I've spent 220 hours on the river specifically targetting steelhead. It still remains my "white whale" though- not a one have I managed to catch and land...

Wow four years…keep at it. I've only be targeting steelhead since September with no luck either. It blows my mind how it can be so addicting. Seen two caught at Fortson by guys nymphing, so I know they are occasionally still in the rivers. I'll be content to keep learning, perfecting two-handed casting, swinging my hand tied flies and someday…it'll just happen. Good luck!
I appreciate your effort. My first took around 2 years. I have to give it to you for endurance /perseverance. Try Mike Sturza at Lost Creek fly shop. He is a guide on the Cowlets. He helped me out a ton
The first one seems to be the toughest one for most folk . I know a guy that flogged the water for ten years before he got his 1st :eek: .
After you pop the cherry , they`ll come to you with much more frequency and predictability .
The first one seems to be the toughest one for most folk . I know a guy that flogged the water for ten years before he got his 1st :eek: .
After you pop the cherry , they`ll come to you with much more frequency and predictability .
I hope you are right. That is what I heard. Michael at PFF told me that just be patient because most usually after you get your first the flood gates open.
I truly believe that for most people you have to almost earn it. There is no day this first season that I can look at regretfull. Met some great people ( except bassturds) and have learned a ton.

Dan Page

Active Member
My first was by accident while trout fishing. My second took another year, but was expecting to catch one on every cast leading up to it. Funny how it goes, you wonder why each cast does not catch a fish. ;)
Keep at it and it will come when you least expect it.
220hrs and no fish? You're probably fishing the wrong places. Can't keep trying the same thing and expect different results.
Nah, I'm good luck to those fishing around me. :) Several times I've seen fish taken close by to where I was, or even in spots I had just fished. I've fished several "known good" spots on different rivers that have been productive for others.

That said, I've mostly concentrated on the Snoqualmie in December and January. It's got a pretty poor run of steelhead, so that's certainly a big factor in my not catching one. But it's become my "home" river, since I can fish it before work in the mornings. Drifting it on the weekends helped me find some good spots to get to when I came back from shore. I have fished other rivers as well, just not with the same frequency as the Snoqualmie. Concentrating primarily on one river has helped me understand how much it changes with weather conditions, and what the various parts of the river are like at different flows. Probably a moot point if I'm not catching fish though. :)

I hooked into a couple on the Cowlitz last week, but lost them before landing them.
If you are that much of a good luck charm you and I should head out then. Unfortunately, I am starting to wonder if I am a bad luck charm because anyone who goes out fishing with me never gets anything.
Yeah, the Snoqualmie kinda blows. I live on it and have only fished it once in the past 3-4 seasons for winter runs. Somehow I managed to stick one to the bank last week while it was flowing ice on my only trip there in the past few years. The Skykomish has given a few up this year for me. But the others have all come from rivers a few hours away. As far as steelhead targeting trips, I'm batting a thousand since July somehow.
The Snow will put out a few. I seem to get a tug there about 1 in 4 trips. The river looks great with all the rocks and structure but that river gets hammered by everybody. After all it is in everybody's back yard. If you are lucky you can have one run to yourself before all the drift boats and other anglers also start to pound the water.

You hooked a couple on the Cow that is good. Your presentation works. I bet if you found and learned a river that did not get all the pressure the Snow has you would do better.

And like Dan said it will happen

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