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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Having moved to South Central Idaho fairly recently, it's not often that I get chance to go after steelhead these days. The one notable exception is the annual return of primarily A-run fish (mixed with a few B-runs) up the Salmon River near Stanley. A couple of work colleagues try to make an annual spring trip of it, and this was the second year that I went along..

This was also a good chance for me to truly put my Echo Glass 6wt switch rod to the test. I've owned this rod for a couple of years - always with the best of intentions that it would see water and hopefully a fish or two - but it has sat in its case as good as new and has only seen 2o minutes of action during a brief roadside stop on the way to 'somewhere else'. It was time to test this rods mettle, dammit!

We left Thursday morning, stayed overnight, and returned Friday evening. A short trip, but worthwhile nonetheless (any chance to go after steelhead, right?). The weather forecast early in the week looked promising, but one has to remember that a trip to Stanley puts you in the shadow of the Sawtooth range, and weather in any portion of the Rockies can change quickly and often in dramatic fashion. That certainly proved true on this trip, as it was fairly cold (40s-low 50s), rained on both days and snowed on the last. Thank goodness for quality rain gear and fingerless gloves.

Fine 'steelheading' weather:
Water Sky Water resources Snow Natural landscape


Winter still has a firm grip up here and seems bound and determined to not go down without a fight. One of my work colleagues came up here closer to the beginning of March, and was 'post-holing' through waist deep (and in some spots chest deep snow :eek:). Thankfully, much of it has melted and I only found myself sinking in knee to thigh deep in spots.

The Salmon River near Stanley:
Plant Water Snow Sky Natural landscape


The Echo Glass 6wt switch rod paired with my Ross Evolution reel (Thanks @Bruce Baker):
Sky Wood Snow Electric blue Twig


I set the rod up with an indicator and 9-foot leader of 12 lb Maxima ultragreen to which I tied green egg sucking leech. I then tied a 14 inch section of 10 lb Maxima ultragreen to the hook bend and attached a bead and a bare hook about an inch below that (don't roll your eyes about the setup - I'd rather swing, but I only get to do this once a year and I needed to get the skunk off ;)). Being all rigged up I found some good looking water and began casting trying to get the rhythm of a 2-handed rod back. Thankfully, I hadn't forgotten all that Dec Hogan taught me a few years ago on the banks of the American River, and I was soon making decent casts to areas that I would not have been able to reach with my single handed rod.

So there I was - cast, mend, drift, retrieve, step down, repeat - when I saw the indicator sink suddenly and deeply...I mean it was gone...and then I felt it. A solid grab and a serious head shake and I was into something I hadn't felt since my first steelhead on the Callawah back in 2012. I was hooked up for the first time in five years. Glorious. The rod bent deep and I had to palm the reel because I had not set the drag tight enough. We fought for a a solid five minutes, and as the fish made its way downstream I was quickly losing ground and forced to follow. This was unfamiliar territory for me. I couldn't horse this fish in no matter how I tried. And then...disaster! The tension on the line was gone and so was the fish. Although slightly dissapointed I was too giddy from the fight to care all that much. A retrieve of the flies revealed the culprit - a cheap hook on the egg sucking leech had done me in:

This fly shall forever be known as 'the one that got away':
Insect Arthropod Amber Wood Pest


Having re-rigged and mentally reset, I stepped back into the head of the run and started the process all over again working my way downstream. I reached the same area where I hooked up the first time and then it happened - a miracle. The indicator disappeared, and I felt another solid grab and head shake. I set the hook deep this time, and with the drag set properly I was off to the races. This was a different fish, and I played it much better, moving it toward slower water, and tailing it in the shallows. I took a quick photo (you may have trouble seeing it, but the left side of the fish is in water I assure you) and released it. You want to talk about a dopamine release?! I haven't felt this good in ages. I didn't measure the fish, but based on the comparison with the rod, this fish taped out around 27 inches.
Vertebrate Salmon-like fish Organism Fish Oncorhynchus


That was the last of the adult steelhead that I would see during the trip. I did hook one, but it spit the hook rather quickly ,and I caught several smolts and a nice whitefish in some pocket water, but that was it.

Another river pic and a mountain bluebird.
Water Sky Plant Natural landscape Tree


Water Snow Vertebrate Branch Lake


Hope you enjoyed the report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, how do you like rod now? Really cool. Thanks
Well, now that the rod has some mojo to it I've dismissed any thought of selling it. I really liked the feel of the fiberglass rod, and needed to keep reminding myself to slow down the casting stroke to get the desired effect. I really like this rod.
 

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One summer I stopped in Salmon Idaho to get some Fresh Salmon. It was the fourth of july weekend and they were out of salmon. I said I was a history teacher and that this would be a funny story for my students. I asked if thy had any frenchfries or other potato products and the waitress said they still had potatoes in Idaho. I was relieved.
Glad you got to fish there, for me I like the clearwater better. Mems.
 
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