Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Differences in Winter Fish

One of the amazing this I like about steelhead is unless you fish a hatchery pool, you really never know what you are gonna get. That is of course if you get anything at all. Just like women, they come in all shapes and sizes. However in this game we are not that picky. Then again there are guys who are not that picky either. This chunky monkey is why we get out on the water regardless of high flows. 

If this was in the late Summer or Fall, I would think that this is a summer fish, even a Skamania by the look of the body morphology. But alas, I have never seen a Skamania on the coast and with the full body on this one, it has to be a winter steelhead. Oh and yes that is a spinning reel in the background. 

There is a not a lot to say about this egg wagon. She is by far a winter hen and a prime specimen at that. Other then a slight gash on its back, it was perfect. 

Here again you may think this also is a Summer fish, but again I believe it to be a winter due to location, quality and girth. It took a swung fly in the same location as the above fish and it really doesn't matter. The dark color and rosy cheeks are awesome.

Well they do not get much brighter then this and this is what we are all after. This buckaroo caught on a Columbia River Tributary is what brings us back every year. Awesome fish Benny!

Dark, big, mean and full of color. Though not chrome, we all want to catch fish like this. Swung monster bucks like this do not come every year. Well except for Chou.

The fish everyone dreams about on a river no longer open in the later Winter and Spring. A true nate of epic proportions and quality not matched anywhere else. They do not get any better then this!

This one is easy, long, skinny, Skamania, still full of piss and vinegar, but very much last years summer steelhead. Still a nice fish for New Years day, but not what we are looking for in the winter.

The body morphology of steelhead is amazing. Each river or strain has their own slight changes in characteristics that make them all special. They also have different obstacles to face and risk factors in their upbringing that make them unique. Each of these fish were caught this month by a number of different anglers from low clear water to high almost flooding streams.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Today's Steelhead Fortune

Even though Chou will tell you that fortune cookies aren't real Chinese food, there is a time and a place for them, and the wise steelheader must know when to take action.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Lessons from Twenty-Eleven

Inspired by Mike's list of lessons learned, I thought I might share my own.  2011 was a great year on and off the water.  Here's to a great 2012 as well!

Take Care!


In June, skiing is one of the more fun things you can do on the way to your fishing spot.

Photo: B. Chou
Sometimes, a single hander and a 30 foot cast will outfish a double hander and a 130 foot cast.

On the river, walk-off homeruns are awesome, and calling your walk-off shot is legendary.

NEVER give up. 

Salmon do actually eat flies.  If they are there, and you aren't getting bit, then you are probably doing something wrong and it's time to change it up. 

A wild kelt may grab harder, run faster, and jump higher than a chrome fish fresh from the salt.

On any given day, a beginner can out-fish any experienced steelheader.

Long lines and long rods are fun as hell.  OK, so that was a lesson I learned in 2001, but it's worth repeating.  Give it a try in 2012!

After 10 years of steelheading, there is still A LOT to learn!

Another lesson I learned a long time ago... There is more to my version of the fishing life than steelheading.

Alaska was pretty much put on the Earth to make all of the fish and fishing we have down here look like stock-pond, corn-kernel-dunking lameness.

Megatron has no known weaknesses.

Having at least four rods rigged is sometimes a great idea.

Fly fishers come in all sorts and demeanors, and seem to express their personalities through their way of fishing.  If you don't pay close attention, the loudmouthed egomaniacs may be the only ones that you ever notice. 

Fly matters.

Fly doesn't matter.

Greed is a powerful and terrifying force. 

Steelie Mike is the odds on favorite for Kelt King 2012.

My fishing buddies are all turning out to be even better dads and moms than steelheaders.  If you've fished with these folks, you know that's something special.  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things Learned in 2011

Eight inch flies in water without clarity, awesome!

Low water hairwings, love them. 

Dryline grabs are addicting and forget about fishing anything but a dryline on the Deschutes.

Adding a little split shot is a lot easier then changing out a sinktip. 

West side hatchery fish can be skated too.

Montana Trout fishing is pretty cool.

Divorce attorneys are crooks. Sorry Ben :)!

Fishing a dead horse that has been beaten by gear guys can still produce fish with traditional patterns and tactics.

If it makes sense, just do it!

Skating in the dark works. 

Even if you end up hours late meeting your homies on the river.

Sometimes bro's before hoes doesn't count.

Guys from Idaho really do like to nymph the living crap out of runs and then sit in lawn chairs while their friends do the same. LAME!

Streamer fishing for trout sure can be a workout.

A dryline and steelhead in November can happen, even when under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Change your damn fly when they won't return for another grab.

Watching your child catch a fish by themselves is more rewarding then catching hundreds yourself.

Cougar hunting is a lot easier then steelheading.

Josh Mills is a dork.

Jig fishing with a spinning rod is definitely not nymphing.

Riding a bike up and down a river in the summer really is the best workout an out of shape fishermen can find.

Longlines are fun as hell.

The ladies that work with Casting for a Recovery are wonderful and they are going great work.

Mia Sheppard is a riot!

Matt Klara is the Kelt King for 2011! 

Festive gatherings are always a blast.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tribute......Steelhead Camp

Tribute..steelhead camp from Detonation Studios on Vimeo.

I love this! It so reminds me of the time I spend each Fall, West of the Cascades with good friends. Those trips are as much about fishing as they are with spending time with good friends.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My favorite rod the Guideline LeCie with my favorite Mid-Belly Line the Guideline MMD. I can't wait for Spring to come.