2010 Winter Steelhead Flies
Here we go. Barely recovered from the 2009 salmon season, we are ready to go out into the darkness and beat our heads against a post fishing our flies for winter steelhead.
Technically, I know, the winter steelhead season is already well underway. Not for me. Not yet. Not really. But soon. Very soon.
This isn’t a high percentage game for most of us. It sure isn’t a high percentage game for me. I do have friends who are on the water often enough to know where, when, and how to make winter steelhead predictably rewarding, in the sense that they usually catch one or more fish every day they fish.
Not me. Too much time at the computer. Too much time on the phone. Probably, too much time writing and sketching, and tying flies, and trying to stay current on salmon science and conservation issues. Oh well.
My winter steelhead days are a success, always, not because I catch fish, although occasionally I do, but because of all the other gifts a day on the water can offer. Time with friends. Familiar and new waters. A good cast. A new fly to swing. A ledge just above a tail-out that must be holding two dozen fresh fish. A grab. Not falling in. Falling in but not drowning. Hot chocolate on the way home. Hugs in the garage as I put my gear across the boat to dry.
I have some new flies ready to go. I have my old favorites. I have a new Burkheimer Spey rod rigged and ready to fish, and am expecting another. I retired my five-season Simms stocking foots and have a one-season pair of waders hung over the side of the drift boat ready to go. Last time I fished, I took two sets of wading boots. Figured that back-ups are always handy. Good thing. One set wasn’t quite a pair: two right boots.
So I’m ready to dive into 2010 with great expectation. This will be a fantastic year. And I remember, now, that winter steelhead are on the front end of spring Chinook, summer steelhead, fall Chinook and then – winter steelhead, all over again. A glorious year ahead.