Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Steelheading is Steady

First Steelhead on a fly rod - McKenzie River
On Monday June 27th the steelheading was what I would call steady, but solid. We had several swings with a good tug on the other end, but no fish grabbed and turned on the fly to the point where they stuck. Luckily, we were able to persuade the fish into biting dead drifted offerings under a strike indicator on a floating line. My clients were super troopers fishing hard and persistent and gaining more skills throughout the day. One of the guys (Michael) was experienced with two handed/spey casting; while Nathan was trying two handed fishing for the second time. It is always an awesome feeling to see someone accelerate so much while they are spey casting, and to see them get the "spey bug", where you can tell they are really stoked on it. 

2nd Time Out Spey Casting
We got out at sunrise, and the river was crowded with lots of spring Chinook salmon anglers, and several other boats steelheading. We were one of only a few other that were fly angling, but that is the way that it is in the early summer for anadramous fish in Oregon. Everyone was happy and courteous for the most part, and the day was gorgeous out there. Fish were rolling all over and the water conditions were the best they have been all season long. We fished really hard swinging flies with two handed rods from the bank, single handed rods from the boat, and we also probed flies off of strike indicators in probable slot type water that makes swinging flies feel out of the picture. 
Setting up the Two Handed Cast Anchor Point
  The fish we got were on dead drifted flies, and one was on a clown egg pattern in a size #10; while the other fish was on for the entire battle only to "long distance release" itself right at the approximate landing mode. I was handing the camera over to Nathan to get ready to get into "net landing mode"; when I heard Michael mutter a frustrated groan....Bummer...., but at least we had it on for a good while.
Forward Two Handed Stroke - Notice that Anchor Ripping Out....
We had a wonderful day, and I had an awesome time guiding Michael and Nathan. They were both very enthusiastic, patient, positive, appreciative, and great fisherman. Nathan was stoked on his first fly rod caught steelhead, and Michael was stoked about his first nymph hooked up steelhead. I was frustrated for them that the steelhead gods did not give them a couple of fish hooked up on the swing; especially since Nathan had three swings that came across with solid clothesline tugs, and Michael had one swing come through with the same result. It is funny how if the planets lined up a tinge differently, they could have had a couple to three fish on the swing and two nymphing. Instead we landed one, and had one on for 90% of the battle; with a couple of super close ones almost on the swing. THAT'S STEELHEADING FOR YOU!!!
Nymphing with Switch Rods takes steelhead effectively

If you are interested in booking a guided trip for steelhead, call me at (541)-232-6360 or email me at fish@mckenzieangler.com .

Spot the steelhead....... McKenzie River Summer Steelhead

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