Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February and March Can Yeild that Trophy Winter Steelhead You Dream About

Unhooking a large native Oregon winter steelhead
For the last 3 days, I was guiding two really great guys from Oklahoma. They had fly fished around, buy steelheading was not in their resume. At first, getting the guys used to switch rods was the first line of order. Luckily switch rods are so user friendly; so they were banging out casts into likely holding lies in hopes of chrome. Now it was just a matter of having a fish intercept their offerings.
Winter Steelhead Admiration - fish caught by client on trip
It turns out that their timing was very good; since the water was very low for a long period of time, and a new freshet was here bringing some new smells into the water to pull in a new fresh batch of steelhead to ascend to their natal spawning grounds. On top of that, the chances of a very large native fish are always present this time of the year. It turns out that the "big fish" gods answered our call, and both of the anglers got to experience a fish of a lifetime. One day Charlie hooked into a chrome bright hen that took him literally about 500+ yards downstream over a double stair step water fall, and down through boulder strewn set of rapids, and into a long pool to have the fish take the whole fly line 3 more times (with the drag cranked down). When we were standing there getting ready to net (rubber net) the seemingly over 40" chromer with the leader cranked into the rod, the fish gave one last pull, and snap! She was back off to continue her run.....Luckily, we saw this awesome beast, and she was the largest fish I have seen in person (steelhead-wise), and she was in close and personal several times. The only thing we did not get to do was to scoop it, take pics, and maybe measure it under water. Otherwise, she gave us the entertainment of a lifetime! Charlie was super stoked on that amazing fish and crazy battle he endured with the fish.
Large Native Oregon Winter Steelhead Caught February 21, 2012
Yesterday, right when we were taking our lunch break, Bob was still fishing a few last casts before opening up his thermos of hot chilli in the misty rain. Right then, he yelled fish on, and I noticed that the rod was bent in a sturdy fashion that appeared to be something significant. When the fish materialized on the surface, it was again another trophy winter steelhead. Luckily this fish was in a pool, and there was not too much that could mess this battle up, except a long set of boulder strewn rapids downstream, but this hefty buck was staying in the pool and cooperating perfectly. After a few small runs and lots of sturdy headshakes and some thrashing around, Bob steered this hog to the hoop of my rubber net where I scooped around the fish's kyped beak to then end the battle. It was a trophy steelhead landed! We snapped a few quick pics, measured the length and girth to get a 37" and 20" girth for the fish. That keyed into a steelhead calculator I found online called  Piscatorial Pursuits and the fish came to 19.09 pounds. Whatever it really came to did not matter; since it was huge and awesome looking. A steelhead of a lifetime! After some quick admiration, we sent the large fish back off into the mysterious steelhead green to swim on upstream.....
One of hatchery hens caught
 We ended up having several other fish, but those two were the standouts on the trip for Charlie and Bob. It was pretty crazy to think and be able to confirm how large Charlie's fish was. It was a good bit larger that Bob's landed male steelhead. The huge fish Charlie had on was chrome bright, wild, and so angry that it took us through the craziest battle I have seen so far for steelhead, or any fish for that matter! It just shows that when you though you have seen everything, you haven't seen it all!


  1. great report. thanks for keeping us in the loop with your fishing exploits. keep up the good work.

  2. nice job brian,those are some gorgeous fish!!!!!