Saturday, November 7, 2015

Light Fly Rods for Steelhead

"Where do you want to start?" Matt said.

"The tailout," I said. He understood. Three years ago during summer, I caught a big smallmouth in the spot.

We clamored out of the Honda in the dark, and sort of miserably slipped on waders in the chill. Using a four-door sedan for purposes better suited to an SUV can be a mess, but we would get through the day without losing anything.

I was surprised the spot wasn't crowded out. Together we waited 20 minutes or so until enough light made it legal to fish. Matt got into position just slightly upstream of where I knew to loop my cast. The size 8 Estaz egg produced the first steelhead of the morning up and down the Salmon River in our view, not a very big one, but certainly a challenge on my limber six-weight fly rod. I was eager to have Matt net the fish.

We wandered off downstream, walking to stop here and there to fish nearly a mile of the river, before we turned back after nearly four hours for a hearty lunch. The walk back took about 20 minutes. During the interim, I had briefly hooked a larger steelhead, and missed two hits. The fishing we favored all morning happened in about two feet of water at the furthest distance we reached from where we began. Matt had a spectacular fight before he lost one that raced downstream, briefly breaking water as it got loose. He was using a five-weight rod and five-weight line.

Perhaps we just can't land any of the really serious fish weighing more than 15 pounds, maybe not even the typical 10-pounder, but I like the feel of my light rod better than the heavier I used yesterday.

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