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Memorable Steel

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  • Memorable Steel

    Gotta share this one cause I'm still stoked from Saturday.

    All steelhead are memorable when you only hook up with a handful every year but this one I landed on Saturday will be legendary in my mind for a while.

    After swinging hard for most of the morning Saturday starting with skaters, then wet flies, and then a light tip, I decided to nymph up a few trout. As I was tying on a small copper john dropper I reached for 4x telling myself I'd probably hook steel and with 4x MAYBE I'd have chance of landing it. I've hooked lots of steel fishing for trout and have only landed one dark beat up fish in February. All the other times I've been schooled by them on my trout rod.

    Within minutes my prediction was true. Funny how I swung through that slot half a dozen times with nothing just an hour earlier. The fish wallowed in close and breached a couple times so I was able to assess it was a hatchery fish. Once I saw that it was fit for eating, I loosened my drag and kept telling myself...Long Game Man...Long Game! There weren't any screaming runs but because of the shear size (26-28" Hen) and the current, it still bulled me into my backing several times. It also stopped and sat on the bottom several times making my indie disappear and had me thinking it had wrapped me up on a snag. When that happened I simply waited with just the slightest bit of pressure on it barely bending my rod. Long Game Man...Long Game!

    Then it'd start moving again and the downriver shuffle went on. This went on for 20-25 minutes maybe longer I have no idea. I was a sweating mess because I still had early morning layers on and the sun was high by that point. I was a long ways from where I hooked it. Maybe 300 yards. There was a deep bend coming up and then a rapid. If she didn't tire soon then all would be lost. With 10-12lb line and a spey I would have horsed her in pretty quick as she was pretty lazy as far as steel goes. But with 4x and a 5wt switch in 4000 CFS of bad ass river, it was a battle.

    A guy in a drift boat floated by and exclaimed, "They do exist!"
    To which I replied, "Only when you are fishing for trout!"

    Finally it bellied up and I skidded it close enough to half tail grab and pounce like a grizzly. I steaked it out and marinaded it for the evening and hung the head on the campsite pole to claim our territory. Arggggh! Cooked it up on my cowboy wok (The Disc) for my mates over a propane fire pit. Damn good....
    Last edited by Mr. Chin; 10-02-2018, 01:38 PM.

  • #2
    This is great! I've had some long tussles with steelhead and a jack chinook on trout gear, albeit spinning gear. I have hooked steelhead on my trout rod with flies, but they ended things pretty quickly! Good job playing the long game -- it can be a real challenge! Thanks for the report and pics (yuuuuuum)!


    • #3
      Outstanding! Well done. When you have a big one on light gear, ya just gotta let 'em run - can't go over the break point of your line or instantly will be game over. I kinda like the 'ol click/pawl because you know you can't crank the drag too tight. Congrats!


      • #4
        Can confirm. Was delicious.
        Support the Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River


        • #5
          Might have used up all my Steel Mojo to land that one. We'll see. I often say that on low count years there are More Fish Per Fisherman. You just never know unless you go. Not complaining about catching it on the trout rod but The Grab and bucking of a 13 foot rod is....well there's just nothing like it!

          Perfect weekend on the D. All we needed was someone with a gun to shoot at the Steelhead--Head.


          • #6
            Hatchery fish put to good use. Nice work! Excited to get back after summers after a few weeks away.

            That disc wok cracks me up. If you ever want a second one I have plenty of worn out discs....


            • #7
              Dude, sweet fish for sure!


              • #8
                cool, you caught a fish with Phil around? that's a feat in itself!


                • Clarkman
                  Clarkman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'll have to try that next time!

                • PhilR
                  PhilR commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You guys are jerks.

                  Anybody want to go fishing this weekend?

                • Clarkman
                  Clarkman commented
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