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Winter Steel Thread

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  • Winter Steel Thread

    I think we had a running Winter Steel thread last year so I'll start one.

    Mid December I hit the Wilson with a buddy and we explored the bigger water down low with the spey. It poured so hard a few times I could barely see my buddy upriver. River had to be rising but the clarity remained fine. I kept at it all day totally believing. I had to adjust my thinking that I could easily move around to cover water because the area we were in was ledgy and moving around a lot when the surface was textured with rain was a bad idea. I actually went in up to my neck in one of the holes but I had cinched the hell out of my jacket and unbelievably I stayed dry. So I parked myself in one spot for who knows how long enjoying the long casts when it happened. My line came tight and I didn't Bassmaster, I just let the reel start zinging before I slowly raised the tip. I'm 45 soon to be 46 having fished since I was ten years old. I've had my share of Big Ones so it takes a lot for me to freak out nowadays. When the biggest brightest chromer I've ever seen breached in the tail out just a few feet from a crazy chute, I started screaming. I played it well and didn't force anything and coached my buddy into tailing it perfectly. I thought for sure it was a wild fish but it was a hatchery beast. I dropped my rod in the water and I cradled it to shore. Once on shore my buddy and I both let go at the same moment shouting expletives in total awe. Then it flopped and slid between my legs back into the water breaking my rod and my line in the process! It makes for a memorable story but daaaaaaaamn it would been good to get a Grip and Grin with that thing and invite friends over for a BBQ! I can't say exactly how big but there were huge dead salmon around still and it was salmon size. It dwarfed anything that I have caught previously.

    This past weekend I did a 30 hour roadie to recon foil surfing potential inside estuaries when the waves are huge on the open ocean. I wet a line in 5 different rivers during that time: Wilson, Salmon, Necanicum and two rivers that I shall not name. I saw nothing, had no bumps, and every person I talked to hadn't touched a thing. That's steelheading for ya!

    Anyone having any success out there?

  • #2
    I've hooked a couple, and even have seen a few more....we're talking about winter steelhead here, right?

    just none landed.....yet.



    • #3
      I floated Barton to Carver Monday on the Clackamas. Air temp in the high thirties to low forties, no wind, some sun, river on the low side and very clear. No other fishing boats. Not one. Every run to myself. Really nice day. Of course, there were no fish either, so win-some-lose-some. Still, a pleasant first day of winter fishing. I think next time I'll go to the Deschutes, which might actually have some fish (trout).
      aka Scott Richmond


      • FinLuver
        FinLuver commented
        Editing a comment
        "stupid steelhead"...

    • #4
      Thanks Ryan,

      Awesome story. Hope to contribute soon. I guess in order to contribute I need to actually get out there.....So a new rod has been purchased or do you have a backup?


      • #5
        I'm gonna ease into it this season. With all the cold weather, probably nymph for them until March then swing thru April.


        • #6
          DonT...Terry is trying to fix my rod. Funny how I rarely broke rods before I met a rod builder. Hah! It's a Rainshadow 7wt and my only Spey rod that a buddy wrapped for me almost ten years ago. That was the 3rd time I broke that tip. Once ticking it with lead and then shattering it on a casting stroke on a branch overhead. At least this time it was on a fish.

          Luckily when I took my Bro N Law fly fishing 16 years ago I created a monster. He has more rods and fly tying stuff than me so when I was back visiting in Chicago for Xmas, I mentioned my misfortune and he dug up a 7wt Sage One Spey from his gear closet for me to borrow. Score!!

          UF...after this past weekend I've been thinking trout too. Stand in the rain fishing for fish that aren't there with dozens of other people doing the same thing, or head East to no rain, an awesome canyon, and a few bends in the rod from trout. Thing that keeps me heading West this time of year is a chance at surf and it's been swell after swell pounding the coast.
          Last edited by Mr. Chin; 01-08-2019, 03:16 PM.


          • #7
            Nice story Ryan. Bummer about the rod though. If I know I'm going to keep a hatcher fish it's index finger in the gills and thumb in the mouth immediately. Those things are slippery!

            Didn't start searching till late this year as I tried to cut my leg off with a circular saw so I needed that to heal before I could wader up. Thus far I haven't seen or touched anything though, no surprises. Hell, I'm just happy I can still cast the telephone poll after not touching it for 8 months...


            • #8
              Dude, I felt like I was there! Great story!


              • #9
                I've been pretty fortunate so far this winter on my local ditch. Seven hooked, 5 landed all wild except one, all on the swing. Good to see the local ditch booting out some chrome especially since it's only a 10 minute drive for me. Not sure how long this will hold up but I'm happy so far.



                • #10
                  Well, the season has been a slow one for me thus far. Been out five days during January and have only had one brief steelhead hook up. How is everyone else doing?


                  • #11
                    Had a beach weekend with the kids and came home along HWY 6. Lots of cars at all the pull outs. Tis the season. We stopped at the upper reaches to slosh around in our waders but didn't fish. We saw a mating pair of steel which was cool. Kids in wetsuits and waders makes me happy.

                    My first spey rod that a friend wrapped is officially retired after ten years. Terry can't fix the tip as it's been repaired twice already and they no longer make that model. At least it went out on a big feeeeeesh instead of a car door or a tree branch.

                    Need to get out for steel again but the pull of the D for trout is strong.
                    Last edited by Mr. Chin; 01-28-2019, 10:30 AM.


                    • #12
                      Another day swinging for steel on Saturday. Saw a stick caught, but that was it.
                      Support the Deschutes River Alliance: Cooler, cleaner H2O for the lower Deschutes River


                      • #13
                        I've made it out a handful of times this season, and made it on the board 1/1 last week. Kind of a funny story I figured I'd share. As most of us do, I try and have some nice etiquette on the river and treat my fellow anglers with respect, regardless of their chosen fishing method. But sometimes it seems I always run into the fellas who could care less low-holing you, sharing water politely, and so on. And this goes for both fly and gear guys.

                        Anyways, I was fishing a spot that's pretty close to home and had started high in the run, working my way into the real fishy water. I was the only person on the water and I was feeling hopeful. As I was beginning to swing in to the top end of the juice, a fella with a gear rod walked in, looked directly at me, and starting plunking his jig right through the best part of the run. I was livid, but am generally pretty mellow and while I really wanted to tell him to #%! off, I just kept fishing, figuring I'd continue working my way down and if he had any complaints about me fishing through him, I'd kindly explain he had low-holed me and to pound sand. At one point he cast his jig out across my line as it was swinging down, and I nearly reeled up and called it, but as I worked down the next few casts I think he actually got a clue and reeled up himself and walked up above me. Three or four casts later, my fly was swinging through the gut of the run when my reel starting screaming with line peeling off it. A few short runs, leaps, and dives later, I had tailed a beautiful native hen. Damn, that felt good! I'm sure it would've felt good either way, but in some ways it was even sweeter knowing I had managed to swing up this fish rather than lose my cool on this dude, or see him catch it below me.

                        The aforementioned low-holer came back down and asked if I had hooked up, we chatted for a few, and he was actually quite a nice dude. I guess the moral of the story is always be nice and respectful, and maybe that will leave you with some good positive mojo to conjure up one of these majestic creatures? Or some b-s like that..


                        • Fuzzy
                          Fuzzy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Let's hear it for karma!

                        • Mr. Chin
                          Mr. Chin commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Good for you. I think a lot of times gear guys just don't know. It would be such a bummer to throw-down while fishing so letting it be is the thing to do. Last year I waved an old gear guy in on the D as I was coming down to the sweet spot. I think he would have tossed a line regardless so I just told him to go ahead. He hooked up with MY hatchery steelhead and walked off without giving me a chunk. Geeeez.

                        • Stevie B
                          Stevie B commented
                          Editing a comment

                          I admire your self control on many levels. I would have just gone to the sweet spot and started flailing away.

                      • #14
                        My experience mirror Jason's. Probably 10 short trips out and only one pull that didn't stick. Been slow to say the least, but figure with all the broodstock programs now days fish are going to be showing up much later than usual.

                        and that stick was fierce enough that it broke me off...


                        • PhilR
                          PhilR commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Yeah, cause that Phil guy brings such good luck to everyone he fishes with.

                          Honestly, I'm surprised anybody goes with me at all.

                        • Mr. Chin
                          Mr. Chin commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Any marine mammal sightings on the Sandy this year?

                        • soxfan
                          soxfan commented
                          Editing a comment
                          No sea lions thus far.

                          I did some rough math and I catch roughly 25% more steelhead when I fish with Phil! That's pretty good!

                      • #15
                        Alsea is having a Bead tournament. Just saying. It's been slow everywhere. I've talked to a lot of steelheaders and the consensus is the same. Very few fish. But on a lighter note, the fishing for trout has been off the Hook in the south valley. Pray for Rain.


                        • Mr. Chin
                          Mr. Chin commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Always helps one feel better when others are getting The Skunk too, but I'd rather hear that the runs are good and people are having success.

                        • Crawbugger
                          Crawbugger commented
                          Editing a comment
                          It's Steel early. No worries. Hope you've been Good.