fly fishing for winter steelhead
I haven’t been fishing in what seems like a long time. For those who live in trout country, this probably isn’t such an odd thing. After all, when the water temps dip into the 30’s and the trout enter their catatonic wintery coma, fishing for them tends to grind to a halt. That’s when the trout fishermen (which is a term to describe those who fish, be they men or women, or some surgically-created hybrid) turn inward and do other things related to fishing to keep them busy. They tie flies, clean lines, rearrange gear, make plans to attend some of the upcoming fly fishing tradeshows, etc. This is all well and good. And because I do fish for trouts I do have the excuse that trout fishing is shut down for the winter. However, I live in Anadromopolis. I should be out casting a Spey rod for sea run rainbow trouts: steelhead. But I haven’t been yet.
Why not? There are reasons, and three of them sound like valid excuses to me:
• Winter steelhead fishing really starts in earnest in January. That’s true. There may be some early fish in the river systems, but typically January marks the true beginning of winter steelhead fishing around here.
• There aren’t that many fish in our local rivers. Again, true. But that’s nothing new. Our local Puget Sound rivers have not been very productive for steelhead fishing in years. It’s not getting any better, but that shouldn’t stop the fisherman who enjoys getting out for the sake of practicing their casting, with the remote hope of hooking up with a fish.
• The weather has been crappy and the rivers are blown out. Not true. While that was definitely the case last year thanks to La Niña, the same cannot be said of this year. And while the meteorologists told us we were in for another La Niña winter this year, that has not proved to be the case so far (knock on wood). We had early snow in the mountains before Thanksgiving, but precipitation since then has been low. The weather has been cooler than normal, but also drier. Consequently our rivers are in good shape.
• I’ve been traveling for work and unable to find time for fishing. HA! I don’t travel for work. In fact, I rarely leave my home office for work. Truth be told, my work has been slow for the past couple of months. Too slow. I’ve had plenty of time for fishing, but I’ve been burdened with anxiety over the lack of work, which has kept me from feeling much like fishing. Work has to pick up (knock on wood).
• My waders leak and I’ve been waiting to get a new pair for Christmas. False. My waders are fine. They do not leak (knock on wood), nor am I getting a new pair for Christmas.
• I broke my Sage Z-Axis 7136 Spey rod on a huge fish, had to send the tip section in for warranty repair, and Sage has been very slow to return it. This is both false, and a crock. I did not break my 7136 (knock on wood). But even if I had , Sage would have turned it around in short order as they are known to do.
• I’m recovering from knee surgery. An old college football injury that has plagued me for years finally begged to be corrected. Uh, false. I did not have surgery. I have never had a knee injury (knock on wood). I did not play college football.
• I’m just a worthless excuse for a fisherman. I’ve been in some sort of funk, have no gumption and simply have not gone fishing. This is true.
I’m out of excuses and there’s no more wood upon which to knock. There’s only one thing to do…