My outing Friday was a float from Mosquito Lake Road to Nugents Corner. On the boat there was a Lender, a Real Estate Agent and Title Company Salesman. So, who do you think hooked the fish? Me? Well, I did hook a small steelhead right next to the Nugents Corner boat ramp after they had all left. I saw a splash near the ramp and I ran and got my rod. Three casts and boom, fish on. I lost the fish shortly after it jumped. Maybe because I was so surprised.
This brings up a good point in the world of steelheading. We live in a place and on a river that can be difficult to fish. You may get one chance at a steelhead throughout an entire day or you may get none. On an exceptional day you might meet a few chromers. Stamina, perseverance, consistency and confidence are my words of choice. Fish every cast like it is the one! Don't let yourself fall asleep at the wheel and miss the grandiose opportunity.
How do we prepare ourselves for that fish? All your cards have to be played right or you have to get lucky. That first run is for the fish alone. If your hook set wasn't strong you will lose that fish when it jumps. There mouth is so much stronger than that of any normal size trout. Think of this fish as super-trout! If you have been casting down through a run with a type 6 sink tip and jig-head moal leech (super heavy fly) and you let that fly drop on your back cast a few times, there is a good chance you nicked that fly hook on a few rocks and dulled it. You just lost one of your cards. Take a look at your fly and hook every now and then. Change or sharpen it as needed. Compare your used hooks to new ones.
Second card: make sure you have that 24"-30" loop of line between your swinging hand and the reel. This line gives that fish a chance to turn with the fly and then your hard hook set will end up in the corner of its mouth.
Third card: don't take your steps when your fly is just coming to the dangle. So many fish will hit just as the fly stops its swing.
Fourth card: Fish with confidence and be consistent throughout the run. Keep the same amount of line out throughout the run and don't forget that steelhead are often closer to the shore than you might think.
Did I mention that the North Fork is closed from the hatchery downstream to Mosquito Lake Road. The hatchery needs to get a solid egg take and they have had troubles in previous years. Still, there is plenty of good water to fish.
WDFW Emergency Regs
Okay, back to yesterdays fly fishing outing on the Nooksack River. The answer is The Lender. Fish was on, ran, jumped, flopped and was gone! So cool though. That was his first experience with a steelhead. It makes a huge difference just to know that they are there. He will probably fish harder and better from now on when he gets out. It is so rewarding just to know that you are doing things right. If you never feel that connection, you ask yourself over and over again if you are doing things correctly. Way to go Travis! Thanks to Edward and Chris. It was an awesome day.
Well, it looks like I won't be out until next Friday unless you give me a call!