So I’d been perched here on the roof of Idaho all winter, skiing and swinging up a few cold-water rainbows and biding my time for a trip south by westwards for some winter steelhead. My work schedule, I’ll admit, had my style in a cramp for most of the winter…scarcely an original complaint, but when it opened up at the same time the clouds did on coastal Oregon, I took the hint and made a run for it. At the far end of a long drive, I found river after river running high and colored. Perfect.
Or at least, perfect in theory. Clear skies and sunshine made the mid-day fishing feel a little shaky, but the mid-day napping was outstanding. I hit a succession of rivers while each dropped and cleared, and after a few days, found this bright little hen on a bright afternoon. She fought as hard as any steelhead I’ve ever hooked, and sent me back to Idaho feeling pretty satisfied. Thanks, James, for the drift boat ride and photos, and Asa for being a ninja with the net.
I returned home to, ironically, a dropping, clearing river with big native rainbows trickling in. Most days I’ve found a fish or two willing to eat a swung fly, which is more than enough to maintain my interest. They’ll be getting their freak on in a month or so, but for now the spawning gravel is empty and the runs and buckets are occupied. This one was the gem of this week’s float trip, brought to hand by the 12’6” Platinum 6-weight in the last light of sunset. In the coming weeks, as days get longer and water temperatures climb, I’m hoping for plenty more of the same.