Steelhead fishing: a rant!

After a season of what I would call normal steelheading on the Trinity River, I am hearing about a lot of people complaining that the fishing is poor. There are no fish in the river, and even a few people saying that hooking one fish every two days is not worth fishing. It sounds to me like too many people only care about CATCHING fish. To me, there is a lot more about steelhead FISHING than how many fish you catch.

Which brings me to this. Why do you go steelhead fishing? If it’s to hook five fish every time out, then let me tell ya, you’re wasting your time! It obviously must not have anything to do with getting away from the concrete jungle where you live to be on a pristine river with gin clear water, beautiful runs, and to swing a fly in hopes that a hot, bright 4-8 lb wild steelhead grabs your fly. The shot of adrenaline you receive when a fish slams your fly and is ripping backing off your reel while jumping its way downriver! Even on those days when we don’t get a fish, it’s pretty amazing to see black bears, deer, and bald eagles all around. What about working on your casting and fishing techniques. There’s a lot more to it than how many steelhead you catch.

Stupid returns of HATCHERY steelhead in the last 3-5 years on the Trinity River gave people the idea that hooking 5-12 steelhead a day was the norm. Many of those ridiculous numbers were had in the upper river nymph fishing. Yeah, in those same years we did quite well swinging flies, but 5 fish days were not the norm. While I believe fish returns are cyclical and the numbers of hatchery smolts has been reduced, we are back to normal returns of steelhead. We are still hooking the same number of wild steelhead but fewer hatchery disasters. Fine with me, I live for hooking big hot, wild steelhead that aren’t missing a fin! Things are back to where they were before the crazy returns and those who put in the time are still hooking some nice fish. Maybe not everyday, but if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Just remember, it’s steelheading!

JH

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9 Responses to Steelhead fishing: a rant!

  1. John Putnam says:

    Well said Jason. While we all like to hook steelhead, it really is about the hunt and the overall experience of being on the river.

    • Old Timer says:

      Actually, 10-15 fish a day was norm, when had “normal” fish runs in the 1950’s. Don’t sell yourselves short!!

  2. Horatio says:

    I like to catch about 7 fish per day. Is that wrong?

  3. amen. too many people out there thinking that steelhead fishing means huge numbers of fish. This may have been the case at one time, but anymore, restraint needs to be the name of the game. I see it all the time on the rivers that feed the columbia river, idiot trout guides with no sense of ethics guiding bobber fishing, trout clients, fishing out of the boat on small rivers. Double digit days are not uncommon some years, however given the escapement numbers we see on those rivers the bottom line is many fish are being caught multiple times. All to satisfy the ego of some cheesedick sport who couldn’t catch a steelhead on his own if you paid him

  4. Dan Brosier says:

    Well said, Jason.

    It was good seeing you on the river the other day.

  5. Terry Thomas says:

    As Dec would say, “We’re just knocking on doors.” It just so happens that those doors are in some of the most beautiful places on earth.
    T.

  6. Jay Clark says:

    I agree Jason.People have unrealistic expectations on Trinity.I am just happy to get out as my fishing time this year has been few and far between.While I love catching steelhead, I am also happy to improve my casting,cover water thoroughly, and enjoy my time immersed in the rhythym of the swing.Thanks for your rant!

  7. Zach says:

    Steelheading is just like business – a numbers game. If you don’t have numbers how can you measure yourself?

  8. chaveecha says:

    I really hate fishermen.

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