Back in 2006, I was young and determined to winter steelhead. This capture shows the ice build up along the banks. The rods in the picture do not show just how crazy this was. Over six feet high and possibly greater in some spots. Walking a hundred yards over this ice to get to the river, we said it would be the last time we would do so. It would not take much to bust you up if you were to fall through a weak point.
Not the brightest thing to be doing but after all these years,I went steelheading today despite having that gut feeling the year round open section of the river would have little to offer. A wise steelheader told me long ago that 10% of the water holds 90% of the fish. Somewhat similar, this available section at this time of the year has about that amount of productive drifts.
The sun was to make an appearance but it never showed. The air temps were still comfortable but not warm enough to run the reel gloveless. That metal is still very cold and sucks the energy from your hands and fingers.
The river, low and clear.
We started off slow, continued along the morning very slowly and the ending was as slow as molasses. I did not hit a fish until 11-ish...... and it was a sucker. Perfect. Are they coming in now? Admittedly, with nothing happenning, part of me was hoping for a few more suckers just to put a bend in the rod.
I adjusted the shot pattern (to something totally opposite from what I had been running all morning), switch to a 4lb leader and put the float into the same seam I had been working for the past 30 mins. Recall I mentioned that there is not much productive water in the section and we had reached the upper limit of legal real estate to fish on. Wouldn't you know, my float shoots under. I set the rod back hard. There was a violent pounding on my rod tip, line zig zagging through the water cutting the surface up. It bolted up past me and into some big rocks. I could feel the line rubbing against the stones' edge as I stretched out with one arm while braking the reel, trying to steer it out. When I did get it back into the main current, the fish rolled me like an crocodile. The frayed fluorocarbon gave way.There was nothing more after that.
When I got home, I threw the 4lb leader into my fishing locker. Fat chance it will see light any time soon.