Steel on the Brain
Fall is the time of year where it seems like anywhere you go; the fishing is good and only getting better. Lots of anglers are out and about on the trout streams, taking advantage of the cooler weather and consistent bug hatches. I’ve been guiding on the Spokane and like everywhere else, the fishing has been stellar.
Last week, I got the steelhead itch, dusted off the spey rods and headed down to the Clearwater. The preseason forecast for steelhead returns this year was pretty grim, but after watching the Bonneville counts and early Lower Granite returns, numbers were looking better than originally projected. This isn’t going to be a banner year by any means, but I think we can all agree that a little hope in the anadromous fish world is a good thing.
After working out the kinks casting the big rods for the first time this year, I stuck a nice steelhead that hung on long enough to get a great look at it before throwing the hook right at my feet. I fished the rest of the day with no other grabs, but felt fortunate to have an encounter this early in the season. I took a drive up the Snake that night and fished around Hellar Bar the next morning, but water temps were a bit on the warm side.
Hoping for one more opportunity, I ventured back up the Clearwater to swing a couple runs before heading back to Spokane. My fish karma must have been ready to cash in, because I was lucky enough to bring a hard fighting chromer to hand and finish off the trip on a high note. Since I’ve been down, the Lower Granite numbers have perked up and we are hearing of a few fish being caught on all the major rivers. I’d say its time to scratch that itch!