To Steelhead or Not To Steelhead

Sean Visintainer - 09/23/16

Bjorn's Clearwater Crusher Fly Pattern Grande Ronde Steelhead

It's always worth the swing.

Lot's of steelhead talk in the shop lately. It's that time of the year. The mythical fish that swims up the river fly anglers dream about all season long has arrived. This year is shaping up to be a bit on the light side for steelhead counts. Returning numbers have been down substantially when compared to last year and the ten year average, in addition to the run showing up a little later. This obviously has the steelhead community hanging their heads low and rightfully so.

I would like to think being a steelheader that one needs to be optimistic. I believe I'm optimistic about steelheading. Hey, they don't call it a fish of 1,000 cast for nothing! But every year anglers still go with the hopes of hooking those shiny rockets despite the stigma of being a hard fish to catch on the fly. This year will be no exception. As an optimist I will still go steelheading, it only takes one steelhead to make my day. Even on record years steelhead fishing can be a sport where you only land 1 or 2, and this year if you land 1 or 2, it will be even that much more special.

Last weekend on the Grande Ronde my buddy Spencer landed his first one on the swing in the first run he fished his traditional through. The second day I hooked and played a beast that ended up winning the battle, leaving me with just a theory of how big he was. Was I disappointed? Nope. I thought it was a successful two days of steelheading. It's just a matter of perspective. Oh did I mention watching four bulls bugle on the hillside behind us... and not a soul around? Yeah... it's always worth the swing.

  • Spencer with the Bjorn's Clearwater Crusher fly pattern. Bjorn's Clearwater Crusher
  • Spencer fighing his first steelhead on the swing. On the Swing

  • Sean successfly through the Grande Ronde Narrows. Grande Ronde Narrows
  • Spencer swinging up his first Steelhead on his Winston Spey Rod. First steelhead on the swing.