Today we finished up the final day of our three day Kiene's Fly Shop Dec Hogan Spey classes. For the second year in a row Dec Hosted three classes on spey casting and fishing instruction. It was a pleasure to listen to Dec talk about the different elements of each various spey cast and watch him help each student. While Dec did a fabulous job instructing students on 6 different spey casts, I feel most of the students enjoyed his talk about fishing for steelhead with a two handed spey rod. Dec went through how he would fish a floating line with a skated fly, wet fly, and fishing heavy sinking tips.
It was great to spend three days with Dec and after listening to him speak and teach, I feel I learned something new each day. It was a pleasure to help Dec and Terry Thomas with this class and hopefully we can look forward to having Dec out again next year. Thanks to all who attended and thanks again Dec!
So far the 2009 winter steelhead season on the coast has been a bit of a bust. Not that we have had the best conditions for fishing but when the water and weather cooperated I would have expected the fishing to be a bit better. While we did have some good fishing in January, February and March have been a tough!
I was able to sneak away from the shop for a couple of days and headed north for a relaxing weekend which of course included some winter steelheading. Spent some time on two rivers I do not fish all that often, seeing the usual jaunts have not been producing like they have in the past. Will Johnson joined me and we did some serious hiking on the first day on a smaller coastal river. We had the river all to ourselves and fished some great water, same results!
Seeing little results the first day we ventured a few hours in a totally different direction. This wasnt exactly a short drive and we ended up only fishing half od a day in off and on showers. A few of the smaller tribs were beginning to muddy up a bit and the river was on a slow rise. With a few hours of light and a rising river, Will and I fished fast. In search of that perfect piece of water that might contain the presence of that wild 15 lb chromer all us steelhead junkies are in search of. We both fished down one of the better runs on the river with no pulls. Will headed downstream and I went upstream. I stumble upon a slow moving pool I would not normally fish because it is pretty slow moving and looks to be 6-10' deep. What the hell, I am not finding any fish in any of the usual spot, might as well try something different. The first couple of swings are slow and deep but the current looks to get better the further down the run. Next cast, the fly gets a better swing and just as the fly comes off the faster seam into the slower water, WHAM! Fish takes to the air, give a few headshakes and comes undone. Whata ya know, I lose another winter. Pretty typical for me this season! Though I didn't feel too bad as it looked like it was a downstreamer (aka snake).
Alright so there are some fish around! Strip in and re cast a little further downstream from where I had lost that last one. About 5 casts later, I get jerked so hard it literally ripped the rod out of my hand. Yeah, I know, I here this phrase a lot too but couldnt think of anything original or that was G rated. Fish comes right to the surface and jumps multiple times while instantly taking me near my backing in slow moving water. This was no snake, and appeared to be a thick winter buck. After a 5 minute fight or so I had the buck near the bar but each time I would try to beach him he would peel off another 40' of line. Finally, I think I have him and have the leader in the guide. As I go to tail him, he bolts back towards the pool and hook pulls. Normally I would have been content with the fishing getting off because we are going to let him go anyways but this lightly colored buck looked to be in the mid 30" range and 13-15 lbs. It would have been nice to get a pic of him seeing this was a mid teens fish in a river that typically sees 4-7 lb fish on average. Tragic! If Dave or anyone else that knows that story, this was my crumbler!
F#$% it! Might as keep working down the pool. To shorten this saga a bit, I ended up hooking and landing another snake that went arial a few times and ripped a little line. Fooled me at first but as I tailed her and released her quickly, she was 27-28" and no more than 5 lbs. Wow, what a run! Every once in a moon made of spare ribs does that ever happen. Moral of story. I was one lucky SOB for the day and we all should fish some slower water for winter fish. Not those riffly rus and tailouts, summer runs love.
Sorry for the long write and no fish pics. Snake pics are not allowed!
Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service provides guided and instructional fly fishing trips for steelhead in Northern California using two handed (spey) rods. We fish for steelhead in the traditional down and across method, targeting the most aggressive fish in the river. Whether you are a beginner or an avid steelheader, Steelhead on the Spey guide service provides you a day of fun steelheading.