Follow by Email

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Trinity Steelhead trip...

A Happy New Year to One & All!!

Steelheading seems to be a matter timing; relying heavily on climatic conditions. Of course, a given assumption is that the fish are in the river; ideally in good numbers. 2007's, now legendary, incredible steelhead numbers was not a likely probability; four of us hooked 75 and landed 50. This year we had been receiving varied reports of success (...or non- success). Rain was needed to move/spread-out the ironheads.

This year's annual trip looked very promising for our intrepid group of four; Lob-Dude, da Hell Yeah Kid, Yo Joe! and myself. As luck would have it; rain was projected for the first two days of the three days we were going to drift; December 15, 16 & 17. I do not mind rain; as long as it is mild & falling softly. We again stayed at the River Haven Cottage in Lewiston; the river being in our backyard.

I've become a pansy-arsed, "fair-weather" steelheader. A wet deluge or way! We experienced the latter in 2005; steady sleet & snow...all day. In addition to the uncomfortable conditions; the angling was a bit difficult. During that one miserable day two of us hooked three and netted one (some say that is a "normal")....the other boat did the same. That was enough for this kid; I vowed that weather would not interfere again; an unreasonable attitude because we make long-range, advanced planning.

Last year, 2008, during the third week of November; our first two guided days resulted in all of one steelhead amongst the four of us. On the third day, the guides felt sorry for us.
OR, they felt pressured to produce. Believe me, I've been there during my 26 years as a trout fly fishing; I call it "sphincter-tightening time" So, during the third day we ventured way down river to the inflow of the South Fork to Willow Creek. There we caught numerous 1/2 pounders and tussled with 20-25 Chinook salmon. We really enjoyed the battles (...or shall I say being tugged around the river); not landing any of them being under-gunned with 7 weight rods.

...Back to 2009's trip

Well...during our three days floating the river we hooked 28 and netted 14 (six of which were wild) They ranged from a "small-adult" sized 22" to 27" being the largest. Most steelies were in the "cookie-cutter" 24"-26" range.

Suffice it to say that I was exuberant upon boating this "small-adult"...been a awhile. I'm sure Brian (the guide) felt the same.

The Hell Yeah Kid with the largest netted steelhead...several larger ones uncorked

Lob Dude with a female "wild thing"...notice intact adipose

Yo Joe! with a wild buck

Unedited Comments & Numbers Crunch:
DAY 1---Sky Ranch to Cable Car drift

Four of us…13/5; YJ 3/2…HYK 2/1…LD 3/1….me...5/1...HYK got a 27” Buck…three browns

rained all day!... clear far!

…I lost two “good” ones 26” on pilot error (…a nano-second of slack; can get way with trout but definitely not these ocean-going trout…making quick forceful moves); the second on a “thump-thump” flash, deep in the water column shoing a very deep girth. Brian Balog, the guide(highly recommended...if you can get him being that he's booked waaaay in advance) guessed a minimum of 8 pounds and into 10.

Flies: #10 BH, legged Golden Stone was the best producer…1-2 BB shot…

DAY 2---Steel Bridge to Steiner Flat

Blown-out. Not a single, “legit” SH netted. Best was a 16” half-pounder. HYK landed 3 browns to 17” on egg patterns…other three of us, ZERO-takes…all day. Rain was lighter than previous day, but fell constantly until about 1 PM…it then ceased.

We gambled on the lower river because of less boats….although clearer water. We rolled the dice because when we got to the launch-site; we had about 2-2-1/2 feet of visibility….flow was at 1000cfs; day before being 450cfs.

DAY 3---Sky Ranch-Pigeon Point”

12/8…YJ 4/3 plus sucker that ate an egg. HYK 4/3…wild hen & buck; small hen @ 22, buck 25…2 browns ,LD 1/1, Me 3/1…hatchery buck @ 24”-25”

Flies: Golden Stones…Rubber-Legged Red Copper John...egg eaten by wild buck…

No comments:

Post a Comment