My status as a fly fishing personality gets me all kinds of cool perks. Like walking into Stefano’s and telling the hostess, no, we don’t want that table in the blinding sunlight, we want that one over there in the shade. Turns out we were seated next to some fellow Nutmeggers who recognized me, and we got to talking. They’d been up for several days and, like everyone else, were finding the fishing challenging. But on that day they’d discovered a whole bunch of steelhead that were willing to jump on. Hold that thought for a moment.
It was below freezing when we launched from Pineville. We focused on high percentage holding water, but the height of the river (1.65K dam release, 2K at Pineville) and its temperature (42 degrees) meant that the drop backs really hadn’t started dropping back in earnest. I found this natural work of art during a little shore leave.
Look what Gordo found! At least the skunk was off for him.
The river looks totally different at 2K. Here Gordo takes us through Upper Sportsman’s. Talk about winning the weather lottery! We fished hard, but by 11:30 we realized that the numbers weren’t on our side. So we decided to trailer the boat and focus on some recently acquired intel (thanks, guys!)
We made the right call. Third cast, I was on. Small fish, but now the skunk was wholly vanquished. A half-hour later, I was working upstream, picking pockets, when I tied into a nice post-spawn buck. He gave me a few firm head shakes and surface boils, and made one impressive run toward the lake. Problem: no landing net, no good LZ, Jim and Gordon upstream out of assist range. Solution: improvise. I got him into a relatively shallow micro-eddy, gently corralled him between my legs and the bank, then lifted his head out of the water for a quick selfie.
And if you want proof that steelheading isn’t fair, they started dropping the flows the day we left. Jim tells me the fishing has been great the last two days.
(Insert sighs and grumbling here.)