Monday, November 1, 2010
On "The Big D" Celebrating Steelhead
With the Halloween Trip to Isla Guadalupe away and our divers enjoying a great crossing this week I decided to fly up north to catch the winter run of Steelhead on the Big D.
It's been an epic run this season with Steelies running 30 inches and 8-15 lbs.
Steelhead are a remarkable adaptation in nature. They are sea run rainbow trout that, unlike salmon, can return year after year to river spawning beds.
I have spent quite a few years in California working on habitat reconstruction for Steelhead with Trout Unlimited. The rivers need our help, and often that help comes in the form of day labor to remove trash and plant the kinds of trees and shrubs that promote native insect populations and keep the river cooler during the summer months when young smolt head downstream.
Saturday was one of those rare days when everything comes together, our drift boat, the weather (overcast, cold, with a hint of snow) and of course the fish.
This fine 30' buck was sitting 60 yards below a Chinook spawning bed slurping fat orange eggs that drifted down to him. I was nyphing with an 0ctober caddis and an egg dropper hoping for a take. We had been drifting quitely though ancient basalt canyons lined with deer and elk for almost two hours that day, raw remote nature, the way I like it.
The take was heroic, and I soon found myself in a line screaming (and heart pounding) battle that lasted almost 30 minutes with this powerful buck working deep and fast currents and producing titanic leaps in eye popping display.
For most people 30+ degree weather is cause for hunkering down at home with the television running. For a fly fishermen with a 30' Steelhead and tight lines, this is heaven.
As you can see I landed this beauty and took a few admiring images quickly enough to return this magnificent animal back to his home waters to produce the next run of Steelhead on the Big D.
Patric Douglas CEO