In Pictures: A Winter Steelhead Grab

In Pictures: A Winter Steelhead Grab
Miller sends a sixty foot cast out from under our alders and to the pocket under the alders on the far bank.

Winter steelheaders often go days between grabs.  Ours isn't an obsession with quantity; its an obsession with quality.  After you've put in that kind of effort, the tug of a big bright steelhead will have you perky for a week.  The rewards aren't frequent, but they're profound when they come, and they always come eventually.


Your odds of getting grabbed on a given day go up exponentially with each season you devote to a specific stretch of river.  Eventually, you'll have a handful of spots that seem to produce as often as not.


Which is what makes the following series of images even more unlikely.

Last winter, California and Kamchatka steelhead guide Justin Miller and I were fishing a stretch of river in Oregon that was relatively new to both of us.  Collectively, we might have fished the run in this picture a dozen times.  Hardly enough to know precisely when and where a fish might take.


Nonetheless, the rain stopped for a moment and as Justin stepped in, I took a position in the rocks behind him, my camera coming out of my backpack.  I thought I might get a nice picture of a cast landing.  Little did I know...

What follows is a full sequence of images, all taken on one cast and swing.

My two cents:  Miller does everything right here.  Had the fish turned the other direction, turned a half-second sooner or later, or not turned at all, that fly would have stuck.  They say "better to be lucky than good," and there may be some truth to that.  But then again, if Miller wasn't good, he wouldn't have felt that fish at all.

More to the point, that take energized the day, leaving us confident and optimistic and eager to keep rolling the dice.

Until the next grab.

Popular Videos

Bank Sipper

Jim McLennan catches a big Red Deer River brown trout rising in 10 inches of water.

Amazing Zipless Fly Vest!

William Joeseph introduced a remarkable zipper-free fly pack that features a surprising watertight magnetic seal.

Anti-Invasive Species Boots

Editor Ross Purnell joins K.C. Walsh of Simms to talk about a new rubber compound material that was specially designed to outperform and replace the use of felt boots in effort to combat the spread of invasive species.

See more Popular Videos

More News

Conservation

2020 Conservationist of the Year

Fly Fisherman

Cast your nominations for the 2020 Conservationist of the Year.

Industry

The Most Radical Guides in America?

Jonathan Wright - June 07, 2018

Guides and outfitting services in America come in all flavors. The men that make up Gunnison...

Conservation

Why a Native Fish Coalition?

Ted Williams - July 02, 2018

The Native Fish Coalition believes that hatchery fish should never be stocked on top of native...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×