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.

Recommended for You

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019. Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

Fly Fisherman's documentary Industry

Fly Fisherman Magazine Documentary Recognized by Outdoor Writers Association of America

Fly Fisherman - June 24, 2019

Fly Fisherman's documentary "One Path" was recognized with two awards.

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done. Fly Tying

Tying the Kamikaze Sculpin

Charlie Craven

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the world. Worldwide

5 Best Trout Fishing Spots in the World

Ross Purnell, Editor

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the...

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones are brightly colored treasures. Trout

Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

See More Stories

More News

The 2018 Jackson Hole One Fly not only raises funds for conservation projects and organizations in the greater Jackson Hole region, but this year's event was a literally a 'win-win' for all. Industry

Conservation organizations win big at Jackson Hole One Fly

Brian la Rue - October 26, 2018

The 2018 Jackson Hole One Fly not only raises funds for conservation projects and...

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers, identifying ten rivers facing imminent threats. News

2019 Most Endangered Rivers

Fly Fisherman - April 16, 2019

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers,...

Reauthorized Act Creates New Wild & Scenic Rivers, Protects the Yellowstone, and Creates Umpqua Steelhead Sanctuary. Conservation

Reauthorized Act is to Protect Public Land and Sustain Clean Watersheds

David Karczynski - September 20, 2019

Reauthorized Act Creates New Wild & Scenic Rivers, Protects the Yellowstone, and Creates...

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.