Skip to main content

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.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tying the Double Barrel Popper

Tying the Double Barrel Popper

All these tricks can be put to use on poppers or sliders for anything with fins, from panfish to billfish.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are seven important strategies from some of the world's best nymph fishermen.7 Tips for Rigging Your Nymphs like a Pro Beginners

7 Tips for Rigging Your Nymphs like a Pro

George Daniel - March 11, 2019

Here are seven important strategies from some of the world's best nymph fishermen.

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know Beginners

9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know

Fly Fisherman Staff | Illustrations by Joe Mahler

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.

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

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line Beginners

How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line

Landon Mayer | Illustrations by Joe Mahler - August 11, 2020

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.

See More Trending Articles

More News

The Denver show is now planned for April 30-May 2.The Fly Fishing Show Canceled, Rescheduled for Later Dates Industry

The Fly Fishing Show Canceled, Rescheduled for Later Dates

Fly Fisherman - February 23, 2021

The Denver show is now planned for April 30-May 2.

We need more young people to become fly fishers.The Herb Miller Scholarship for Diversity Industry

The Herb Miller Scholarship for Diversity

Fly Fisherman Staff - January 05, 2021

We need more young people to become fly fishers.

His successful environmental and educational efforts led him to this outstanding achievement. 2021 Conservationist of the Year Conservation

2021 Conservationist of the Year

Barry Beck - January 05, 2021

His successful environmental and educational efforts led him to this outstanding achievement.

If completed, the Pancheswar Dam will displace 30,000 villagers and farming communities.Sarayu River Threatened if Pancheswar Dam is Built Conservation

Sarayu River Threatened if Pancheswar Dam is Built

Dr. Brian Irwin - April 29, 2020

If completed, the Pancheswar Dam will displace 30,000 villagers and farming communities.

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Fly Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now