My 13-yr-old son's first steelhead! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: My 13-yr-old son's first steelhead!

06-16-2004, 02:59 AM
On Friday, it started out as a quick evening trip to test some new spey rods with my 2 kids. We left the house about 4:00 PM, stopped for gas, made a couple wrong turns, got to the river sometime before 5:00.

The area I had planned to go, because I rightly assumed it had a nice gravel bar where 3 people would have room to cast, did not work because we could not find a trail there! After wasting nearly an hour, we drove downriver.

We stopped, looked at the water, and thought we could find a spot upstream a bit. So we grabbed the rods, walked a ways, and found a place where we could get in the water and have room to cast. Problem was, 2 guys were already in the area. They turned out to be nice, above the call of duty nice. I asked the one closest to us if he was working downstream. He told us to "go ahead". He was really pretty close, so I asked, "Are you sure?" "Absolutely" was the reply. They were trout fishing, and I think he was just being exceptionally nice in deference to my kids. Or perhaps he just wasn't interested in the same water I was. Whoever you were, if you read this, a big thanks again. Classy; I hope I would be as great in similar circumstances.

I've gotten reasonably confident in reading new steelhead water, and this water just smelled like steelhead. Unfortunately, there really wasn't room for 3 of us. So I had Olga go first, since she knows the different casts to use in different situations, and I stayed back to help Roman.

The current here had a nice velocity gradient that kept the fly line pretty straight, so I just had Roman use the snap-T and send the fly almost straight across river. Early on, while I was still talking to Roman, his small unweighted fly got snagged fly in slow but not shallow water. I replaced it with an even smaller fly, on lighter wire for ease of casting, and went downstream to take some photos of his casting.

I had taken just a couple of pictures when he says, "I've got one," kind of quietly. I challenged, "are you sure?" He replied "yes." Knowing how a rock and a belly in the line could fool the inexperienced, or especially if he hung up on a limb moved down by the recent high water, I asked again, "Are you sure?" "Yes" again. "Really???" "YES, IT'S SWIMMING!" About then, I had gotten close enough to see his knuckles getting rapped and he said "Ouch" as the reel spun in a blur when the fish headed back toward the Willamette.

During the battle, Roman asked me to take the rod, because he was afraid to lose the fish. Of course I refused! After a long, slow battle--there was no way to follow the fish--Roman coaxed the fish back upstream, between the willows, and into the shallows where I grabbed it for him.

His first ever steelhead was a typical hatchery hen of 6-7 pounds, nice and bright as would be expected of an early summer fish.

My other young spey guru was a great sister and cheered for her brother, and tried hard to get into a fish herself, but it was not to be on Friday. But with her casting skill--she has a better loop than I and can consistently throw 60-70 feet with snap-T's and single speys--it should be very, very soon.

A great start to summer steelheading for the Koran family.


Making the cast

Hooked up!

Following the fish...

Coaxing it back upstream...

Getting close...

Dad, I'm tired...

Happy speyfisher!!!

06-16-2004, 06:02 AM
Tell Roman I said VERY COOL! Thank you for the report. I still can't view you pics. Take care, MJC

06-16-2004, 07:23 AM
Congratulations! And thanks for the story.

Perhaps more than just a steelhead was hooked?!

Brian Simonseth
06-16-2004, 08:35 AM
All right Roman!!!!


Spey Bum will LOVE this!

06-16-2004, 01:28 PM
This kind of thing is WAY COOL!

06-16-2004, 02:38 PM
Congrats Roman and SHH!! Certainly a defining moment in a young steelhead flyfisher's life.

And I'm dyin to see those pictures, but get a "Forbidden" message when I try to open them. I assume there's a username/password associated with this site?

Happy Swingin!


06-16-2004, 03:24 PM
There is no password. If you keep trying, it eventually works, but...

After posting, I've learned that the imagestation host is not the greatest. I'm going to try and register for picturetrail tonight and edit this so the pics work.

Sorry for the challenge, and thanks for looking. I hope you'll try again after I change the image host.


06-16-2004, 04:16 PM

That was a great story. My daughter is just about Roman's age and starting to develop nice loops with a 12 footer. Actually she is 8 and Connor is 6. Oh man, I hope this for my children.


Matt Burke

Big K1
06-16-2004, 06:02 PM
Congrats to Roman!


Looks like you have a fishing partner or two for life.


Sharp Steelie
06-16-2004, 10:36 PM


06-17-2004, 05:15 AM
A fish that will never be forgotten!

I especially like seeing that Roman lost his hat in the heat of battle, I can imagine the excitement :)

06-17-2004, 06:08 AM
Fantastic. Great post. Thanks.

06-17-2004, 08:08 AM
Sparse -
Congrads to Roman - no doubt a memory for life for the both of you. Sounds as if Olga should soon join the clan of success steelheaders - all ready exhibits signs of sportsmanship that is a credit to the sport.

Thanks very much for sharing - it is very cool to hear of youngsters being successfully introduced to the sport we all love so much.

Roman's fish reminds of an aspect of steelheading that I have long wonder about - what portion of today's steelhead anglers first encounter with the resource has been via a hatchery fish?

Tight lines
S malma

06-17-2004, 08:20 AM
with children, or grandchildren, if you are old enough, is great. I have grandkids that will be ready soon.

Thanks for sharing with us.

06-17-2004, 09:15 AM
Tell that young man that we are ALL proud of him!!!


06-17-2004, 01:42 PM
Hey Sparse,

This is what it's all about. The three of you will remember the moment to the end of time. Hope the family will have many more to come.

06-17-2004, 02:12 PM
An incredible story, great to see the next generation of fly fisherman in action!