: November Fly of the month contest
10-31-2005, 03:28 PM
Tell us your best Steelhead story and win a nice fly.
Got an interesting story about steelhead fishing? Got an interesting lie about steelhead fishing? Tell the story here on the FlyFishingForum and you could win the steelhead fly pictured below.
The rules are simple: Attach your steelhead story to this thread by November 22 and if our independent panel of judges (Dble Haul, OC, Eric and myself) decides it is the best story we will send you the fly, no questions asked. FlyTalk General Guidelines also apply. The winning story will also be featured on the Worldwide Flyfishing Discussion area for a month for everyone to enjoy. So, lets hear those steelhead stories. What do you have to lose?
Good luck and may the best story win.
P.S. The judges can submit stories but they are not eligible to win the contest.
God, Charlie, that's gorgeous!
10-31-2005, 08:49 PM
charlie this is not fair , last monthyou gave me purpe salmon fly that I spent A week trying to tiean $50. I went to the oAK Orchardand fished that purple fly and cought 6 salmon on my spey rod , thanks Charlie I hope some day I can tie that nice of a salmon fly
[I'll kick things off]
Return with us, if you will, to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when out of the past I was trying to become one of those hotshot steelhead guides on the Deschutes. This was back in the 70's, when it wasn't that hard of a trick to pull off.
I was in the habit of practicing on friends -- I'd take them fishing and experiment around with different camp set-ups, different coaching techniques, et cetera et cetera et cetera and try to get them into as many fish as possible..
On one of these trips I took an office colleague from my day job and her husband, a sometime angler, who really wanted to catch a steelhead in the worst way. Going with me was probably was the worst way, but that's only a matter for conjecture.
Betsy, my colleague, and Mike, her husband, and I were drifting down the river on our second day of fishing, heading for a camp site I hoped to get. As we floated along beside a long drift about a mile upstream from the desired spot, we noticed a man along the bank immersed above the waist in the water, obviously bathing. As we approached, he looked up, noticed us bearing down on him; then did a double take when he saw there was a woman in the boat. For some inexplicable reason, he exploded out of the water and sprinted full bore into the sage brush.
Seconds later, he burst out of the brush screaming, "Help! Snake!" and dove back into the water.
Betsy turned to Mike, gave him an appraising look, such as only a wife can give, and said, dryly, "Not much of a snake."
The drift was then immediately christened "Skinny Dipper."
11-01-2005, 08:02 AM
Well, here's mine from a not too distant Southeast Alaska Silver Salmon trip.
A short story on the Klawock River Steelhead....Each year I volunteer at one of the local Hatcheries in Southeast Alaska, helping count and separate Salmonids as they pass the weir and ladder into the lake with one of the fisheries biologists, Peter, who is a nativeTlingit (pronounced Kling-it for those who may not know) who works at the Hatchery. So he, also a flyfisher, tells me of his last December Steelheading trip to the mouth of the river and by standing on a boulder is sight fishing to spot one to cast to. He spies one, casts and hooks up and chases this big Native beauty for 25 minutes up and down the river and he and his fish are in and out of holes, riffles, pools, and splashing like a bear chasing a fish. Then at last he brings it to hand and has it. ....pause.......WOW! What a story, Peter, how big was it?, I ask. He holds out his hands ......waaaayyy far apart and says it measured 42 inches! JEEPERS! I almost fall over backwards, literally, recoiling from the impact of his statement and imagining the length and girth of such a beast!
WOW! Incredible!, I say.....Did you get a lot of pictures of it?
I hope you guys are sitting down now....
No......He says.........."I ATE IT!"
Inside......I just go ...."AUUUuuuggghhh!" "ohhhhh noooo" I'm dying on the inside at hearing that but outside.......well,....we both have a somewhat weird laugh together......
The culture ethic of the Natives is Catch and Eat versus C & R with thanks and respect.......but man .....the fact of not even a single photo was killing me. ... a 42 inch steelhead would be a lifetime fish; for me anyway. And perhaps after 25 minutes of hook up time, it would have not survived a release being too taxed, spent and fatigued from the fight. Who knows?
11-02-2005, 11:15 PM
OK, Todd, Retell your story-
11-04-2005, 10:08 AM
Well it happened a few years back, the late 80’s as I recall. Myself, Tony and his pal Russ where fishing the Salmon River in New York. It was our annual fall salmon/steelhead trip. That morning found us fishing the upper part of the river in the Fly Fishing Only Zone on an area called the Cemetery Pool. We had a decent morning catching a mixed bag of Chinook salmon and fresh run steelhead. By late morning though the fishing action slowed and the Cemetery Pool was getting a little crowded with competing anglers and my friend Tony was getting bored. It was that time that he decided to strike up a conversation with an angler who was next to him. The fellow, who Tony had recognized from prior trips to the Salmon River, was eager to listen. They both agreed that things had taken a turn for the worst and that it was maybe time to vacate the Cemetery Pool and seek out better action elsewhere. Others around the two anglers started to listen in on the conversation so as to glean any insight into a better venue of fly-fishing opportunity. At that point Tony said, you know maybe we should call it quits for the morning. A very historic event is going to take place downriver in the town of Pulaski and I would like to be there. The fellow angler looked over in curiosity and so did a few of the others. At this point I knew that Tony had masterfully tossed the “BAIT” and the “HOOK” was about to be set. He announced in a loud voice “The Pope (John Paul) is coming to downtown Pulaski” It was if a bomb had been dropped. Other fly-fisherman who heard the announcement stopped in mid cast. A silence fell over the crowd at the Cemetery Pool. Just at that exact moment the sound of a helicopter could be heard. Soon overhead it appeared. Tony looked up and said, “It’s the Pope’s helicopter” and “It’s going to land at the baseball field in Pulaski”. The crowd of attentive anglers looked stunned. The non-believers where now converted. Tony announced, “Well its time to go”. The three of us just reeled in our lines and headed for the car. As I looked back at the crowd of fly-fisherman some where actually packing up and leaving. One guy actually stopped us in the parking lot and asked us for directions to the baseball field. When he was gone I could not help but laugh out loud. I asked Tony why he had pulled this stunt, he laughed and said he was hungry and he wanted to go and have lunch. Oh yeah the helicopter was from the nearby Fort Drum Military Base. They flew over the area every morning while we where there. A coincidence, who knows but it was funny.
Hey guys some good stories so far. I know you all have one so give them to the betterment of the fly fishing world. Though I'm a judge I'll chine in with one. It's kind of a true story and is one of lucky days on the river and of friendship between two steelheaders I think.
Years ago fishing with a good friend on a river in Eastern Washington we set up on a run way before daylight in order to insure fish. It was a nice warm day for early November. As daylight came about I offered my friend first thru. He stepped in and I went a bit higher and just out of the run. On his first cast he was onto a fish and quickly landed it, just a 4 pounder or so. He like a good gentleman told me to fish through which I did. He set up again where I had been standing before his fish at the top of the run. I no sooner made my first cast and I hear fish on behind me. On his very next or second cast of the morning he hooks and lands his second fish. I was really happy for him and felt no anger in his triumph. I step back into the river again knowing this is going to be a day full of fish. My buddy he is still behind me up river and after a few cast he says once again fish on. Let me tell you this was starting to get troublesome to say the least as I had to step out of the water so he could play his fish. After he landed his fish he said that I should have the run all to myself and that he would go up above the run and watch. I fished through the run and not a fish. As I was walking out of the run he decided to make a cast just for the heck of it and in water that rarely hold a fish. I watch his cast and the swing of his waker till it gets to a rock in about 6 inches of water. Im thinking at least he missed this time whem bam I see his rod go down and a hooked fish. He lost that fish and we decided to move on to another run. In the car as we drove he was telling me about how great the run that we were going to was and that I could have it and he would fish water too shallow at this time of year to hold fish. We get there walk down the bank he points me in the right dirrection to a beautiful run and says go for it. By now I'm a bit suspect on his motives of pointing me in the right dirrection. But the guy is a great friend and has my good will in mind. I had not made 4 casts and I hear that all to familiar roar,"fish on". Yup he got another steelhead on and lands it. By now my ego has gone down the drain and I'm forcing everything, each cast is a disaster and I'm falling in the river often. I can see he is very embarressed about the day so far and I'm ready to hit the SOB. I continue to fish the run and he stops fishing entirely, I touch nothing but the trees behind me. He says to me ,"OK I have another great spot and You can fish it all to your self". Off we go and I start in, he sits up on the bank dirrecting me where the fish hold. Of course I'm thinking to myself this guy is telling me exactly where the fish are not. It was a long run so after 20 minutes my bud says he wants to fish again and will leave me for a walk down river to where he would like to try some new water. 45 minutes goes by, I have lost 3 flies and pulled the fly out two fish on the take. I was so mad I wanted to kill, why did I ever come all this way over here with this jerk. Heck he's my friend I was thinking to myself and I should be happy that it's been a great day for him. But then again the SOB is so competative in his fishing and he had this all planned out. But no he is too good of a friend to do that. I was going crazy I tell ya this friend has this all planed out I know it. As I was tieing on a new leader after finding the trees once again I look up and there he is standing not 30 feet from me with a shat eating grin and two hatchery steelhead 7 and 11 pounds and dead. His remark was, " Boy what a day eh! I've made a total of 32 cast I think so far this morning, its 0730 and I have caught at least what maybe 6 fish.
If this good friend had not done the driving over I would have left right there and then. Luckily he had some good single malt, we sat down and drank the whole thing. It didn't take long for me to forget the day and look forward to the next day fishing steelhead with that very same friend. :smokin:
[Here's another one]:
A while back, I was trying to learn how to Spey cast with a double-handed rod. This isn't a redundancy, since I was quite able to Spey cast, single as well as double, with a single-handed rod. Because of this, it was just plain aggravating not to be able to cast with the double hander. I tried and tried, but the line just made these huge loopy orbits in the air before collapsing fecklessly at my feet.
I kept at, probably reenforcing bad muscle memory-habits, but determined to get it right eventually. I even took at class from a well-known instructor at a well-known fly shop, to no avail.
During the course of my travails, I found myself on the banks of the Dean River, just downstream from the Totem Flyfishers home pool, fishing a small run not to far above the falls. I was finally getting the feel of the rod's loading, and was getting closer and closer to pushing out at least a fishing length of line. Finally it happened: the swing went well and the fly line shot out with some real momentum over the water. About the same time as the fly started to fish, a steelhead grabbed it and bolted downstream.
My only thought was, "Damn, now I'll never remember what I was doing when I made that cast."
11-04-2005, 11:32 PM
Like Yogi said, "It's Deja Vu all over again". :lildevl:
It was between seasons and a mid-week day off at a good summer run pool in Washington State maybe 15 or so years ago. I expected to run into few people, but was pleasantly surprised to see only one angler and his adorable young daugther who was playing happily in the summer green shore grass picking flowers and waving sticks like a fairy princess.
The angler was very serious, in fact a little gruff so I sat on a sun-bleached log to cool off from the long walk so as not to impose from the top of this same pool. As I got my tippet and 'the' fly set the angler approached the rapids at the end of the pool and I thought I would step in. What a day! Something wholesome about a dad and his child at the river; the girl seemed to be dancing in the idyllic scene while dad remained noticably gruff and dissatisfied with what appeared to be an apparent lack of good fortune. In fact as I started in, he snapped at his daughter over this and that and it seemed I was not helping by showing up.
Suddenly an absolutely ferocious thick-bodied summer run buck exploded from the fringe of the rapids along the last rocks of the tailout and the gentleman's rod bent deep and hard. I reeled up quickly as his bad mood had been so obvious, and I wanted no part of interference. I thought perhaps he would enjoy such a fine fish at a very rewarding moment in his pass through the pool but instead he began to bark orders at his innocent daughter to "Get the camera ready! Hurry slowpoke, get over here!". The girl's bliss suddenly snapped into a stumbling attempt to fumble out the camera while the shore stones gave way under her tiny feet, causing her steps (with her eyes in the rangefinder) to be awkward and dangerous. I was not pleased, being a father of three myself.
At first I crossed my arms and tried my best not to start barking myself - but then put the rod down and hustled toward them in case I could assist with the fish or perhaps save the girl's life if she fell in as I was starting to wonder if the man would drop the fish and rod fast enough to save her from the rapids.
Well the fish pulled into the seam creating a moment of calm where the girl finally got set up and poised for the big photo sequence, and the man stepped down the shore to close the gap, still barking orders to the girl. He didn't realize that his next step was onto a sharply angled clay rock, the kind folks in the Pacific Northwest have met once or twice I am sure - a saturated dull mustard colored greasy excuse of a rock that has put many of us on our hind cheeks over the years. In literally the blink of an eye the man slid sloppily into the deep channel losing his hat and submerging his face to the point that only his arms were out of the water rod raised and still bent! Perhaps from fear of this intrusion the big male steelhead rocketed from the seam in an epic leap directly in front of him pulling the line completely out of the water, rod tip to fish, angler submerged, in a suspended moment I will never, ever forget in all of my fishing days...
She got it! Dear God, there is such thing as poetic justice. She captured that very moment on film, and from what I could tell from her beaming grin and sparkling eyes she got all of it too. Incredible! I, this young cherub and the camera had burned in what could be the most remarkable moment in all of my fishing days when you think about how many aspects of life were in a single frame, a split second when a shutter flickered and the cosmos aligned.
The fish earned it's freedom and the furious man stormed from the drink, grabbing his daugther as if it were somehow her fault, yanking her down the trail as he cussed and fumed, water sloshing and spraying in all directions with jaws clenched. The girl turned back and gave me a glance that somehow told me she would be OK, as ladies are often resourceful and many have an uncanny ability to overcome even the most adversarial situations. She certainly seemed to have an angel on her shoulder.
Well, that was interesting. I smiled to myself, and got back to the serious business of finding a steelhead to take my fly, and I had no excuses with the pool entirely to myself albeit a bit riled up.
11-16-2005, 10:12 AM
Less than a week left in this contest sports fans and so far we have some good stories, man eats giant steelhead, Pope visits steelhead river, little snake story and a few other good ones. Only three of the stories are eligible to win the fly so your odds are still good. Get those stories in, I know some of you have some good ones! :smokin:
11-16-2005, 06:24 PM
I have a seriously funny one(actually two ,but one is definately on the unPC side and involves a spud-gun)
However it's an Atlantic fishing trip story.
S--- actually they're both kinda un-PC :eek:
Save your Atlantic story we will get there soon enough :cool:
Hey there has just got to be plenty of steelheaders with stories to tell. I know you all lie so just use your imagination on a good made up story, a perfect lie, hey where is Sparkie he has some real good stories!
11-16-2005, 11:38 PM
A True(?) Story:
I got hooked by my first steelhead in February 1981. Since that time steelhead have become very important to me, since my pursuit of them contributed greatly to my environmental education. I transformed from an "America's business is business" die-hard money-grubber to a working energy conservationist trying to stop the waste of our natural resources by those trying to make a fast buck.
I got hooked by my wife, Carol, in October 1989. After that, I had gone nearly two years without catching another steelhead. You can imagine my concern when I realized that these two very special parts of my life seemed to be in conflict. Was being married to my lovely wife a jinx? With my 2-year anniversary fast approaching, I faced the problem head-on.
We left on Thursday night, October 10th, for 3 days on the lower Deschutes between Beavertail and Mack's Canyon. My first trip to the Deschutes was a week in 1988 during which I hooked many steelhead, and landed fish to 11 pounds, despite no prior knowledge of the river. I was confident that returning there would disprove any jinx. Wrong! No fish were hooked on Friday. Saturday, just after the sun covered the water, my rod tip was yanked violently toward the riffly chop. Dilemma solved? No! I proved Newton's theory that "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" by yanking back just as hard, and I awarded some fish a recently-tied McLeod Ugly. A short time later, another fish took strongly, I ignored him, and the battle was on. Five fish-sulking minutes later the battle was over but the jinx was not—the fly just came loose.
I was dismayed, but being a cunning individual, I plotted to give the fish one more chance to prove my wife was not a jinx. I told Carol that we would celebrate our anniversary by going out to dinner at the inn where we had honeymooned. She was quite pleased, because the food there is excellent, and the scenery spectacular. I'm also sure she knew I had an ulterior motive—we were returning to Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua River.
We had dinner at Steamboat Friday night, October 18th, and enjoyed the company at our table. I was pleased to learn of a couple good locations on the upper river, where solitude is the norm, rather than the dense population of anglers normally found around the "Camp Water". We found a campsite downriver, and I readied my tackle for the next day.
Come Saturday morning, I went away alone to look for fish. After spying a few silver flashes, I returned to camp for breakfast. We then went down to the river together, Carol to gather streamside treasures, and I to gather in-stream treasures. Of course, Carol gathered much more than I—no fish were hooked.
We started driving up the river to visit Crater Lake National Park. I stopped at the Mott Bridge to see what we could see. What we saw was several steelhead, and, amazingly, no fishermen! Carol watched from the bridge while I tried various patterns over and beside the fish. An improvement in my "back-mend" was all that resulted from my efforts. Carol confirmed that the steelhead showed absolutely no interest in any pattern or presentation. I was starting to lose hope. We proceeded to Crater Lake, toured the rim and stopped at the information center, then went to camp at Diamond Lake.
I awoke the next morning with a grim realization: there was only one more day before Carol's two-year probation period (of which she was, of course, unaware) would be over. Carol wished to visit Toketee Falls, so we stopped there on our way back downriver. After mumbling about my concern with leaving the camper at the trailhead, I hurried Carol through the short hike, and then it was back down to steelhead water. After a brief stop at an overlook to search for fish, we arrived at a special place where Carol had hooked a fish on our honeymoon, and a relative had painted a picture of the site in commemoration.
I grabbed my rod and reel, vest, and trusty camouflage hat. At the last second, superstition got the best of me, and I looked for a different hat. Under my straw hat I found it—my lucky Irish green cap. It had been forgotten since releasing that big rainbow on the Gunnison in early September. "Ah, this is just what I need to change my luck." Well, the rest is anti-climactic; you can guess what happened. We walked 10 minutes down the trail. Looking at the water, I suddenly stopped short. "Wait", I said, "I think I should start here", as I looked at a particularly sexy arrangement of current and rocks.
Careful wading put me into position, and not 5 minutes later the reel started spinning. Cautiously, pleasantly, I played the fish while working downstream. The classic Umpqua summer steelhead was carefully released and I turned to Carol. "Your probation's over," I said. "I can catch steelhead as a married man, so you're off the hook—YOU won't be released." Carol's shock at the existence of the heretofore unknown probation period quickly turned to relief, and then she insisted that it was her turn to fish. I shared my rod with her (you boys and girls—I'm still talking about fish!), and we waded downstream together.
11-18-2005, 10:16 PM
Several years ago I headed out to Seattle to visit my brother and my niece, and while I was in the area I decided to do a bit of fishing. I was new to steelhead fishing and I didn't really know what to expect. My brother knew somebody with a drift boat we could borrow, so we parked one car well downriver, drove up a ways in his buddy's car and trailer, and dropped the boat into river. The river was pretty high from some recent rainfall and my brother thought the fishing might not be great, but when given the choice to fish or not to fish, you can guess what I did!
We drifted downriver for a couple of hours and I hadn't seen a fish on my line yet, though my brother had gotten two small steelhead. This being my first steelhead trip, I guess my technique wasn't quite there yet, and the high river probably wasn't helping. We were getting close to the car and I was getting kind of bummed that I hadn't added steelhead to my species caught list when my line went taut and my reel started pulling off line slowly but steadily. I tried to apply a little pressure, but the fish wasn't having any of it and we continued to drift downstream. My brother paddled the boat towards the fish, which was close to a big undercut bank in a bend, so we could try and gain some line on it, but I was still getting nowhere. Thankfully my brother is in good shape so he was holding the boat in the current ok, but it wasn't easy! I started making a little headway and the fish was coming up to the surface slowly but surely. A minute later a big black object popped out of the water where my fish should have been, and a diver popped up his mask and gave me a very irritated look while he held my line in his hand!
Apparently the high rainfall had caused some serious flooding a little ways upstream and a couple trying to cross a flooded bridge the night before in their car had been washed into the river. My catch for the day was one very annoyed, very large, Washington State Police diver who had been searching the undercut. My hook went right through his wetsuit and got him in the butt (great hook placement, huh?). When I took a minute to look around I found a Zodiac coming downstream from where it had been beached on the bank a little ways upstream from me. When we originally passed it I thought it was just somebody out in their boat on the river who had stopped to relieve themselves or something like that.
To this day whenever I hook into a big fish I always look around for a diver's flag or a diving boat. :D
11-21-2005, 03:43 PM
Excellent story, Teflon! :chuckle:
11-23-2005, 07:32 AM
Well sports fans, The November Fly of the month contest is officially over and we got some great stories. The judging has started and we will let you all know in a few days who the winner is.
Also, keep your eyes open for the December Fly of the month contest.
11-28-2005, 02:09 PM
Well sports fans! The judges have debated for a few days now and even though we had a hard time picking one, we have a winner. Teflon jones and his fantastic story about hooking a cop in the butt on a steelhead fishing trip took the top spot. Great story Teflon, PM me with your snail mail and I will send you your fly.
And congrats and thanks to the rest of you who submitted stories. They were all great and deserve something. Wish I had time to tie all of you a fly.
Also, keep your eyes peeled. We will be announcing the December Fly of the month contest in a few days.