22lb Steelhead Yesterday, but a shameful catch... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: 22lb Steelhead Yesterday, but a shameful catch...

02-19-2006, 05:08 PM
Yesterday me and the wife went out to do some fishing on the upper Skagit river. She is afraid of fly fishing (hooks in the face) so I was instructing her on drift fishing and spoons. We went the whole day with no Steelhead to show for it. On the way home I decided to try a little local stream with my fly rod. I pull over and realize I didn't have it in the truck! I left it at home so nobody would break in and I forgot all about it. I was bummed but I decided to fish either way and I tied on a side-planer and a plug. I passed through the Honey-Zone and immediately my side planer disappeared along with quite a bit of line. After a nice long battle and a wonderful aerial display, I tailed the fish and got a few pictures as well as measurements and released him promptly.

40.5" long with a girth just over 20". Puts it quite close to 22lb.

Although this was my biggest steelhead to date and I should be happy, and I was sort of, I also had that feeling in my chest like I just lost a fish. Knowing that this aggressive buck would have most likely struck a well presented fly and knowing that this was the only day I didn't have my fly rod in my truck really hurts. I will never leave home without my fly rod again. :frown:


This morning I went back to the same hole with fly rod in hand and a blue fly attached. First swing and I had a hard take followed by a chrome steelhead breaking the surface. The battle ended short with the steelhead wrapping me on a submerged log. However I walked away smiling. I felt I accomplished something. I walked away smiling a little bigger this time, having learned something new, and a bigger appreciation for Steelhead on the fly.

02-19-2006, 08:14 PM
I think we all know the feeling, and it's a big reason we all fly fish. :)

The link isn't working btw...

02-21-2006, 07:47 PM
I have no way to upload pics I guess. Is there anybody that can put an image up if I email it to them?

02-21-2006, 07:52 PM
Nevermind! Here is the image


Full Sized Image Here:

02-21-2006, 08:29 PM
WOW, nice fish!

02-21-2006, 09:51 PM
and not supposed to be out of the water.

02-21-2006, 10:12 PM
I can't believe how big a fish you get out of that little stream.

02-21-2006, 10:35 PM
It's against the law to hold Washington wild steelhead out of the water like that! That's too nice of a fish to be holding that far up the bank and that far out of the water. Your damn shoes are dry so we know what that fish went thru to get into your hands :mad: :mad:

02-21-2006, 10:54 PM
I'll bet that isn't a net mark on it's shoulder either, too fresh :tsk_tsk:

Heck of a fish, but with all due respect it deserves better treatment than that. The most important thing is that its genes perpetuate the species.


That fish has swum as far as 7,000 miles since it wiggled from the gravel in that stream or one near it, sometimes as far as the Aleutians dodging sea lions, orcas, defying all odds to return successfully as the ultimate alpha trout - the wild steelhead trout. It finds it's own natal stream with the irrepressable urge to ensure that the mind-boggling concept of wild steelhead does not vanish from earth.

In my opinion we walk a fine line when we interact with this phenomenon - by catch and release angling we understand and learn to love and protect them. Yet it takes a very high level of care to ensure that this passion does not cross the line and harm them.

Hence the law that they must remain in the water. Sparky's Law Rules.

02-21-2006, 11:07 PM
Juro, I'd probably have a hard time fishing for those fish considering what they've been through. I feel bad enough catching wild trout that never go further than a few hundred feet from where they're born.

I didn't realize they had such stringent laws for handling those fish. The OP should be more aware of those laws and respect them more. :(

02-22-2006, 01:17 AM
ive caught too many fish with similiar marks on them to accuse our soon to be enlightened fellow of overly poor fish handling. however, given the picture and such, it looks as the though the fish could of been handled with alot more care than he was.

i wont delete the photo as i am sure steelheadkid's enthuisiasm got ahead of him (ive been there) but hopefully this will be a lesson learned for steelheadkid that proper handling of our wonderful wild fish is not only the right thing to do but it is also the law.

02-22-2006, 05:45 AM
I see no signs of mishandling. Only a big smile, a nice fish with some marks and the usual tacky 'hero shot'.

This sounds to be another un-enforceable law coming from the best of intentions to me. Probably the the best that will come about from it is awareness. Education is truly the key with this. Most folks want to do the right thing and the vermin do what they want regardless of the consequences.

The boots are indeed dry, but that's just not evidence of any mistreatment.

Congratulations kid. You no doubt enjoyed it as you should have (if you took good care of the fish.)

02-22-2006, 09:02 AM
the fish looks in good shape for what has occured. this is a fly fishing board and I don't see any fly rods around. perhaps this pictured should have been posted on a board like that game fishing one. not that i am a purist but i do believe the site should stick to fly fishing and not gear fishing.

nice fish kid. bet he was fun to catch.

02-22-2006, 10:09 AM
Agree with Sparkey and Pescaphile. We were all this way at one time when catching steelhead. Let's give the kid a chance as his enthuisiasm is good. We are going to need more young people to step up in the art of fly fishing for steelhead. And remember it's the art of fly fishing for steelhead that most of us love so much. I think from looking at the picture and what the kid has said on this board that he will be one of the few who eventually carries on the art of traditional steelhead flyfishing. We need more Sparkey's and steelheadkids.

Nice fish kid and eventually we hope you see it's the challenge on how you hook such a beautifull creature that matters.

02-22-2006, 06:44 PM
OK, My issues with the pic, great fish nuf said.

One-- He is breaking the law
Two-- How do you land that fish and not get you boots damp?

Nice to see fish like that still in the gene pool and glad your wife got to see you land the fish.

flame away

02-22-2006, 06:50 PM
I don't understand why everbody is assuming that I was mishandling this fish. That scar on the fish was not from me, most likely a sea lion. Yes I did take the fish out of the water, and I know most of you if not all have done it. I respect steelhead more than my fellow man. The fish was not dragged on the beach. I reached into the water and tailed the fish which was still upright in about a foot of water. I grabbed it with both hands before removing it from the water to insure I did not inflict spinal injury.

My wife had the camera in her hands ready to shoot before the fish was even landed. Two photos were snapped, and the fish went back into the water before the hook was removed. I removed the hook while it was in the water. I didn't even need to run water through it's gills, it shot off like a rocket before I even had a chance to. The fish was never laid down in the rocks/gravel.

Please don't lecture me on the safe handling of fish that I plan to release unless you witnessed me do something unsafe. I understand your concern for removing the fish out of the water and I am fully aware that it is against the law. Adrenaline got a hold of me and I wanted a quality picture of this possibly once in a lifetime fish.

The whole point of the post wasn't to show off the fish as much as to have a picture to go with the story I was telling about "The one I should have had on a fly..."

02-22-2006, 10:16 PM
I am sorry to assume the injury was related, the mind puts two and two together and makes three sometimes.

However, breaking the law puts you in a tough spot to defend so hopefully next time (and it seems you are a lucky one!) show us a beautiful shot of the fish with it's eye turned down and fins flared beneath the shimmer of the water and you'll see how we all swoon over it.

I guarantee I will!

02-23-2006, 02:42 AM
I removed the hook while it was in the water. I didn't even need to run water through it's gills, it shot off like a rocket before I even had a chance to. The fish was never laid down in the rocks/gravel.

So, err, how/when did you get such accurate measurements?:lildevl:

I wouldn't get too upset over the razzing you are getting here but you do have it coming to you, for sure.;)

Also, do yourself a favor a throw that bait chucker in the trash to avoid any temptation to ever use it again.:D

02-23-2006, 09:02 AM
Griz hit the nail on the head. Nice fish by any means.