The prime time for the steelheader with a fly rod! I've got the jones bad.
Despite being located on the other coast of the nation now, the cooling nights and shorter days have me thinking about giant fall caddis and greaselining low water flies and wakers for steelhead in the great western streams.
So much so that I have forfeited several great days of striper fishing just to cast, cast, cast away the day with my Spey rods and nothing more than a puff of yarn on the tippet.
At first I was satisfied with the neigborhood river, a sluggish frog pond of a thing. Soon I wanted the rush of the current so would drive well over an hour just to find a place to cast where the water resembled a "real" river wide enough to test the 10wt 15 ftr (not an easy feat in the northeast shy of the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers). The discarded tires and concrete scenery was a little disturbing, but once into it nothing mattered but the little revelations that a whole day of fine tuning can bring.
The good thing about casting and not fishing is that I really think about what I am doing. The gentle raise of the rod to break tension, the dipping sweep and lifting kick; just a kiss of the grip and stroke from the firing position and the line sings out. When all goes right the grip touches down at the exact instant the D loop comes 'round and with nothing more than a very focused pump of the rod the line propells forward in a tight wedge over the target. It's kinda freaky, but I enjoy it as much as fishing itself sometimes.
Today, Domenic and I parked in a dubious area, dodged main route traffic and climbed down into a concrete canyon beneath towering smokestack trees to find the rush of water we needed to feel the swing of the line from both left and right banks.
Domenic is headed to the Skeena in two weeks, I am planning something on the far side of the cascades probably in October. For several hours, I "fished" the hookless yarn bug. I helped Domenic tweak out a couple of D loop drop-doldrums and he worked his way up to a great cast by the end of the day.
I cast left handed almost the entire time while helping Domenic (who is a lefty) and felt very comfortable with everything but the left handed reverse snake roll; got a few off ok. On right bank the snake roll felt real good from the right side, and with a lot of work over the last few weeks my single spey is getting pretty clean (thanks to Simon's coaching at the Sandy Clave this spring).
Anyway, didn't mean to ramble on... but you don't have to be living in steelhead country to feel the call. I will be there soon, and I will be ready.