Your "Introduction to Steelhead 101" was much more pleasant than mine. I went "swimming" in the PM TWICE in the same frigid March day (below the Whirlpool and again below Doc Winery's)! Fortunately, our club outing (Red Cedar Fly Fishers of the FFF) was being held at Barothy's and they had industrial-strength dryers or I might STILL be soaking wet!!
Yes, going back and forth from the headwaters of the Manistee to the flats of the Gulf of Mexico takes a bit of adjusting (both ways). But, the fishing's fine, each in its own way. Where we live in MI the Manistee is a spring creek mostly populated with beautiful wild brookies. The browns don't "take over" until we go about five miles downstream, near Cameron Bridge. We live in the Deward Management Area--the last place that was logged out after the turn of the century. We have so many hundred-year old stumps that it looks like the graveyard that it is.
Florida's a bit chilly, but the fishing's been pretty good all things considered.