Is Steelhead Fishing Passe? - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 10-01-2003, 02:04 AM
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Is Steelhead Fishing Passe?

Maybe passe is not the best word to use but the dictionary does describe passe as "Past the prime; faded or aged."

Anyways, Dec Hogan is in the process of putting together a new book on steelhead flyfishing. I've always enjoyed Dec's writing style and what he has has to say so I will definately purchase a copy. Our old freind Tom Pero (publisher of Dec's new book under the label Wild River Press) contends that Dec's new book will be, and I quote, "a book which, if not the final word on the subject, promises to be an instant classic."

Am I not mistaken or is Pero claiming that the steelheading legacy has been formed and will not be added to? Could he also be claiming there are to be no more great techniques, flies, fishermen and rivers to be discovered? Or could Pero's massive ego just be showing through in the fact that he would love to be the one to have published the 'final word on the subject.'?

So has everything that was going to be discovered been discovered? Are we left with well...the leftovers?

...and please dont bring up Spey rods. I love them as much as the next guy and have for many years BUT it seems to me that to many, steelheading fishing is more about casting two-handed rods then chasing after steelhead (and our sport...steelhead flyfishing...could be suffering because of it).
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2003, 02:18 AM
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Talking Yup, I agree

Don't let it go to your head Ryan. :hehe:

I've been a lifelong steelheader. Flyfishing and gear. There is nothing that hasn't changed. Heck, Trey Comb's book has been refined many a times over the years. It's still a classic that will help anyone, but some things are a bit dated. Seasons change, fish change, techniques change. Eventually, something will come along that will spark new interest, or new techs. The day you say you have it all figured out, the playing field changes.

I feel, once you say you have it all figured out, you really don't. You can have an idea. But next thing you know somebody has a wonderfly/tech that really works THAT season. Next season comes and it's something different. Eventually, I feel there will be a change in all aspects. I'm hoping there will be the day they develop a rod with the weight of the high tech graphites, but the strength of the old glass rods of yesteryear. That will be the next step. Hopefully in my lifetime.

I just don't want to see this as a "fad". Too many jump into flyfishing for steelhead because it's "majestic" or "the in thing to do". It has to be a passion. Something that carries on both sides of the coin, whether you're a gear or a fly guy. You have to love the sport. So hopefully more get into the whole aspect of fishing, not WHAT they think the sport should be.

I'm looking forward to the book. I'll buy it. Add it to my collection of books. Funny to see how some of my books from the 1930's talk about salmon/sea run trout (steelhead) and techs to catch them. Vary differently to what you read today. Would love to see what will be in the stores as the "best book on steelheading" 30 years from now.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2003, 08:35 AM
BobK BobK is offline
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I agree....

Yup, Steelheader is right. No more "new" techniques??? Well, you west coast guys should come to the Great Lakes - and vice-versa.
You would swear you weren't even fishing for the same basic fish.

And the remarks about it being past prime - that remark has about as much sense as this: Congress wanted to do away with the patent office right after the Civil War. Seems like it was felt that everything worth while had been invented, so why bother with a patent office???

Any time someone pronounces "The End" for something, that's when our minds really become fertile. It's fun to be a traditionalist, but there are always ideas that no one ever thought of, and many are so simple, we slap our heads at being so dumb.

BobK :hehe:
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:15 AM
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Ryan, great thread and it is sure to bring out many different responses.

Steelheader 69 put it wisely when he said it's in the passion. Passion will never be a completed subject and with each and every individual that passion is a new and entirely different subject.

Honestly what is a steelhead? It is a trout that goes to the ocean and comes back to the river. In doing so it never has the opportunity to know its home river and become conditioned to survive in the ways a resident trout would. The steelhead simply finds that magical formular within itself to live the moment, to live now.

If one fishes for steelhead for the difficulty in techniqes be it gear or fly then, well I won't say what I'd like. The basics of steelhead fishing is about as easy as it gets, read water, cast, make the right mend for that place in the run and hope you get lucky that your fly comes face to face with a rare fish that rarely feeds in rivers and that is agressive and territorially only at times. The steelhead is a primative fish and that is what makes the few that remain so hard to catch.

So that brings me to Ryan's question about pass'e the last word.
Dec, Pero, Combs and whoever writes a book on how to the proper techniques and all are writting about the exact same things we figured out on our own years ago. Ya they add a few little sub plots here and there. To read their books will be like reading Field & Stream, great title, same story as last edition just a few words changed. It is these folks mentioned above who strive for fame first and the most important, who homogenize each individual watershed into one with multitudes of robots all fishing as their god said to in his book. For many of us out there it is not the crowds who fish that is disturbing but the multitudes of robots sucked into fly fishing. There is little individualality left, there is very little tribal localisim left thanks to egocentric idiots who must put commercialisim first and their 5 not even 15 minutes of fame first over the real beauty of steelheading, passion and exploration.
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:59 AM
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Interesting topic Ryan.

Last word huh? Last I heard, Dec was giving up guiding and moving to Utah. Pero publishing it huh? My guess is it can't help but be great. I can't wait to read it. The pictures should be uh, creative, and the chapter on techniques for fishing below other anglers I'm sure an instant classic. This might be just the thing to move the sport to the next level.
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:21 AM
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Bring on the Flygirls!

Whatever else you can say about TP, he likes his HotPants. :hehe:

Maybe we'll get a chapter on the Dec-ettes (Skagit's Flyfishing Cheerleaders) to spice it up a bit??

Last word? More like the last buck ($). When I asked Dec about the sudden increase in interest in Steelhead flyfishing (and corresponding increase in guiding rates) several years ago, he responded with a grin "Ya Gotta Make Hay while the Sun's Shining"!

Since he's moving to Salt Lake, I can only assume that (1) the Sun quit shining or (2) the Hay left a bad taste in somebody's mouth.

Still, I'll probably buy the book. Dec's a good writer and photographer and I'm sure he'll have some interesting things to say. And he's definitely lived Steelhead Flyfishing.

My .02,

DS
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:55 AM
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Just an opinion...

Steelhead popularity declining??? Probably. Kids have too much interests in other sports, computers, etc.

Hell, I'm not complaining - the rivers are too crowded anyway. But now, you see more and more boats, PWCs, kayaks, canoes, etc. - and MANY of 'em are NOT being used by fishermen.

The rod and gear companies are not having a good year from what I hear - is that because of the recession, or "other" factors, for example, no new blood entering the sport?

I heard one prominent figure say that we need another Hollywood "River Runs Through It". yeah. right.

But it's something to think about. Hell, once I mentioned to some folks that I fished and hunted. I was looked at like a monster, and heard as a reply, "Oh, we don't DO blood sports where we're from!"
Whoop - e - do! Look out, guys - lots of PETA people out there!

BobK
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Old 10-01-2003, 06:05 PM
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Each stone turned reveals yet another stone needing to be turned... which one of you hardcores is going to figure out the Whidbey steelhead fishery on a fly?
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Old 10-01-2003, 06:17 PM
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From what I've experienced and read of Dec, I'm sure the book will be entertaining and informative.

but "instant classic" ?? Isn't that in the same category as "jumbo shrimp" ??
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Old 10-01-2003, 06:49 PM
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Loco_alto,

That was my point exactly.

sinktip
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Old 10-01-2003, 08:31 PM
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Talking Loving this thread .. Gad, you guys get..

salty when poked with a blunt stick.

I think I'll wait for Trey's new book ... like I should get so lucky. Interesting how these 'new' how to books keep popping up; most of them are a complete re-hash of old news.

Or am I the one whose getting 'salty' now?
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:18 PM
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Let us not forgot that Pero not too many years ago wrote that spey rods and lines had reached the epitome of design. Now he is going to publish an instant classic on steelhead fly fishing that just may be the last word on the subject. Hmmmm...... He certainly has an ego.

I also wonder how many steelhead Dec is finding in Salt Lake City. Interestingly, Dec was taught a lot by some of the old hands like Bob Arnold, Alec Jackson, Walt Johnson, etc.; but I don't recall seeing him acknowledge this in his writings. Unlike Trey Combs who gives a lot of credit in his writings to those he learned from.

Sinktip,

The chapter on how to begin fishing right below other fisherman should be a classic and required reading for all! It has always been a wonderful experience to be low-holed by Dec so I could see the master at work with his clients. Yes, this is an experience every fly fishing steelheader needs to experience, since it provides such a wonderful opportunity to see how a master guide can get fish to the beach.
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
The chapter on how to begin fishing right below other fisherman should be a classic and required reading for all! It has always been a wonderful experience to be low-holed by Dec so I could see the master at work with his clients. Yes, this is an experience every fly fishing steelheader needs to experience, since it provides such a wonderful opportunity to see how a master guide can get fish to the beach.
Am I going to have to change rule number 2 on my paper sacks?
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by flytyer

The chapter on how to begin fishing right below other fisherman should be a classic and required reading for all! It has always been a wonderful experience to be low-holed by Dec so I could see the master at work with his clients. Yes, this is an experience every fly fishing steelheader needs to experience, since it provides such a wonderful opportunity to see how a master guide can get fish to the beach.
I have a chapter title for that one" There's no hole like a Low Hole :hehe:
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:58 PM
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I gotta chime in on Dec... every encounter I've had with him on the river has been enlightening, educational or entertaining. He's taken time to come talk or show me a "fish trap" I didn't see while his clients were busy frothing the water. Even let me throw my pontoon boat into his drift boat and gave me a lift in that old suburban. That saved me from having to thumb back up Ben Howard Rd on a day when no one was left in the lot. He genuinely enjoys the river and it's steelhead, even when it's someone else's fish. I know we're all kidding around but Dec's pretty cool by me. I heard rumor he's in Salt Lake because of a broken heart, and a man with that much passion for life's gotta break pretty hard, I know I fall hard in that department when I fall.

.02
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