Can't tell you how great it was to meet the coolest gang of steelhead schnauzers in the beauty of the pacific northwest. We fished the Skykomish, Hoh, Sol Duc (briefly), Sauk and Skagit. We saw eagles, deer, otter, beaver, snow capped mountains and giant coniferous trees... hell I even got a tan! A racoon tan that is.
Winter steelhead on a fly is the Holy Grail of flyfishing to many. It certainly earns that in terms of difficulty. Despite being a non-trivial pursuit, it pays the suitor in sprawling vistas and the sweet scents of cottonwoods in the eager spring air, with water temps flirting in the high 40's and the promise of the ultimate prize in every good seam. I got real lucky and hit one on the Skagit. Although it never came to the camera the sensation of a bursting silver missle that can't be stopped with a 15 foot 10wt Spey rod, the rat-tat-tat of the handle against my hand as the surging fish ripped the currents apart, the prismatic silver flashes in the glacially tinted pool, all this and more - will never leave my memory.
Since leaving Washington State, I've never returned without at least hooking a steelhead and was glad to be able to continue that trend on this visit under what may have been the hardest circumstances of all my return visits. The region means a lot to me and I've spent perhaps the most meaningful part my life there. It always welcomes me like a steward of my soul and I'll always love the pacific northwest as deeply as any man can. Of course a photo like Duggan's or Andre's or the ones to come from other members who get to stay there would have been tops, but it was truly my priviledge to be there over the last few days and burn the sights I've seen into my mind with the best group of steelheaders and friends imaginable.
I'm putting together a full story with lots of pictures when they come back form developing. Got in at 2am after a delayed flight last night, hope to get them by tomorrow though. I hope they come close to reflecting what lay on the other side of the lens.
Nice report. I know you can handle the vicarious thrill of having a friend hook up and still share the triumph as you capture the moment on film or file. For now, most of us have to experience the PNW even one more step removed but I know you haven't come back empty handed. Fess up.