Steelhead Redemption

Last night I fished a short section of ┬áthe “town run” on the Willamette near Eugene. We knew the water was high but had seen the Willamette Falls fish passage counts and new there had to be a fish around. After basically giving up on one of the last tailouts of the evening I hooked up. At first I thought it was a snag and then, the tell tail head shake. We got the fish all the way to the boat and in my mind had him on the BBQ for todays lunch, big mistake. Just as Matt reached out to net the fish out comes the hook, mother————.

Today I had guests down from Vancouver and fished trout from Belinger to Armitage on the lower Mckenzie. Mid morning Dave hooks up in a classic depth change drop off, we both thought it was a trout for about 15 seconds. That presumption ended quickly when we got a look at the gorgeous hen steelhead shown below. After wrestling with the fish for about 25 minutes amidst heavy currents snags and sunken debris we finally landed her. On a five weight Sage ZXL and Bauer Rogue 2 no less.

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This one will make it to the BBQ. The steelhead are in big time on both rivers. Use heavily weight steelhead flies on sink tips, bigger and brighter than normal with the high water. CD

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