This is the first year that I have really tried to go out and find a Steelhead here in Oregon—I mean REALLY try to find one. I have made half assed attempts in previous years, but this year I really went for it. Day after day watching river levels and driving out an hour before the sun came up to stand in a line up of bait casting guys. I hit up the N. Fork of the Nehalem several times and hiked large parts of the river scouting for fish. Several times there were fish right near my feet but I still could not get them to bite.
Now we are into March and the wild Steelhead are in several of the coastal rivers so I got Alex to go with me to try and find some. After hiking a good distance up the washed out railroad tracks of a river near the Nehalem I found a great hole right behind a bend in the river (see photo above). I cast through it several times and nothing. I added two large split shot to get my flies down and on the first cast my 9 weight rod buckled over on itself. I have pulled some large salmon in before on this rod but I have never felt anything like this. I got to see the beautiful fish come to the surface several times as I held on for dear life. There was no stopping this fish from doing whatever it wanted. After thirty seconds (which felt like forever) the fish broke my line and I was left breathless.
I learned a lot from that one time about what I should do next time I get into a monster like that one. I hope to find one again soon. Thanks for the good time fish!
Here is a photo Alex shot of me with the fish on:
And a photo of Alex:
Scouting for fish from the high ground:
(Thanks for the photos Alex)