A steelhead virgin no more

Published on April 1st, 2011 by Rodney

We originally had planned to take advantage of last week’s spring by going to Kawkawa Lake for some kokanee fishing with Mark, who is a teacher. That plan fell apart for Nina and I after discovering some water in the rear floatation compartment of our boat the weekend before while prepping for the trip. The boat is now being drained and dried so it can be ready for the interior lake season in a couple of months from now.

I was pretty excited about kokanee fishing. I had even bought new #6 hooks that I wanted to try out. The backup plan was not so bad I guess, we went steelhead fishing instead. Shane had the day off too so the four of us decided to give the Vedder a shot, but we couldn’t agree on when to go. Mark prefers to go first thing in the morning, while I have become an afternoon starter. My reasons are that I’ve always caught my fish in the afternoon, even when starting at first light. Mornings tend to be windy (and cold), especially in the lower stretch of the river. I also find mornings much busier than afternoons. It seems like most anglers usually disperse and leave by early afternoon. In the end, Mark decided to go solo and was MIA all day while the other late starters met up at 1:30pm.

It couldn’t have been a better winter steelhead day even before we wetted our lines. The sun was out and the fingers were actually not frozen. Spring was in the air and that definitely lifts up the spirit. The river was pretty busy for a weekday, most likely due to the weather. Finding a vacant spot was not a challenge really. We actually had a few runs to choose from right away. I decided to leave my rod at home while only bringing a baitcasting setup for Nina. She hadn’t caught a steelhead yet so I wanted to do some photo and video shoots while giving her all the opportunities at every spot.

The run that we tried was pretty, a long stretch with moderate flow and fair amount of cover. Nina and Shane worked through the run as I played with my camera for about an hour. Nobody was home. By 4:00pm, the afternoon sun made everyone like a bear just coming out of hibernation. Nina decided to take a nap on the bank while Shane took his time to tie up after playing hookie with a log jam. I decided to give it a shot. I worked through the same run once with no success and gave it another go from the top. This time the float dipped quickly but as usual I was asleep at the wheel. It was definitely a fish. I made a few more casts to see if it would come back but there was no response. By that time Nina was already woken up by the commotion so I gave the rod back to her and told her where to cast. I grabbed the camera and wanted to film some ducks nearby. As I walked by her with the camera, she pulled the rod back and screamed, “Fish on!”

The kicks in the rod was a welcoming sight. “That was my fish!”, I said. Nina played it pretty cautiously and after a few minutes, a silvery spotty doe was guided into Itosh’s hands. It was a hatchery marked fish, around 7 or 8lb, not bad for her first steelhead ever after two outings.

Not wanting to be outfished by a girl, Shane and I quickly got back to fishing. Time was running out as the shadows of trees from behind us started creeping onto the water. This was also not a bad thing of course, fish usually start getting more active when this happens. We decided to try another run just downstream from us for awhile. Once we arrived, Shane made two casts before he set the hook hard. This fish must have been surprised, because it put on an acrobatic show immediately, but only for about ten seconds before he felt the dreadful pop.

As dusk approached, we worked our way back to the cars. It was a pretty nice evening despite of a lack of fish for some. Shane and I never had another bite before we left. In the end, I was so desperate for a bite that I convinced myself (and tried to convince others) that I had a bite when a branch took my float down twice.

You can watch Nina’s catch in the video below. Because it is in Danish, please click on the “CC” button to receive caption in the video.

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