Daylight Savings Time is back, and sunrise is coming in at an ungodly 5:50am. Factoring in the time it takes to drive to the closest fishing hole, get dressed, feed the cats, brew coffee, and load all my gear, I’ve got to be up and awake at 5:00am to even think about making it to the river at sunrise! Well, I had every intention of getting there at sunrise this morning, but when my alarm clock went off, I quickly and deftly hit the snooze button–maybe even twice–and then stumbled groggily around, fed the cats and waited for the coffee to brew.
Despite my diligence, I arrived at my fishing hole a good 15 minutes after sunrise, but to my surprise, I had the whole place to myself! Close enough, right? I saw a few boats side drifting through my spot as I walked down there, but when I reached water’s edge, it was all mine. James should have been coming down any time now, so I set some of my gear down to save him a spot, and moved upstream about 30 yards to start fishing and work my way back down. As I drifted my “Clark Special” yarnie through some slow water, I felt a small fish just barely tap my hook, but I set the hook on it anyway, and to my surprise, there was a steelhead on the end! I fought the fish for a few minutes until he was tired enough to start pulling in, but because of a few bank mishaps this year (James, Clark and I have all had a few disasters) and also Clark getting into my head about the 8 pound leader possibly being a little too light, I let the fish get two extra bonus runs to wear it out. I saw that it was a hatchery fish and was going to get bonked, so I was ok to stretch this one out! Two bonus runs later, I had a nice summer steelhead on the bank!
So, I called James and told him to “get down here!”, and he reported he would be down in 20 minutes, so I turned and went back to fishing. Suddenly, not two minutes later, the guy fishing across the way hooked up and fought a nice fish, too! I called James back and he updated his ETA to be 10 minutes!
The Summer Steelhead appear to be on their way upriver in force! In addition to my summer steelhead buck, we saw 3 other fish jump, and I hooked up a second time, but this time, the fish got my lead hung up and the steelhead got leverage enough to pull off. A fisherman downstream from me where the fish was hooked up said “oh man, that was a nice one!!”
Here’s a close up. I think this fish was probably in the 10 to 12 pound range. I tossed a few fillets on the barbecue tonight and they were excellent! A few more pieces are going in to the Little Chief smoker tonight, too! So, now I’ve got another “to-do” for tomorrow morning at 5am before I can go fishing!
After an epic day like today, I’ll be back down there tomorrow morning–not necessarily at sunrise, but close enough is fine!