Monday, December 21, 2009

Unexpected Hookups

No one will ever confuse Steelhead Alley with the relatively pristine Pacific Northwest. Our rivers are relatively tiny and they often flow through urban environs. While the scenery is rarely majestic, (the Grand River in Ohio is an impressive exception) it can be beautiful. Occasionally the urban environment intrudes on the overall experience. Sometimes the intrusion arrives on the end of the hook.

Here's a list of things that I've hook in Steelhead Alley -- other than steelhead themselves:

1. A bulldog -- He greeted me at the car one day and followed me to the river. No idea where he came from and who he belonged to. But he liked to eat flies. I had to cut the leader as he wondered off with an egg fly in his upper lip.

2. Shopping carts -- Steelhead on both the Rocky River and Elk Creek have rested in the break created by a shopping cart mid-stream. I'll cast anywhere there are fish, and that means hooking a stray shopping cart.

3. Suckers -- They follow steelhead upstream in the spring and are amazing eaters.

4. Carp -- Some of my brethren love fishing for "fresh water bonefish." I haven't gotten there yet.

5. Pants -- Thankfully there wasn't anyone inside them.

6. Flies -- Fish long enough and you're bound to hook onto someone else's lost rig. If you're lucky, the flies haven't yet rusted out and you can add them to your fly patch.

7. Rocks -- Hooking the bottom is part of steelheading, but I remain surprised when the bottom stays attached to the hook long to be released by hand.

8. Gas lines -- Pipelines crossing rivers also serve as water breaks and can shield migrating steelhead. They make for tempting places to cast. Too tempting.

9. Metal Drum -- There's an old metal drum on a nice stretch of the Grand that protects fish and attracts hooks. I know better than to try it, but I succumb to its siren song too often.

10. Smallmouth Bass -- Usually they are small, but a three pounder a few years back provided some excitement.

11. Brown trout -- A small, stray Brown trout on the Rocky River remains one of the highlights.

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