The fish's broad green back matched the green tint of the water. The hook hidden inside the chartreuse yarn pierced the fish's mouth. The fish pulled hard, stripping forest green fly line from the Ross Reel. The fish pulled winter away with it. The brilliant blue sky and bright sunshine slowly melted the thick snow lining the river bank. But it takes a steelhead to erase the gray that had borrowed deep into the angler this winter. A combination of deep freeze, deep snow and too much of everything at work made this one of the longest, dreariest winters this angler can recall.
But today winter would drop away, like the boulders tumbling off the cliff walls guarding the pool.
The Rocky River carried enough sediment to give it a dark green hue. The flow was slightly higher than normal and the water was barely above freezing -- thanks to the snow melt. The cold water kept the fish sluggish and shy. Hooked three suckers in the lower river and two chubs in the upper before the giant steelhead ended winter.