Monday, April 5, 2010

Summer Steelhead in April

Several days of 80 degree temperatures in the first week of April can be viewed as a sign of global warming by some, but to the steelhead fisherman it's just a sign that it's going to be a really tough spring. First there was the winter that wouldn't end, and now a heat wave?

The water temperature on the Rocky hit 65 degrees today, which has to be a first week of April record.

Other than taking Easter Sunday off, I've spent some time on the rivers during the heat wave. On Saturday, I got my first Spey lesson with Will Turek. Will showed incredible patience as I failed to translate his land lesson to the water. By the end of four hours I had learned enough to know I wanted to learn more -- unfortunately my shoulders couldn't take anymore. Spey casting is actually easier on your body than the traditional fly cast, but only when you know what your doing. I will have practice a lot to keep quiet hands in the box, set the anchor and create the white mouse with anything resembling grace. I hope to try out the Spey rod for real this weekend.

After the lesson on the Chagrin, I returned to the car to get my single-handed Scott rod. It felt tiny compared to the Spey. I hiked back to the river intent on hooking and landing one of the fish I had watched hold in a narrow chute on the edge of some intimidating whitewater. Interestingly, none of the dozens of fishermen who had walked by during our lesson had tried the chute -- and the two dogs that had romped through it apparently hadn't scared them off permanently. After less than a dozen drifts with my white marabou minnow fly, an aggressive male crushed the fly. After a brief fight and extended struggle to remove the fly from deep inside the steely's mouth, I headed back home, thinking of steel and Spey.
Hooking fish isn't too difficult in these conditions. When the water gets above 50 degrees, the minnow fly seems too good to resist. As seen in this picture, the white marabou, red tail minnow fly isn't much to look at, but it sure is effective.


John J. Polk said...

I fish vicariously through your lyrical prose...and I don't get my feet wet

Chris Thompson said...

Thanks John. You should get your feet wet. It's a lot of fun.