Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 104

Step one to becoming a confident swung fly steelhead angler:

The angler who fishes the most gives himself the best odds to catch a fish. The angler that fishes the cleanest provides the fish with the best opportunity to take their fly. The difference is in knowing what fishing clean means. When I watch an angler fish a run "clean" he or she never makes the same cast twice, only casts as far as they need, and last but not least, fishes the fly from touch down to hang down.

Step two: Study the fish you are chasing. Know the ins and outs of the fish you are pursuing. Biology is a big deal, how wild animals react and when they might react, as well where you might encounter them! Steelhead are a fish that can be studied and the knowledge you gain can and will make you a better angler. Learning about your local waters or rivers your have access to fish is another big piece of the puzzle.

Step three: Keep records, be observant, and use today's social media to your advantage. I am a big record keeper, but not always to keep tabs on the number of fish I catch. I also like to record other factors that may be of huge help in the future. River level, weather conditions, water clarity and water temps can become clues as to how to identify potential good angling days and where within the river the fish will be hiding. Keep your eyes open at all times, if you see a guy fishing a piece of water multiple times there maybe a good reason for that. If you see a fish landed, not just on a swung fly but landed, mentally mark the locations. Where one steelhead is caught so will another one!!!! Now I hate the idea of this and it is happening more and more, but social media today is huge and secrets are being revealed at alarming rates. Take a look at who and what is sensationalizing your local steelhead waters and use it. Never give up on free info, some of it will be good from time to time.

Step four in gaining that confidence of a veteran swung fly steelhead angler: Don't be afraid to do things differently!!! This is huge, I have seen and spoken to so many anglers that have zero success and still continue to fish the same stuff in the same place at the same time. If nothing ever happens and you have given it a good college effort, try something else. Doing the same action and expecting a different result is one of the definitions of insanity.

Step five in this crazy game of swinging flies for steelhead: This is where I divulge the location of Steelheader’s Eden, the mystical place that seems to be as elusive as the fish themselves. The truth is what ever river you are standing in is better than one you can't get to. All of our rivers have beauty and their very own bits of perfection and imperfections alike. Eden is everywhere and some days nowhere to be found. My advice to the exact location of this place is fish hard, but also open your eyes to see the river in its entirety. I know my heart is at its best doing my best in a river that contains even a hint of a chance of hooking a fish. The satisfaction gained by doing something in the purest manner available is unforgettable and those memories capture the soft spots in my heart.

This sport is a life long pursuit of hope in the form of a fish. We all will continue to search for the Steelhead Eden of our dreams.