Steelhead Heat Check: TeamSalmon…some still hot, some not…..

Posted: February 14, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead
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When Friday night rolled around I was a wreck. I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. This happens to me every single time I have a fishing trip planned the next day. In order to fall asleep I play games in my head about steelhead or salmon, whatever is in season. I used to imagine chrome slabs rocketing up into a waterfall and count each one of them like sheep. Lately, I’ve found imagining my bobber burying down into the steely-green water followed by a hook set and a flash of nickel seems to be the image I ‘count’ over and over. I usually make it to somewhere around 300 before I pass out.

Friday night was no exception. I was set to fish with two new partners…Will Bome and Chad Hardy…and was super stoked about it. Still am. Those guys are fantastic anglers and great guys. Hilarious and knowledgeable….an awesome combo of personality traits. Two guys I would love to get out with again. Only next time we rendezvous we should probably check the river levels. No, no…they weren’t too low if that’s what you’re thinking. That was the next day.

No…Saturday’s flows were Wee Todd Did, as the kids would say. Will pointed out on his FB comment to my post that the river we were navigating in his Willie drifter on kicker was running 900% of where we would have liked it. Yikes. That’s what can happen with a dam-controlled river during a low water period. Unpredictably high flows. A great morning was had by the three of us while rivers were shared and compared….stories were told and connections were made and remade. Super fun trip. Minus the fish. No problem because Sunday would bring Matt Love aka The Fishin’ Magician into the mix for a ground and pound small river day along the coast.

You see The Fishin’ Magician was responsible for a lot of us in the TS crew (Crusher, Knuckles, Sal, T$, Padron & Hustler) onto some of the hottest early season Winter Steel fishing I’ve ever been a part of. All because he figured something out and shared it as a true friend and fishing partner does. He waited to do so until he had three bakers’ dozens of fish…don’t get me wrong. He’s a science teacher so ‘smarts’ come with the job. I thought it might job to now reciprocate the river love back in his direction.

I decided to take him to a place he’d never been right here in his home state. This is an angler who comes from a family responsible for a 32lb steelhead haning in their living room…so to find somewhere he’d never been…that I was doing so well on….was just the ticket. I thought. A few other TeamSalmon All Around Anglers had the same idea we did and we ran into some of the crew. Throughout the early hours of the morning, due to the incredibly skinny water flow, a few of the Team did manage some beautiful fish. Even the day before while Will, Chad and I were flogging in high flows they were down there picking apart a few unlucky fish. The Magician and I fished hard enough to sweat. I wore blisters onto my feet covering water…and at one point was casting from a crouched position and also from my knees. We threw everything at them we could think of as long as you could fish it under a float. No Dice.

On our way home to an afternoon spent with our respective families….we were halted in our path on the HWY due to a helicopter landing in front of us. A response to a roll over wreck. People were pinned inside the tumbled rig. At least we had some time to laugh and joke and reflect on the fact that we were the only rig no to hook up out of four. If you read this site regularly then you know I’ve been on a little roll this season. Coming up blank is the last thing I expected. But then again I am always saying that streaks come to an end. Good and bad ones. They all end. Just ask J Blaze who was several trips in with zeros and now has 7 fish in his last two outings. It’s just how the rivers work. They reward and then they penalize. You never know which it will be. Hence the addiction.

The nice thing is…much like great shooters in basketball…you can always sink your next three pointer. That’s what I’m hoping for this next weekend. And certainly I cannot complain about some 40 winters this season….one of which was 21.22lbs. In the next couple of posts we’ll take a peak at those anglers who managed to DIG fish out this weekend. We’ll have pics and even some words from the anglers which include The Traveler, Sveta, Crusher, Air Jordan, Mark Murray (if I ever get the picture from CDC) and Mr. Chad Hardy feat. Nates Baits.

Keep ’em wet,


  1. donaca says:

    You have to keep shooting. Just ask Fulton. I was.almost on the bench this season but.enough trips out finally got me back in the rotation.

  2. Good story Chris, sounds like a great season to me!

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