A big steelhead story

Posted: December 31, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead
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This special write up is from guest contributor, Kevin Gray. Some of you may know him under the moniker ‘Chromehammer’. As always…thanks for reading.

By Kevin Gray

“As we move deeper into the winter steelhead season, we also move deeper into the winter weather season, which means constantly keeping tabs on the ever-changing water conditions that come with it all. To make the best of each trip pursuing the blue ghosts we all love to tangle with, it’s wise to do some homework ahead of time.

Pick a primary river that you intend to fish, but also pick a fallback stream in case you get to your primary stream and find it blown out, or too low, or overrun with other anglers. Trust me, if you winter steelhead fish, one of these circumstances will fall in your hands. That’s where the prepared angler packs up and hits his fallback stream.

A perfect example where the fallback was utilized and turned out success was on a recent outing I had with Matthew Morris aka MCP tagging along. It was Friday December 14th. My initial plans to go coastal had fallen through at the last minute, so I elected a fallback stream based on its flow and knowing that there were some fish around, and went for it.

We arrived at the river and saw we were the only ones there. We rigged up and hiked up to the first hole we would fish, arriving right at first light. The hole is a very large pool where steelhead will stage awaiting upstream migration. 3 or 4 rollers got the blood pumping, and we began working the pool with an intensity matched only by a raving addict.

30 minutes of casting yielded no bobber downs. As we packed up to move to the next hole, I took a peak into the boulder strewn tailout while standing on a high ledge. I immediately spotted a massive blue ghost quietly sitting amid three giant submerged boulders. I could see he was about 3 feet below the surface so I adjusted my fixed float and jig accordingly and placed a stealthy cast about 30 feet ahead of the beast.

The float and jig quietly slipped toward the massive buck awaiting below. When the jig came within 10 feet of the fish, I watched him kick forward and intercept the offering, instantly pulling the float under. I reeled down and crossed his eyes with a solid hookset. The beast immediately broke the surface trying to throw the hook, which was firmly pinned in the upper jaw.

After a long, drawn out battle, the beast was landed with the aid of MCP. The hawg’s dimensions were solid: 35″x18″. Later that morning, MCP hooked into a dime bright steelhead that would easily go 10 pounds. After a brief tussle and a short run, the beauty shook the jig free and vanished into the green run. Although we didn’t encounter huge numbers of steelhead, we were able to fish a large canyon while never seeing another angler. That’s success in my book.

Electing a fallback stream is only one of many tricks that can be utilized for success in the steelhead and salmon angling game. You may not always use your fallback, but always having one can increase your odds for success. And who knows, it might just put a hawg I your hands!”

For the movie of Kevin’s big fish tune back in to AAA by later today and you’ll see it on a brand new post.

AAA: Where good content counts and we don’t say river names.

  1. Hellcat says:

    Thanks for being the first comment, Lucas!

  2. Sal says:

    Great story. I think I recall seeing a pic of you and the beast a while back. Definitely a beauty. I look forward to seeing the movie. I have hasd a couple of cases of being up high, casting to a steelhead and watching it make the take. Unfortunately, I was so jazzed that I set the hook a little too soon and lost the fish on the first jump…..both times. Sal

  3. Strick says:

    Nice. Was fortunate enough to hear the story first hand. Great job Kevin and it was a pleasure meeting you.

  4. Nick Nichols says:

    Great description of a stellar day.

  5. Chromehammer says:

    Thanks guys! Sal, I’ve had the same thing happen quite a few times. Just a blast watching the fish react to a well placed offering.

  6. Vasiliy says:

    Great advice. I always try to have a backup stream when heading out for a full-day of fishing.


    MR.Gray, Great article .. The back up plan is a great idea..So many just take their plan and stick with it..I am guilty myself of that fact… My adrenaline was raised to the level ten when you said ” crossed his eyes” I am still reelin’ from that comment…Loved the advice… You Rock Dawg

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