As I was watching the Spey Daze DVD this past weekend, this question was posed to the guest fishermen.
Using one word, describe Steelhead.
Frustrating was the word I came up with. I don’t think it is for the fish itself but what I have to go through to catch one. Steelhead are migratory so if they don’t run the river there isn’t much I can do. This season, for one reason or another, they never really showed up on my home waters. I suppose I needed to be served a piece of humble pie. The first season of swinging flies I landed 6 on the Huron, my personal best fish, for the Huron, coming on Jan. 2nd. Since then it’s been nothing. Because of the lack of fish and a desire to try new places I have ventured out. Earlier this week I had some estate business to handle for Susan in Toledo and Fremont so I decided to keep heading east and try the Vermillion river.
A little back story on the Vermillion. This past summer Susan was helping out with a system changeover at a local hospital. I came with her the first weekend to keep her company and to scout out fishing access. While I was at one of the parks Susan texted me to see what I was up to. I sent her a picture of the sign and she replied saying she knows that park and she used to eat her lunch their when she was a Schwann driver.
This was my response:
Excuse me? You know this area? You used to stop here? An area that gets a Steelhead run and you never thought to mention that to me? This is information that should have been made available to me day one, at the restaurant, after introductions. You know….Hello, my name is Susan, I know of a place to catch Steelhead on the Vermillion River.
She answered me with her usual Susan fanfare and I know she was smiling and laughing the whole time. Her coworkers probably thought I was an ass though but she knew better. It reminds me of just how close we were to each other before we ever even met.
This day though was my first attempt fishing here and I was not alone. There were about a dozen other people fishing the same low dirty water. I tried for about an hour and didn’t catch anything. From what I could see no one else was either. What amazed me was how I thought 12 other people was crowded. My first introduction to river steelhead fishing was elbow to elbow people on the Manistee River at Tippy Dam. That was insane but then it was the norm. I fished the runs I could but not the deeper, longer one farther upstream I wanted to. That one was staked out by about 6 or 7 other fishermen and they weren’t budging. Oh well, there will be other opportunities. Now that we have some warmer weather and more rain maybe the Steelhead will finally show up on the Huron. If not, I will be making a weekend trip up north.