Long time client and friend "Mayhem Mealey" rose two and landed one today...on FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!
If I didn't have a reliable witness, I'd NEVER tell the following "Friday the 13th" tale.
I've got a bum left hand and elbow (long story) so I can't fish, row a boat, pull anchors etc. But standing behind one of my favorite fly fisherman, coaching, cajoling and just enjoying a great day on the water...that I can do! So until I get my arm healed up and the go-ahead from 'ol saw-bones, no swinging flies for me.
This morning it was COLD!, WET and well, miserable weather. "Mayhem's" hands were freezing and he was having a hard time feeling his fingers. So I gave him my pair of rag-wool fingerless gloves to help him fish. As he took the gloves and began to put them on, he handed me his rod which already had a decent amount of line out and a big 'ol, "Silvey-Style" tandem tube fly swinging in the current. He said... and I quote "go ahead and make a cast, but if you hook a fish...I'm gonna kill ya" So, being the obedient, hard-working, "the customer is always right" - kind of guide, I made a cast, threw in a big 'ol juicy mend to sloooow the swing of the fly and .... ya, you guessed it "son of a B#@!$%!" FISH ON!!!!! We both laughed hysterically as I handed the rod off to him and he did a spectacular job of bringing the gorgeous, full-red striped buck to hand. Later in the afternoon, he had another fish on, but it came un-buttoned before any pics could be taken.
If you head out for your own adventure swinging flies for late winter steelhead, the fishing will likely last through the end of the month this year, but PLEASE stay off any areas with gravel. Most of the tailouts, gravel bars and other areas that steelhead seek for spawning have actively spawning steelhead on them now and those fish need to be left alone.
I took this pic earlier today on a very popular spawning area that is currently being used by a couple of pairs of winter steelhead. This pair (seen just a little right of center) had a huge, plainly visible redd built. Look for areas of "clean" gravel and when you see it, avoid it! PLEASE!