Many of our south coast rivers received a great return of coho salmon this past fall. Today I took a few hours to look around a favorite "no-name" winter steelhead stream that had finally come into fishable shape, checking out new runs looking for a grab from a winter steelhead.
While working down river, swinging some of my favorite winter steelhead patterns, Molly and I came upon one dead coho after another. They were hanging from every stream side willow and piled up in every log jam we came upon. Molly was in "hog heaven" with all this "low hanging fruit" munching on every fetid, smelly, stinking dead coho carcass she came upon. I can't even imagine what sort of delectable culinary delight these rotting salmon must smell like to the sensitive olfactory senses of a great hunting dog like Molly. I know for my nearly, non-functioning snozaola, I was struggling to keep my breakfast down in several runs.
In a sweet looking bucket on the far side of the stream, I made a few probing pitches with a favorite winter steelhead bug when I felt the fly come to a stop. A moment later, weight began to build on my spey twig followed by a bright flash of red just under the surface in this little bucket.
I guiltily brought this old warrior to hand as quick as my gear would allow, fly hung solidly in the top of his tongue. Seems like a lifetime ago, but actually it would have only been September when this buck would have sported chrome sides down in the estuary and I would have loved to have had him grab my fly. Today I only felt sadness as another run comes to an end.