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The problem with a phenomenal day fishing is, from a guides perspective, often manifested in the call to repeat the day on the next year’s booking.  Bruce Sr. and Bruce Jr. have been fishing with me for many years, and we keep falling back on the recollection of a previous year with a daily steelhead count of 40 fish.   So, how do you produce 40 steelhead (the “fish of a thousand casts”) on call?   You don’t.   Period.
Summer Steelie

Sometimes an unusually good day can ruin a fisherman.   I recall a husband and wife team, neither of which had steelheaded before.   I launched my boat and found myself in a large pod of steelhead.   We fished for several hours and had over 60 steelhead (in 1/2 pounders and adults) to the boat, when the wife proclaimed she was tired, sore,  and bored and additionally that she wanted to go home.    So, we pulled the boat out and went back home without traveling past the launch point.   This couple was clueless about what had just happened.  They have never been back!

This years first day of a two day booking with Bruce and Bruce produced 18 half pounders and 4 adults by day’s end, but it still was not the repeat of our golden 40 fish day.  To my client’s credit, they have made a leap of faith to trust in my leading them to fish on a swung fly.   Bruce and Bruce come to me as conventional fishermen and do not yet have a cast.  The day for us involves a lot of stripping line out and placing of the fly over the lie with boat movement.  It worked previously, and worked again this trip.

Here is one of Bruce Jr.’s fish from yesterday:

Another amazing thing about this last two days, has been the clear, perfect fall weather.   Steelheaders are supposed to suffer in the cold by the cliche standard!  It’s not happening in this week of Indian Summer weather.

Today, Bruce Jr. picked up the first two adults in the first hour of fishing.   Yes, he gave dad the smack!   I warned him about river Karma, but too late.   Dad later took the record fish of the weekend.   Check this one out:

What you cannot see well from this picture is the girth of the fish.   It took both of them to handle it, extract the fly, and return it safely to the river.

I took it as a good sign that Dad was satisfied today, since at 5:00 he called it a full day.  However, he needed to make a shore stop and empty a full bladder.   So, of course, while Dad was occupied, Bruce Jr. points, identifies, and waves at his dad as a passing truck drove by way up on the road cut.   Yes, the truck turned around and, yes, two uniformed wardens came scampering down the cliff face.  My first emotion when ever I am approached by law enforcement is one of fear over unjustifiable accusation.   I had no idea where this one was going to end up.

Enter stage left, or “river left” wardens McDonald and Burger….Both grinning widely.   After a quick call to come over to their side of the river they began to do their job of probing, inspecting, and looking for perpetrators.   “Do you want to check our flies?  I just caught a Huge fish just back there!” was Bruce senior’s injection as I was showing digital images of the earlier catch.    WHAT????  Thank goodness I had been thorough at crushing the barbs on the hooks.   We came out clean and the wardens were gentlemen about a possible citation for public display, or some other contrived fishing related offense.

Earlier in the day, Bruce Sr. asked if my job had become boring to me.   uh….”Nope”   I still LOVE my job.  I just wonder what I can pull out of the hat for next year, that might match the last two day’s action.

Till later, Doug


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