May 3, 2013

Hammer steel while it is hot, right?

I sent an invite to my friend Adam (who is from Perth, Australia) to fish on Saturday but he got called into work. So we planned to get out on a midweek day. Everything fell into place quickly and I was hoping to show Adam some good Ontario fishing. He was also excited to learn how to river fish and float fish for the first time. There are not a lot of freshwater opportunities in Perth...and Adam has barely fished freshwater before. Sharing unique fishing experience is what I love to do a lot.

Things were looking promising today when I hooked and broke off a fish on the first few drifts, but number of fish were actually quite sparse and they were not very willing.

Still, this fish moved out of its holding spot just to slam a drifting crawler!

Michael was with us for a bit until 12pm today. He went exploring at a pool on the tail of this area and landed a nice 4lb fish. I didn't have a pic on my camera though. Adam hooked a fish but the hook dropped out after a short fight. We banged this pool for a while but not much was going we moved on.

Just a bit downstream was a nice little pool, but all we could mustered up was a white sucker on my line. After they are done spawning, they will hit every drifted crawler in no time.

We fished a few more pools finding really tough fishing. Then we came upon a little nice undercut at a steep shoreline where Andrea hooked 3 fish on Saturday. I upgraded my 8-wt fly rod and reel a month ago and I was really hoping to test it out. We were fishing with nightcrawlers all morning and maybe it was a different pattern shown to the fish...a nice buck fancied an Estaz Egg and gave a good fight before breaking my 4lb fluoro tippet. I tied on a new Estag Egg and swung a few more times before a fresh spunky hen broke my 8-wt's cherry!

First steelhead on the fly! You can see the Estaz Egg attached to the roof of the fish's mouth.

That's all the spot gave we made a longer trek down. On the way, we passed by some small holding we spread out to work them. My spot had a shaded log jam with a decent current washing into the log. There was a fish sitting behind a rock and I was drifting for that fish when a flash came out of the wood work and stole the worm. This fish was just hot! It ran immediately upstream, then shot downstream right into the fallen tree before I could even react. Somehow, my 4lb leader stayed intact and the fish sat in the slack water under the tree. I got into the water and freed my line briefly before the fish wrapped me around another branch. I freed it once more and somehow managed to pull the fish out. Nice 3lb fish but unfortunately it was deeply hooked and it was destined for Adam's dinner. Perfect clean eater!

Adam arrived after I bled the fish out. I told him there could still be a couple of fish under the log. He made a number of drifts before the float went down and he was briefly connected with a silver fish. Too bad it didn't stay on.

We finally arrived at the spot where I want to hit.

I approached the head of that pool creeping on my knees. When Adam arrived, I told him to do the same as well. The fish were less spooked this way, and we hooked a few, dropped a few, broke off a few, and landed a few this way. Michael had to go by this point so he missed out on the action. The fish that wanted our nightcrawlers were all really fresh, silver fish. They were just hot and every one of them fought like demons and all of them took us into log jams. Luckily, Adam managed to get a couple of them out of the jams. But still, we broke off or dropped too many fish here.

Adam and I saw this hen shot sideways like a missile out of the log to grab the was quite a sight!

We almost lost this one to a log jam but managed to untangled the line off the branches.

At the very end of that pool, a big tree had fallen. Water was washing over that log and under the log was a nice deep cut. Behind the log was a deep pool. At the end of the deep pool was another tree leaning close to the water. Between the log at the head, and the tree at then end, it was only a distance of about 15 feet. This little 15' x 15' x 5' deep pool was black with over 50 steelhead!

It was an impossible spot to fish and land the fish though. I was calling Adam over to look at it and said "It would just be suicide hooking a fish here"...but the temptation was just much too great. On the second drift, my float was slammed down hard. "SUICIDE!!!" I yelled :lol:.

I set the hook, the fish sat there for a second before realizing it was hooked, then it jumped clear out of the water and Adam got a good look. He grabbed the net and said "I'm just going over that log and be ready with the net."

Little did he know the fish charged toward the log trying to go under it, but somehow I managed to stop it before it went under. The fish made a turn toward Adam and directly swam into Adam's waiting net.

We KO'd this fish within 10 seconds in this impossible spot. Crazy!!! That was the fastest fight I had with a steelhead of decent size.

After that fish, we hooked a couple more but dropped both. It was getting toward 1:30pm and we gotta bail. The fish, by this time, was exceedingly wary anyways and we called it a day.

I may try to hit them one more time before the run is over...they are just too much fun!

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