Yet, if you know where to find some willing fish, you can find success. Yesterday, we still managed to hook double digit number of fish. However, if we can just land them, that would be fantastic. During the morning, Matt went 0/6 while I went 0/4. I don't know what Michael's stats was like, but it was a slow bite.
We worked downstream and finally Michael and Matt landed a fish each. We got to the Suicide Pool and fished it hard. A fish here and there were caught but it took a lot of hard work.
Matt went downstream and caught a couple. But then it was already late in the afternoon and they had to go. I lingered on for a bit before working upstream. At this point, I was at an atrocious 0/10. Fish were snapping my 4lb fluorocarbon or the hooks were falling out. I just couldn't catch a break.
As I worked upstream, I got back to a corner run that had been fantastic for me this spring. Fish were spawning at the head of the run and there were a few fish sitting back at the tail of the run. Fish that sit behind spawning areas are often picking off the loose eggs. So I drifted a tiny roe sack to the fish at the tail end and finally landed a beautiful spawned out buck.
I couldn't get the rest of the fish to play, so I moved up to the spawning fish. There was a pod of 1 hen and 3 bucks. I managed to annoyed one of the two smaller bucks enough to smash a spoon...and landed it too! This little spoon had been getting lots of hits for me...but I have yet to land a fish on it until now. It came with a large siwash hook that just couldn't hook a fish at all. I even sharpened it and I was still losing fish. At the end, I switch it out to a smaller treble hook that I had sharpened to a surgical knife edge and finally landed a fish!
I moved on to leave the big buck and hen to spawn in peace. I moved back to a little hole under a fallen ceder where Matt took a fish earlier in the day. I switched back to bait fishing with worms. I'm sure that fish were holding very tight to the cedar and it is very difficult drifting close to it without snagging any of the branches. On the 4th drift, my float was washed very tight to the tree when it got pulled down. I thought I might have snagged, but felt something tugging back. This little beat up hen came to hand quickly. Her tails and fins were all damaged from redd digging. I felt bad that I had harassed her when she just wanted to feed to recharge her body.
I worked my way back to the access with just one more quick hit and spit on the spoon. We've been catching a lot of spawned out fish and their conditions were not great. Many fish were skinny with worn fins. As much as I love catching steelhead, I do feel bad that each time we hook up a fish, we're taxing their already worn out body and I can only imagine that our fishing activity this late in the season is only detrimental to their well being.
It is for this reason that I've enjoyed the last hurrah while the going was good. It had been a good little bit of post-Opener steelheading. Now it is time to switch gear and target some other fish while the spring fishing is going strong.