After having a mediocre summer/fall season of surface steelheading, I have settled into my winter steelhead visions with the typical hesitation and saddness that comes with the reality of leaving consisent surface fishing conditions behind. The tumultuous ups and downs of the winter season is upon us and finds my car pointed in the direction of the coast.
I always come to terms with the change in season soon enough and find my excitement for winter fishing rekindled as I gather my boxes of winter dry line flies and ponder my rod/reel/line choices for the season. I reminisce over past seasons as I mentally prepare my game plan for the cold, wet season ahead. Will this be a season that will yield hookups on my favorite Winter's Hopes? Will I be able to raise/hook a full sized winter steelhead on a waker this year?
As I headed out on my first winter trip a couple weeks ago, I rejoiced in the hope and optimism that comes with life as a steelheader. Each season brings anticipation of the possibilities that lay ahead; each trip to the river could provide anything from an epic, multi-hookup day to perpetual skunkings, to anything in between. Regardless of the outcomes, steelhead fly fisherman tend to be a group that appreciates being out on rivers for much more than how many or how often the elusive chrome unicorns are encountered.
We have had winter water levels in our rivers since November so I have been anticipating some early winter steelhead being around on my favorite winter stomping grounds. I theorized that the good flows over the past month should have encouraged steelhead to ascend their home rivers ahead of schedule. I have made two winter steelhead trips thus far and there have been no indications of any early winter steelhead being around in waters where I have been tossing my flies. None of my friends have heard of any winter steelhead caught on our home rivers yet either.
It is still early in season and in the spirit of a steelheader's optimism, I will continually get out over the course of the season with great anticipation of seeing how things will unfold.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!