I seem to have my camera with me the least when steelhead fishing. For one, this is usually a very wet environment and one is constantly hiking, moving, and wading in a river in which footing is tricky and the danger of a fall is ever-present. Secondly, these fish are so pristine and gorgeous that one releases them quickly and almost with an apology. They are a very special fish.
While there is a group of anglers that treat steelhead like the Virgin Mary, in truth they are a whorish, confounding fish that will, at one time or another, hit just about anything making a mockery of all the careful pattern tying and exotic fly materials that some people find fascinating and may even think important. They are a fish that, while sometimes willing to eat, are rarely actually feeding. And, the population in a river can be divided up into fish that are moving, resting, and holding, and where those different fish are and what they are doing is quite different. Actually, the fish may be, especially in the Columbia tributaries, in the wrong river altogether, just checking things out.
I have seen things and know things about steelhead that most veteran steelheaders would have trouble believing. Not that it helps me all that much. I have, on occasion, had the camera with me to record some of these unusual phenomena.
The following pictures show summer run steelhead up to about 14 pounds in actually quite modest concentrations compared to what I have seen. If you don't embarass me by asking where the pictures were taken, I won't embrass you by refusing to tell you.
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