When I first started Steelheading it took a while for my friends and family to understand why I was always fishing, but never catching any fish. It can be hard to justify your fishing to someone who doesn’t fish for these elusive anadromous creatures. In fact, most people think you’re crazy. Things just don’t add up, until you hold one. Then everything is over.
I used to live in the Pacific Northwest and Steelhead were my target 90% of the time. It really took some time getting used to stading in a river day after day waiting for a pull, but it only takes one and suddenly all your debts are paid off. It doesn’t matter if you drive miles for these fish. Maybe it’s been three weeks on the river every other day without a fish. All things are forgotten during that moment when a Native Steelhead makes a strong kick and slides back into the glacial green water. A moment that will be frozen in your memories forever.
Last week I met up with Marcus on the Lower Deschutes for three days of fishing. My addiction that started four years ago with my first fish on the Oregon Coast was seeking fulfillment. We were both on a different journey, but shared the same mission for our travels. I was headed to a best friends wedding while he was headed to a year long student exchange at SOU in Ashland and we each were seeking a steelhead on the way.
We spent three solid days swinging in some beautiful water in the fabled Mack’s Canyon section of the Lower Deschutes. We came up empty handed. Not even a grab. Nothing, zero, zilch, nada, skunked.
Was it time wasted? Never, its always a great experience. It felt good to back in the old stomping grounds chasing one of my favorite animals in the world. I know I will be back there someday swinging my way through my favorite runs everyday. Until then, these Missouri River fish are doing a great job of keeping me distracted.