The summer I turned 13, my father took me steelhead…
Looking mostly for some time on the water, I launched the boat at the end of Sakinaw Lake and rowed to the outlet where the submerged logs can harbor big cutthroat trout–including the bright sea-runs that move in from the ocean channel chasing salmon fry. I spent a few hours casting flies, trolling flies, sipping on a beer and muttering to the dog. No takes. The water was flat calm with a bright sky, meaning the conditions were dead wrong for fly-fishing. Eagles, ospreys, kingfishers and steller’s jays, however, provided some amusement, along with a merganser that found Rosie more curious than threatening.
Around 3:00 p.m. clouds moved in on a breeze, rippling the water. Just like that, I had a fish on. Then another. Casting to shore, letting the big streamer fly sink as far as I dared, I used a fast retrieve over the logs. The fish were scrappy and fat, with the biggest measuring about 20″.
The most successful pattern of the day comes from Sam at Powell River Outdoors. Don’t know what he calls it, but man does it catch cutthroat. I think it’s supposed to represent a stickleback minnow.