July 2012
Steelhead Fishing The North Santiam
July 25, 2012

            Jimmy and I got back last night from a couple days on the North Santiam River. The river is running low and clear with a flow of 1,300cfs and a temperature of 55 degrees. We had lots of sunshine, warm daytime temps and cool nights for sleeping.

Fishing at last light, the golden hour.

            The fishing seemed a little slower this week, with less action for the time spent on the water and less aggressive fish when we did hook them (no jumps or cartwheels). I must have lost my steelhead mojo on this trip because I hooked three fish and failed to land any of them. Two were on and felt solid with head shakes and taking a some line off the reel before coming unbuttoned. I changed flies thinking maybe there was something funny about the way the old one fished. I don’t normally loose many fish with a solid take on the Owner hook stinger fly.

            My last opportunity came just an hour before heading home fishing a wide long cast run. I made a nice cast across, but a little too far up stream and decided to swing it out anyway. So I made a big mend upstream knowing I would have to wait for it to move down stream before mending again to get the swing. Just as I was getting ready to mend again, a steelhead hammered my broadside drifting fly on the run and ripped 30ft of line off my reel in seconds. When he finally stopped on the other bank, I set-up on him again to make sure this one was hooked and fought him back across the river. A short time later I had him just 25ft from me when the hook pulled out and he swam back to the depths of the run. I think I went steelhead hooking instead of steelhead fishing.

            Jimmy hooked AND LANDED a nice fish on Wednesday night. We were working through a run and jimmy went back to the top of the run and started a little higher to see if he could find anything in the riffle leading into the run. He wasn’t in there for five minutes before he was yelling Fish On! I made my way back up river and he soon had a nice fish to hand for a quick picture and release.

            We had a great time and it’s always good to be on the river for a couple of days.


The Patient Angler

Peter Bowers

Fishing steelhead on the North Santiam River
July 14, 2012
     Had a great weekend on the North Santiam. Weather was great with mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures. The river was in good shape running clear and around 1,600cfs. Fishing was a little slower this week for us, as we only managed to land two steelhead. This nice bright fish was the first fish I hooked on Friday night.

     I was working my way through a run and in the middle of my swing I felt two consecutive plucks or small pulls, meaning something mouthed or lightly grabbed my fly without getting hooked. Adrenaline rushed through my body as I realized I had an aggressive player out there. Without moving I made another cast and swung my fly through the zone again, highly anticipating a solid take. Nothing happened and immediately you start to think, "maybe I imagined the tugs, maybe he's not coming back, maybe it was some rocks". Not willing to let it go, I stood fast and made another cast with the most positive thoughts in mind to improve my zen. My fly swung through the area again without results and just when I started to think that maybe he had felt the hook and wasn't coming back, my line came tight with a hard pull and this big beautiful steelhead exploded out of the water in a cartwheeling jump. It was a crazy fight with him jumping and taking me into my backing and across the river twice. I finally brought him to hand for a quick picture and release.
    I was fishing my Craft Fur Stinger fly in blue, purple & black with a clarett head and leadeyes.

    I landed another nice fish on Saturday morning, but that was all the action we saw for the rest of the weekend. Can't wait to get out again!