July 25, 2012
Steelhead Fishing The North Santiam

            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

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