Winter season ended officially for me today and it came full circle nicely. Other than a few days in the hinterlands fishing time's been scarce of late. With school and other non-hermit activities keeping me preoccupied, I have been hard pressed to get a full day of fishing in. So when a weekday open in my calendar today, I knew it would be my last chance to get out before the end of April, and the unofficial (or official depending where you live) end of the winter steelhead season.
April is just so good, it hurts to see it end. This evening at 8PM I was standing knee deep in a run about a mile above tide in the Sea to Sky country, watching swallows dive on a huge spinner fall. A perfect end to a season which has gone from the short, frigid days of winter to full on spring. The fish continue to ascend the rivers, but it will be only a matter of weeks now before the last of the fresh fish pass through the lower river to the upriver spawning grounds. I got onto the river a little before noon and with the sun on the water decided to fish a classic orange GP. A lot of folks knock the classic general practitioner as a stiff, traditional fly, but something about the pattern is so fishy too me. I've gotten just enough fish on it that I can always fish it with confidence, and when the water has enough visibility and it feels right I never hesitate to tie one on.
Got a fish near the bottom of a nice long run I've fished a few times this winter. It always seemed fishy, but it was nice to finally get some confirmation. The fish was a male, chrome and thick shouldered, as bright as the first I landed this season, probably 14 pounds and sporting a pair of sealice just above the anal fin. It never ceases to amaze me that fresh wild steelhead are literally entering many of our rivers in this region for five months. Some systems, year round. This winter, like every other since I became afflicted with an interest in steelheading went by all too fast. From the barren cold of january to the leafy sweetness of this long April day, winter season has so much variety. Throughout the season the river and its surroundings change, however the constant remains the pursuit of the steelhead, native to our waters. Building throughout the season to this point when spring rains, high tides and warming rivers drive the biological necessity to spawn and deposit the next generation of fish to their natal waters. Fish are as fresh and aggressive as ever in April and I often think a dryline would be more than adequate. I spoke with a guy today on the river who was fishing a 6 foot piece of type III and from the sounds of it, it provided more than enough depth to entice fish to strike. Knowing that, I can't help but wonder why we even both fishing tips? Habit mostly I guess, plus we know it works...
Just another question that will have to wait until next year.