After a brutal June which included exactly zero days of fishing and a lot of ball busting work in the field, I finally snuck out for a couple days fishing earlier this week. First morning I started out at the mouth of the River that is the Grand daddy of steelhead fly fishing. I'd heard stories in the past of people catching fish there this time of year, but water temperatures were around 70 in the morning so after half heartedly fishing a couple of runs I made coffee, headed back down to fog town and hung a left towards the cooler water tributary.
Got to the Rattlesnake Fork of the Poison Oak River around 12:30PM and it was already blistering hot, it gets that way in inland California this time of year, but the water temperature was cooler, below 68 so I felt a little better about my prospects and the prospects of the fish's survival should I luck into an encounter. Sure enough within my first 20 casts I hooked a fish. Must've been beginners luck. The fish took at the top of a nice run, in broken water about 3 feet deep and immediately went into the backing, slowed just long enough for me to gain some composure and then proceeded to go much deeper into my backing in a single run. Its the first time in a long time I've actually chased a fish, and since I wasn't going to have much luck pulling it up through the heavy water at the top of the run I figured I better go down and get it. I was just getting to the quiet water on the inside of the run when the fish decided to run into the shallows and start headshaking in place. Fish that are rolling around in shallow, slow water tend not to stay hooked very long and within a couple seconds the fish was unpinned. While I would've loved to see the fish, shaking the rust off and feeling the tug for the first time in two months was more than enough. Walking back to the car I thought about how easy that fish had come and wondered whether I would get another shot at a fish, fished hard for the next two days without another touch.
Thats life, and thats steelhead and the one brief encounter coupled with the beautiful water and scenery will definitely bring me back. Sorry, no photos since I left my camera's memory card in my computer.