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The Streak (2)


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 11th February, 2009

Winter Steelhead - The words conjure up different images for different people. Sometimes different images for the same people. For me, and my regular group of steelhead fishing buddies, Winter Steelhead means spending hard hours swinging flies on big, cold rivers, in the rain, for the brightest and hardest fish of the whole year. We know going in that the odds are long, but a good angler who knows the river well can usually expect to find a fish every couple of times out. Sometimes it works out better than that.

Sometimes it's worse.

A lot worse.

The winter of 2006-2007 was my first winter season living in Oregon. I had some tough luck that year while learning the ropes on some of my new local waters. Hard luck to the tune of almost three fishless months. Eighteen straight trips without a fish landed on flies (either nymphed or swung). It's a time in my life that came to be known as The Streak.

After that winter ended on a high note, I figured that I had learned enough for another really long fishless streak to be unlikely. Last winter, success came early and often for me and my fishing partners. We had a few multiple fish days on the swing and got fish more times than we didn't. Incredible winter steelheading.

Now, more than half way through the winter season of 2008-2009, we can only dream of when the next steelhead will come. You see, this winter has been TOUGH. And by that I mean that the five usual suspects are a combined two for three since Thanksgiving on swung flies. That's five pretty accomplished steelheaders hooking three fish in two and a half months. Not for lack of effort either.

Sure, water conditions sucked for a while and we missed a few weekends, but that's no excuse. It's just been a slow winter so far for nearly everyone. The fly guides are getting shut out lots of days and the bait and gear crowd is even struggling to hook up with consistency.

It's getting a bit depressing, especially for those of us who haven’t connected with a single fish. In a lot of ways, The Streak (2) has been harder to deal with than the first. I know the rivers, the flies, and the swings. I just don't know why the fish aren't coming.

But, as I write this, I can see the rain falling on the pub's windows. And with that rain comes hope and maybe, just maybe, a few steelhead. Enough to ensure that at least a couple of us will be out there again come Friday or Saturday, chasing the dream of Winter Steel.

Fish On,

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