Winter steelhead and rain gear. part 1

Not everyone enjoys shitty weather, a fact I didn’t realize until I was maybe 25.
I kind of love it. Just being outside feels like accomplishing something when the rain is pounding sideways and it 39 degrees.
So I have been pretty happy the last couple of weeks. As I have said in the past I don’t really mind shitty fishing either, so December turned out pretty well for me.

December and January here typically alternate between too cold, and too wet. This year its stuck with too wet most of the time. Keeping the river levels up near too high to fish.

Backed right up into the grass for this high water chrome steelhead

And yet, there are moments, and spots, where you can slip out and catch a fish.
Although hatchery steelhead continue to trickle in, we have reached the point of the year when my interest has turned almost completely to native winter steelhead.
After all these years, and thousands of wild steelhead, my appreciation for these fish seems to have some how grown.
As much as I look forward to the fish themselves, my anticipation is also linked to specific spots.
Getting to see one in a certain river bend, or rapid, or rock garden, the places that for me symbolize what olympic peninsula steelheading is really about.

This high water fish came on a great day that I’m still trying to figure out. I may have learned some really neat stuff, or maybe we got weirdly lucky a bunch of times in a row.

Over the years I have heard other anglers express a regret that the general nature of steelhead often goes unappreciated.
This is something I have felt, but generally tried to keep to myself. At the heart of guiding there are some secrets, and I keep some, because its my job.
Also because some secrets are impossible to “tell”.
They need to be learned, or you won’t ever really understand how they work.
I have been writing about a few of them recently, and will try to get around to publishing them here.

We will see how that works.

Jim Kerr

Rain Coast Guides

Forks Wa

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