Steelhead on the Skagit River

April 15, 2019

My first foray into steelhead fishing.


The rain subsided overnight and my friend promised the fish would be on the move.  A long winter without fishing gave way to a ferocious need to be on the water-- it hardly mattered that I was chasing the fish of one thousand casts for the first time ever.  The water was calling.


With an 8-weight rod in hand I listened intently learning how to read the water for the sea-run rainbow trout spoken of with reverent voice.  I paid close attention as I learned what to expect of my fly, it should bounce off the bottom occasionally, but not so frequently that it was getting hung-up.  This would tell me the fly would be in the right zone for steelhead to see.



With those basic lessons I waded out into the waters that covered the Baker Bar on the mighty Skagit River.  The Skagit is the largest river that flows into Puget Sound and still holds runs of all five salmon species (some quite precariously, but that's a story for another day) along with steelhead, cutthroat trout, and bull trout.  And it's a big river, even when running low.


The day turned out to be a fishing lesson more than anything else.  While swinging a fly across and down is fairly simple, casting an 8-weight rod with a weighted fly and 10 feet of quick-sink line took some time to figure out.  Eventually, after a cloudy Pacific Northwest morning of casting I began to feel comfortable with the load of the rod and the tension of the line as it swung through the current.  


In my mind this all counted toward the one thousands casts toward my first steelhead.  We fished a couple of different runs, but ultimately came away from the water empty-handed.  That was almost guaranteed and hardly put a damper on my season's return to the water. 


I have a great deal to learn about steelhead and the Skagit River both.  This was a fine opening to my Washington state fishing experience.


While the Skagit is a third of a continent away from Wyoming, you can still pre-order a copy of Fly Fishing Wyoming's Cloud Peak Wilderness as you prepare for your own fishing adventures.


Until next time,
Cheers & tight lines,

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