The other winter sea runs

As much as I focus on fly fishing for sea run cutthroat and summer steelhead, I do also chase winter steelhead, and though elusive and sometimes difficult to catch with a fly, once every few years I stumble blindly upon a fish dumb enough to eat my pooly tied intruders. They are magnificent fish to behold, and another of the many things I love about the island.

All over Vancouver island winter steelhead runs are down with very few fish even in the typically strong rivers such as the Cowichan, Gold, or Stamp. Whether or not this is the beginning of the end for winter steelhead I know not but they are still out there in all their elusive, soul crushing, difficult to find, bushwack till you fall down glory.

Fat, and highly disrespectful of the 8 weight label on my switch rod

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The smaller inflatable drift boats are invaluable in finding these often near mythical creatures

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Wild

This year has taken me on travels far and wide across all areas of the island in pursuit of relaxation and the the many fine species of anadromous and resident trout found here. Over the year only a few photos stand out on their own as being more than just a reminder of an adventure or a fun day. I don’t actually take pictures of a lot of fish that I catch and I know that with such a photocentric blog, that many must suspect me of being one of those guys who will pretty much play a fish to death to get it to sit still and then take a thousand photos for the perfect shot. I don’t and I’m not. My favorite from the year, to me the perfect small island wild steelhead.

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Fish that aren’t sea run cutthroat

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I’ve spent most of the fall fishing for species other than sea run cutthroat this year, and it has been a lot of fun. There is no better time to be out in the year, as even a slow day rewards you with excellent scenery. The fly fishing opportunities here in the fall are pretty much endless, and many people don’t even bother with trout and steelhead in the fall being as there is chum, coho, chinook, and trout in the island lakes a plenty. While the numbers of fish in our streams are not as numerous or as large as many others, there is nothing in my mind that compares to the fine streams of this island.

The Summer Steelhead

Summer steelhead…I have hesitated to post about these fish, as there are lots of sensitive runs on the island but without negativity, agenda or highlighting any specific systems here’s to a fascinating fish, worth seeing and protecting. They are kind of like big sea run cutthroat in many ways, and therefore awesome. Practice self restraint in their pursuit and I doubt you will find the negativity that plagues so many fisheries.

fall steelheading speaks for itself

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almost a summer run

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These fish are vulnerable to poaching and need protection, This pool had a huge 3 treble/pencil lead/80 lb test combo lying in the shallows of this pool, there was regular poaching with roe, and dead fish on the bottom, hence why I have hesitated to post about these fish.

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Observe, not snag and kill

(Below) A switch rod is highly recommended for these fish, and allows you to go and cast in some crazy places, and sometimes, just sometimes you are rewarded.

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(below) Such a nice pool to break a rod at

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The scenery alone is worth it every day, and that’s good because you will probably spend far more time looking at scenery than catching fish.

Elusive denizen of secret river “X”

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Typical small river summer canyon water

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If you only knew how many miles I hiked, drove, fell, stumbled and fell for these pictures, you might question the sanity of all steelheaders, unless you already know me then you probably already question my sanity.