Go Now (Tomorrow may be too late)

Tom makes it a habit to be at the right place
at the right time.

When is the best time to go steelhead fishing? A question we hear often, that depending upon who you ask, supports answers that tend to raise more questions. The following reveals where our heads are at and may or may not help shed some light for those in question.

I recently received a call from my good friend Tom, coastal steelhead guardian, “Come now, tomorrow will be too late. “The hype and tone of his voice got the juices flowing. Tom is a north coast resident and lifelong devoted steelhead junkie that has invested over three decades of fishing his neighborhood. He is rare talent and knows waters, conditions and fish like few others. When he main lines us with glowing prospects it’s full on, Tom has never cried wolf.

GB and Snow White.

My first thoughts were sure, great timing, right in the heat of our annual inventory and I’m supposed to drop and jam to the coast. As I dug deeper into the back stock of feathers and hooks, blowing counts and brain drained over ripening coastal conditions, number crunching and inventory strangely became low priority; his call haunted me. Pat also heard the conversation and was on it from the get go, been there done that, “Go; get out of here you’re doing more harm than good and drive’n me crazy. Fortunately, after 30 yrs., she knows the drill and her advice was just the language needed to satisfy my temptations and desires. A quick call to my brother, to deliver the word and surprisingly within 10 minutes we were set to blast off to the west side.

It’s better to be lucky than good. Remarkably, this trip, everything came together and our last minute blast and cast proved to be outstanding and successful. Great company, minimal pressure, prime river conditions, willing fish and beautiful scenery. Sounds too good to be true, if you only know how many times we’ve been victimized by inclement weather and blown river conditions. As usual, Tom was right on, one more day would have been too late. Fishing was short lived. That night a low pressure arrived and blew out the river.

Fresh ‘n Flawless.

Coastal steel was in the air. Kit had just cancelled his annual Tule Lake hunting trip and also received a call from his good friend and Smith R. fishing companion, Justin, indicating solid coastal activity was brewing. Well aware these fish don’t wait for those who drag their heels, Kit was out the door, boogied a four hr. drive and in the line-up that afternoon. His devoted efforts were rewarded with tidewater chrome; a slab of a lifetime. Kit is still in a daze and like most other steelheaders desiring more; a passion that becomes deeply embedded and progressively gets worse. The only fix or sure cure is another jolting grab.

Kit-up from tidewater.

So, when is the best time to go steelhead fishing? Well, how successful do you want to be? How often do you get a shot at steelhead? How many more steelhead seasons will you be fortunate to experience? Steelhead seasons are never long enough and windows of opportunity are brief. Success is largely related to timing and one’s ability to take advantage of favorable conditions whenever possible. It helps to be a bit crazed, driven by the pursuit and lured by the mystic to simply go for it, especially if a reliable source calls you out. If they do, no questions asked, its pedal to the metal. Speaking of favorable conditions, currently a stable high pressure system has settled in Nor Cal, for the next week, and most all coastal rivers are dropping into prime conditions. Feel’n lucky? Then what are you doing sitting around reading this flap-jaw. Go cash in at your favorite steel mill!!!

Extreme fly fishing
Ma-Ma said they’d be days like this-Dbl. Backing Run.