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Washington SteelheadWashington Steelhead Video

Five Hundred Miles, roughly the distance from Maine to Pulaski or Denver to Salt Lake City, is a distance that takes 3 months to travel when swimming over numerous dams and avoiding various predators. This is where I was for the last week, the final destination for some 10,000 Summer Run Steelhead in Northeast Washington. The Summer Run consists of Wild Native Fish, Wild Hatchery Fish and Hatchery Fish, which you are ordered to kill so they do not reproduce with the Native Steelhead. The plan was to swing dry flies with Spey Rods and try to get a few on the surface. Although we did hook one up top the cooler weather made the fish a little less willing to come up. We would swing a dry through a run first to see if there were any takers then bust out the nymph sticks to see what was on the bottom. Most of our fish came on stoneflies and other big natural nymphs with rubber legs but we did get one on the swing. Screaming runs followed by a series of jumps and head shakes was the scene after a hook up. We did notice that some fish fought harder than others and it was brought to our attention that these were the fish that hadn’t been hooked yet. When we would have one of these tougher battlers on we would yell “never been kissed” hence the title. On our second day we hooked over 20 Steelhead and landed over 15 making it our best Steelhead day ever. This was the day that I was introduced to the TUG, after nymphing a couple fish out of a run I grabbed a 7 weight Spey Rod and started practicing my Snap T. I’ll never forget it, I made a decent cast that landed just in front of this boil and as the fly swung through I got the TUG and was hooked up to my very first Spey Steelhead. It was the loudest that I have yelled in a long time, shouting with excitement down the river. It was a Wild Native that fell for the swing and after releasing it all I could talk about was that TUG. It was an amazing trip that I will certainly make again. A totally different steelhead experience than what I am used to, the high Mountain Desert and sunny weather didn’t feel right. I was looking for snow, rain and cold. But, I could get used to it.