A semi-coherant collection of ramblings,misdealings, and Tom Foolery experienced in pursuit of Great Lakes Steelhead.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
T on the upper
I'd been looking forward to this morning for the last month. Today was to mark the first time my youngest was to float the river with me for some steelheading action. The weather forecast had me concerned. With a fair amount of rain in the mix and a 12 year old on board I wasn't sure how the morning would play out. The temps were still predicted to be unseasonably warm but throw in a good downpour and I could quickly see my fishing partner's spirits turn and the inevitable request to go home surface.
We launched to a river with minimal pressure. The rifle deer season has certainly taken the main focus of the outdoors demographic away from the river. We started out the morning with a couple of chunky browns and Taylor handled them perfectly. We worked our way down to some favoured water where I lost a steelie on my first pass through. The second pass produced a very handsome football brown that Taylor played perfectly to my awaiting hands.
A few more passes and Taylor hooks up proclaiming "Daddy I got one help!" By the tone in her voice and the followup "HELP!" I knew it was a steelie. Looking up from my rowing seat I could see the fish was screaming down river. Taylor was doing awesome at keeping her rod up high and the line tight at all times. I pulled the anchor and the chase was on. We must have dropped and pulled the anchor 4 or 5 times before being in a position to make an honest attempt at landing the fish. By now we could start to get brief glimpses of the creature. It was an awesome 6-7 lb double stripe buck. Taylor was getting exhausted and ready for the workout to end. She made an initial swing towards the net. I just about had the beast in the net when the fish shot like a bullet back into the emerald depths. Soon he was heading under the boat and my worst fears came to reality. He was wrapped around the anchor rope. Hanging over the back of the Hyde I made a desperation attempt at freeing the fish from the rope when the leader broke and the fish was on his way after a farewell jump beside us. Taylor took it like a champion. I tried to keep my composure but it really affected me. I wanted that fish so bad for my little girl. She earned it and couldn't have made me more proud . She shook it off like she had caught a million steelhead when in fact this would have been her first of any size.
We continued on with our float. By now there was a constant drizzle and we were starting to get saturated. I could tell Taylor was starting to lose interest. With a longing to see a previously discussed Beaver Damn she kept her desire to return to the launch hidden. I managed to land a nice 5lb hen and my net girl Taylor once again surprised her Dad with an outstanding net job. She actually took the liberty to tell her Dad she was better at it than me. I think Red and Arn would attest to that after the net fiasco from a couple of weeks back. After loosing another lenghty battle with a giant buck at the top of the Tunk hole we decided to motor down to the Beaver Dam and then call it a day.
By the time we returned to the launch we were a couple of drowned rats. The temp had dropped a little and Taylor was getting chilled. She didn't complain and helped her dad get the Hyde back on the trailer. The new Goodyear Wranglers made short work of the ramp and soon it was coffee and hot chocolate time at the Brethren EZ-Mart before setting our course for the cabin. Taylor was a trooper out there today and made her dad proud. Although the steelhead had the upper hand today we still managed to find them and I can't think of a better way to have spent a rainy late November day.