New Year’s Day. The first day of the year would be an auspicious occasion in which my first steelhead was landed (though it was the fourth that I hooked into). It is also the first chromer of the year and of the steelhead season. It is also the first steelhead hooked on a Fish Taco fly. This is how it all came about:
On a lovely, white New Year’s morning, I got up and head out about 9 am to the South Chagrin Reservation, and had some difficulty finding a place somewhat accessible owing to the snow cover. The white sky cast a gloomy, grey light over the snow covered ground, and snowflakes slowly danced their way down from their heavenly origin to the white blanket down below. I found a spot near Jackson Field that required an exhausting 1/2 mile hike through 4″ snow. I cast several times down a 1/4 mile stretch, which was unfortunately unproductive. This led to my decision to head over to the Rocky River.
I started at the bridge upstream from the marina, and after a few casts was met by another fisherman just arriving. He suggested that I resort to fly fishing in the spring as it is unproductive in the winter. I smugly informed him that I hooked into one on the fly just a half mile downstream one week before. He didn’t say anything after that. I plodded on, lost my purple and cherise maribou fly, then decided on a red Fish Taco with an orange butt and flash. I settled on the red over the purple because I felt I needed to get the attention of fish in this gloomy overcast weather.
Casting a few more times, I moved on to the bend of the river featuring a run and some varied transition water around a riffle. A very interesting part of the river. I usually start here because some other fishermen usually occupy the pool at the head of this run, and they never move from it. I’m glad to start at the run, because there is some oft overlooked parts of the river here. Moving toward the small pool on the inside of the bend, I start to get some hits, but very soft. I kept plodding on, making an adjustment here or there, changing my presentation just slightly. Wham! I got a solid strike, and a fish was on the other end of my line. Learning from my previous mistakes on setting the hook, I set the hook once, twice, and three times for good measure. Fish on! The game was afoot, and a 23″ hen broke the water a few times, made a short run, and before it could try for a second, I had finally landed my first steelhead! What an awesome achievement for the first day of the year!