A work in progress
Steelhead anglers are a "work in progress"
In September 1975, I spent 13, fishless hours casting a black rooster-tail spinner in Elk Creek. That was the standard presentation, or so I was told, to catch Coho or Chinook salmon. Eventually after several trips, I managed to catch a few Chinooks by pumping air into a nightcrawler and floating that bait just off the bottom of the Walnut Creek channel.
Another part of my past experience, was putting up with those little, pesky, rainbow trout that would steal my bait. Well now the salmon are long gone and those pesky little trout are running the show!
If you are old enough to have lived through the steelhead "boom" years, you participated in or heard stories of 50 to 100 fish days. Yes, some are a bit of a stretch, but not by much.
In 1988, a young chemical engineer changed the face of trout fishing forever. Combining a formal education in chemistry and a lifelong interest in angling, Pure Fishing research scientist John Prochnow created a national fishing phenomenon: PowerBait.
How would you like to have been the first steelhead angler to cast a wad of PB into the surf at Trout Run? Some anglers who did so told me it was magical. The steelhead catching was measured by the dozens.
My formative years were spent fishing from the Walnut Creek pier with an egg sac/marshmallow combo fishing on the bottom. Even today, I still like bottom bumping with egg sacs. I now fish jigs, nymphs, egg patterns, real single eggs, egg sacs, egg sacs with floaters, and the occasional spoon or spinner. It has been several years since I rolled a wad of PB on a hook, but I still have several jars stowed away in a tackle box just in case!
I like to think that one day I will eventually do more fly angling for steelhead. I have also been invited to try my luck at center pinning. In both new options, I need expensive equipment and the patience to develop new skills. Since I am a cranky, impatient, old-dog and living on a fixed income, I do not hold out much hope of putting down the noodle rod and picking up a 14-foot center pin outfit!
Every time we fish each of us hone our fish-catching skills and expand our understanding of the sport.
Experienced or first-time steelhead anglers are a work in progress.