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It was already in place , plans were made a couple days in advance , had the "go ahead" from the better half . Actually she noticed I was getting a little stir crazy and new the remedy , a day on the water , no pressure , just swingin' flies and some soul cleansing . So I reciprocated by waking up the kids , making lunches and getting them off to school , while she stayed sleeping . Once the kids were out the door to catch the bus and the kitchen was all cleaned up , it didn't take long to pack the truck and hit the road . Stopped in to a favorite coffee shop and grabbed a Sumatra and a breakfast sandwich for the drive , knowing I needed to slow down if I truly wanted to enjoy my day .
As I rounded the bend close to the entrance of the river access , I wondered if the gate was open .... if not , that would be a long walk . I was in luck , the gate was open , but the trail had seen better days !! Covered in snow , ice , mud and some sections flooded , I decided to put the Expedition to the test . I locked in the axles and a way we went , slow and steady , climbing the snow packed hills and through the flooded valleys .... no issues !! The Expedition may be pretty , but it can role in the mud with the best of them :hihi:

Walked along the path and gazed over the cliff to look at the state of the river .



It was at a good level , but I quickly noticed the streams of snow melt into the river below .... it was on the rise ... and by adding the snow melt , I knew the water temperature was dropping . This set the theme for the day , low and slow controlled swings . Off came the floater and on went the intermediate to break through the surface and control the slower swing and relieve the line of any added tension . So now I had the line method worked out , now what to swing ??

I came across a Snow Fly hatch and knew it was a good start



I started out with this variation of the Beauly Snow Fly that I tied in hand .



Hook: Partridge HE2 #2/0 (long Bartleet)
Tag: Medium french embossed tinsel
Body: Equal sections of blue and purple seal fur
Rib: Medium French embossed tinsel
Hackle: Black Heron (legal)
Wing: Bronzed peacock eye herl
Collar: Orange schallapen
Cheeks: JC nails
Head: Black

I started in my favorite run , a boulder laden section of the river that for me has always produced fish . A cast across and slightly down with a quick feed of extra line , then follow the line without tension until the line is direct with the tip and a slight down stream lay over for a nice , slow , controlled swing :smokin: Several casts later I reached the part of the run that has the highest concentration of large rocks . I could feel the line bouncing the tops of the rocks and knew I was swimming the Snow fly in between the rocky field . I felt a bump about mid-swing and immediately fed some line , as the line came tight and started to swing I felt a sharp jolt and my gear and pawl started to back-spin and the tip of my rod started to bounce uncontrollably . The pull was exhilarating and knew it was a good fish !! My Meiser seemed to act like a perfect shock absorber as the Olson growled back . Twice the fish came close to hand but both times I failed to tail it , being just out of arm reach making me look like a rookie . The chrome large shoulders overpowered the currents and it crossed the river to the rocky section where it made short work of my 10lb Maxima .... fish and fly lost .

I quickly collected myself , looped on another section of tippet and searched through my tubs to find the next offering . Back up to the top of the run and a seat on the bank while I ate my sandwich and planned my next run through . I could clearly tell the river was rising , but remained a decent clarity . I took another glance at the chosen fly . This time a variation of a fly that was shown by a frequent poster in this forum Brent .
The fly is the Rock Fodder with a slight variation , I added peacock swords , a light blue tag that is cross-ribbed with x-fine silver wire and used UV purple peacock for the wing slips .



Hook: Blue Heron #1 (re-shaped)
Tag: Silver tinsel and light blue floss , cross-ribbed with x-fine silver wire
Tail: GP crest , forked and long , veiled with flo. pink GP tippet
Body: Black seal , with throat of red seal
Rib: Medium silver French embossed tinsel
Body Hackle: Purple schallapen
Collar: Black heron (legal)
Wings: Peacock swords and UV purple peacock
Head: Black ostrich

I wish the fly had a different name because for some reason I couldn't get that B-52 song out of my head "Rock Lobster" :chuckle: As I approached the middle of the run , I wondered if I let the fly dangle long enough . Knowing the water was cold , I knew that steelhead will often follow the fly into the shallows and observe it . On the next cast I allowed the fly to sit on the dangle a little longer , pump once ... pump twice ... WHAM !! Reel screaming and my heart was keeping pace . This time the chrome flash on top was very noticeable , this fish was electric and it was unexpected that it cart-wheeled across the river .... that's when the fly came hurling back at me . But that did not dampen my spirit at all , my arms where raised as I belted out a large WAHOOOOOO !!!

I could see why the steelhead took this offering , very sexy when wet . Look at the swords in the wing and the POP of the veiling !!



It was a fun , relaxing day , I just wanted to share :)


Mike
 

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The Dude abides
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That rock lobster fly is killer bro. very cool story. I'd take any hookups at this point and you got 2. great stuff. those encounters are plenty to keep me goin. heck, your encounters half the country away are keeping me hungry. Looks like i need to hurry and wrap one of these frodin hooks and get it wet!!!

may i ask (i just did)... are you still fishing dry or was some sink added to this presentation?
 

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Nothing wrong with that, Mike!
thanks for sharing the story. I thought that fly looked familiar! Your variation looks and obviously is fishy as hell!
I love the blue purple variation of the Beauly, as well. The orange hackle is a nice touch.

btw, hook progress has been stagnant due to other projects. I'm hoping to have them done by the end of january, though.

hoping!

thanks again for sharing this!

Brent
 

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I'm sure my little subaru would have had no problem getting into the park...:chuckle:

The river is continuing to rise so I think it will be a while before it settles down. A few fresh fish should be coming in though.

Glad you got out.
 

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SHUT UP & FISH!
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I always count fish hooked then lost as successful while flyfishing.
my favorite days are the ones when im alone on the river whether fish are biting or not.
where I live I have to fish away from the crowd or the middle of very hot days to get away from the crowds.

I really like the pic of the river.
 

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Grandpa Howard
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You are killing me Mike, that last shot is over the top.
 

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Man, that's a great read. I can relate on the stir crazy part, having not had nearly enough fishing time in a while now. Hoping to remedy that over the holidays. Sounds like a fantastic day of winter steelheading to me, and hooking two hot fish makes it that much sweeter.
Thanks for sharing that, and the beautiful pics.
JB
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Preston , your little Sooby would be stuck on top the center rut and tires just a spinning :chuckle::chuckle: That would be funny , let me know when you're going ... Brayden you can drive with me :hihi:

Thanks friends for the kind words :)
It was an awesome day ... and definitely one of my more productive winter steelheading days too !!

Brent buddy , no pressure on the hooks my friend :)

Todd , I really had good intensions to try a skater , but once I seen the river conditions , I knew it would be a lost cause . Without confidence , we do not fish well , so in order to give all due respect to your skaters , it would have been unjust to go through the motions :)

Marty glad you like the wet shot too !! I really like to take a river shot with my flies so I can reference them later to see how materials blend together . This helps at the bench for sure .

Matt , I've put away the floaters for now . I'm a big fan of Steve Godshall's SGS Skandit lines , especially the multi-tip versions . In fact , with every new Meiser I purchase , Bob sends along one and I usually get Steve to make up the intermediate version right away . I was using an intermediate belly and 12' of Z-15 to get right down for a slow swing . The intermediate lines can be controlled easily because you do not fight the surface currents . The tip keeps sinking and the belly stays down under . It really is a fun way to fish :)

Really glad you guys like the photos and the story behind them :)


Mike
 

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Mike:
Getting steelhead grabs on a rising river is tough enuogh as it is, good for you on getting a couple hookups in tough conditions. I'm honored that gave my flies a thought when you have all those beauties in your box. Skaters would be a better bet on a dropping river, in milder conditions. At least you got to fish running water right?? I remember you telling me that your rivers typically freeze over!

Todd
 

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Thanks for understanding Todd ... make no mistake , I am very intrigued by your skaters and feel they are more than fish worthy , they are beauties :)
Typically , our rivers are stiff by now or well on the way . Last year at this time , there was a small channel to fish in the center .
We are very fortunate this year to still be swinging . It was a huge deal for me to get out yesterday as I typically miss out on all the fun .


Mike
 
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