Friday we took off bright and early heading for Cleveland. Thursday night a bunch of rain and storms had moved through St. Louis depositing several inches of water into our rivers and streams and they were all raging and out of their banks. We hoped that the same would not be true up in Ohio. We had been planning this trip a long time and just when it looked like we had our timing just right, the rains came.
I was getting reports from the Alley and things were deteriorating the closer we got to our destination. We stopped at the Cabela's in Columbus and talked to the guy in the fly shop and he showed us a website that gave great up-to-the-minute info on the condition of all the area rivers. It was great to get all that info except all that info sucked. We bought a few things and headed on to Cleveland trying to stay optimistic.
Thankfully, a new friend of mine here on the forum was also communicating with me and checking the water levels. After a quick check with him as we drove the rest of the 600+ miles gave us a glimmer of hope. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Glenn (lake flyer) for all of his help.
We got up on Saturday morning and found our way to the place Glenn suggested we get started. I was fishing away but still coming up empty in the chocolate milk colored water when I heard someone ask if I was Mike. It was great to meet and fish with another member of this great forum.
Rick (troutn) took this picture of me early on the first morning. It was in the mid-twenties and the water was 39*.
Shortly after Glenn arrived the moment I have been waiting for came. I got my very first steelhead. Yeah, I was kind of happy. Sorry if you don't like pictures with a dumb grin but I will love these for the rest of my life.
Glenn stood there with me as I caught at least three steelhead. I was telling him a story when I swung my black Zonker into a hard strike. I paused briefly as I set the hook and continued the story as I fought the fish in. Glenn thought it was kind of funny that I couldn't even let a great fight with a fish shut me up. Yeah, I talk too much sometimes. But, hey, I was excited.
I caught eight on Saturday. That far exceeded my expectations. I was planning on grinding it out for a few days to get one.
The second day we tried another creek and came up empty. So we headed back to the honey hole from Saturday for the evening. I only landed one but Rick and Steve caught a few more. I'm still trying to get all the pics and videos together. I'll add some more later.
On Monday we went back to the same creek again. We had to fish further downstream to avoid a crowd of meathunters that had surrounded a hole I was hoping to fish. It was ridiculous to see five people around a twenty foot hole with fish on stringers already. If a fish tried to get out of that hole he had nowhere to go. Too many feet were in the way.
We fished this small section of the creek and caught several fish all from the same tiny hole. The real highlight of the trip came on this day. We all three had fish on at the same time and landed them all. A triple hook-up is a lot of fun. There was a lot of boyish laughter coming out of us old men!
Here I am sitting down for a second to take a break. I didn't take a break for long. My backside was getting cold. This ice will be around for a while.
Here I am experiencing the thrill of victory.
And the agony of defeat.
I am officially addicted to steelhead fishing as of last Saturday morning. I am really grateful to have great friends to teach me to fish for this awesome species. I learned a lot this weekend and am looking forward to learning more.
Also, thanks to stlgeoff for holding that reel for me till I could afford to buy it. It served me well on one of my all-time favorite fishing adventures!