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Pryal74 has attached these 20 pictures. The message is below.
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First Steelhead of 2011.
First Steelhead of 2011.
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Gorgeous red buck.
Gorgeous red buck.
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I remember this morning... waking up at 4:30 to get there at sun up to find the unspooked fish and throwing them single egg pattern with no indicator.  Talk about waking you up! So much fun!
I remember this morning... waking up at 4:30 to get there at sun up to find the unspooked fish and throwing them single egg pattern with no indicator. Talk about waking you up! So much fun!
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Taking turns between net man and fly rod wielder equaled in excitement value on this small stream.  So much deadhead, downed or overhanging trees, logs etc.  Maybe one of the funnest 6 am trips ever.
Taking turns between net man and fly rod wielder equaled in excitement value on this small stream. So much deadhead, downed or overhanging trees, logs etc. Maybe one of the funnest 6 am trips ever.
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Giant hen.
Giant hen.
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Client Tony P. with a beautiful buck.
Client Tony P. with a beautiful buck.
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So ugly... he's beautiful.
So ugly... he's beautiful.
Pryal74January 20th, 2012, 9:14 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 167
These are some of the Steelhead we landed in 2011. In Feb I will be hitting our local rivers with greater frequency, but not on a day like today -6 degrees. It's not as enjoyable and the fish are turned off by the cold temps. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
FalsiflyJanuary 20th, 2012, 9:49 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 655
Damn those Lyin Eyes.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
DoublespeyJanuary 20th, 2012, 10:29 pm
Posts: 61The shape of that last redside looks like a native rainbow. Some steelhead do have that stocky appearance, and look like resident rainbows.
GldstrmSamJanuary 20th, 2012, 11:19 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Very neat!! You are making my casting finger itchy.

There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
PaulRobertsJanuary 22nd, 2012, 12:31 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1774
Great lakes "steelhead" are a mix of mykiss. Some are/were pure anadromous stock, and some non-anadromous domestic (hatchery) rainbow stock. And then they've become mixed in hatcheries and in natural spawning as many GL tribs produce "naturalized" additions. The "domestics" as we called them were notably shorter/stockier (some nearly round!), with "pure" anadromous fish being much longer.

There's also a male coho in those pics above.
JesseJanuary 23rd, 2012, 12:11 am
Posts: 378
Great photos i love to see them!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
Pryal74January 23rd, 2012, 11:23 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 167
@PaulRoberts, the Great Lakes do have a wide variance of sizes and shapes of Steelhead. We have them run in our rivers here in all season. The summer run Skamania come and are gone within a few days usually. The anadromous ones you mentioned are the original strain taken from the west coast and started here back in the mid to late 1800's. They have that long sleek profile. The later stocked O. Mykiss have that solid, thicker build.

You noticed that Coho, good eyes. I didn't even realize it. The river we fished, I have NEVER seen a coho in it and it's not known to hold them. I'll research that when I get a chance.

I also noticed that Lake Michigan strains of Steelhead seem to be the most variant in size and shape over Lake Superior. They also seem to grow much bigger. It's common to catch Steelhead over 12 pounds in Lake Michigan tribs and an 8 pounder from Lake Superior tribs, would in fact be a giant.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
PaulRobertsJanuary 24th, 2012, 11:11 am
Colorado

Posts: 1774
Yeah, Superior is different. I've never been but from what I've gathered about it the steelhead sizes are due to overall trophic status and temperature. Also, I've read there are naturalized strains there, in good numbers, that survived from VERY early stocking. This is likely true in all the GL's (except probably Erie), and there are stories of small runs pre-dating the 1960's and 70's "introductions". Fish of all sorts were planted just about everywhere during the late 1800's -most of those records if kept at all are lost. Surviving records by themselves indicate that almost everything you can imagine was tried at least once.

Don't know what the current status of Coho stocking is. They were the "initial" introduction in the 1960's. I LOVED them when I fished the Lake Ontario tribs. They were aggressive and spectacular, compared to Chinooks. Even rotting ones would chase a wet or streamer at times, from which I would quickly yank my fly away not wanting to have to handle the fungus covered monstrosities. But they could be very pretty prior though. One year they were exceptionally large (numbers from 12-14lbs) and due to early rains we had them to ourselves. For a period of a week or so we found pods off a small trib, riding waves to nose into the inflow, and we could see them riding up in the waves, silhouetted within. We began swinging wet flies up the swells and, they being Coho's, would chase. There on the lake front they had room to run, and jump. Gosh, they were fun.
EntomanJanuary 24th, 2012, 4:21 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hey Paul,

I agree that the Silver is a much better game fish. What they lack in size, they more than make up for in their love for chasing flies. Did you ever try surface poppers?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Pryal74January 24th, 2012, 5:40 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 167
@PaulRoberts, the Coho in Superior are plentiful but not that large as well. 12 to 14 pounds would be phenomenal. I have yet to wrangle one (a real one) on a fly rod. maybe I'll make sure I find one this year. Superior tribs (as far as I know, might be one) you can't fish them while making their spawning runs. I know a few streams where they spawn. I catch their fry one small dries on one river but they are so small they usually fall off on the way in.

I have witnessed Steelhead doing that (just not in those numbers) on a small stream here off of Lake Michigan. My brother and I couldn't believe it. We didn't even get out rods out of the car, we just sat and watched them for hours. That does sound like crazy fun. Coho's always seem to put on a good show.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
PaulRobertsJanuary 24th, 2012, 5:57 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1774
Hey Paul,

Did you ever try surface poppers?

No! Oh my!
EntomanJanuary 24th, 2012, 6:17 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Too bad as I would have loved to hear about your experiences. Anybody else? They're a big deal in Canada and Alaska; I'm just curious if they work in the Mid-west.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchJanuary 24th, 2012, 7:54 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2391
When I went to Alaska in August I had seen a video for the lodge we went to of a silver eating an all red, or maybe it was pink, popper. I tried them a few times to no avail but another guest tried and caught a silver while I was there. You throw it out and just keep chugging it back to you - no pauses.

I don't know how to add a live link but here is one you can copy and paste.

http://www.lakemarie.com/Surface%20fishing/Surface%20fishing%20for%20silver%20salmon.html
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanJanuary 25th, 2012, 12:19 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Naa... Just click on it guys. Thanks for the link, Matt.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GldstrmSamJanuary 25th, 2012, 2:01 am
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
That was a really interesting link Matt. You hooked me on surface fishing for silvers.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
WbranchJanuary 25th, 2012, 9:11 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2391
BTW this lodge had no water close enough to fish on your own in the morning or evenings after dinner. All of the rivers were at least one mile from the lodge over very muddy roads, and I use the term road very loosely. Two deep ruts in a mud trail might be a more apt description. A couple of times the two wheel drive pickup truck got mired in the mud to the frame and the guests had to walk a mile, or more, in and then sometimes walk all the way back to the lodge at night if the vehicle hadn't been dug out yet.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GutcutterJanuary 26th, 2012, 9:36 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
In a "not so secret", but (relatively) lightly fished river that drains into the Gulf of Alaska, there are silvers that LOVE to smash topwater flies.
I spent five consecutive seasons chasing them and then had to cancel my last trip - one that I scheduled with my wife, three months after we were married. That trip was supposed to begin on September 13th, 2001.
Fathering four beautiful children over the next five years, I haven't been able to make it back, but I will. I will bring my boys.

With the boys,standing waist deep in the glacially influenced stream, I will point out the target, fifty feet away, slightly downstream and close to the opposite bank.
Although I'll only be thigh deep, I can't get them any closer.
They will double haul a Winston seven weight with a floating line and straight 15 pound fluorocarbon.
And they will let the pink deer hair wog drift over the pod of fresh chromers.
On the swing, they will accelerate the fly and give a few twitches.
They will look for the shadow, and then see the wake behind the fly.
After a few misses, they will learn to strip set as the dime bright buck smashes the ugly, yet beautiful, magenta fraud.
My boys will hold on for dear life, trying to remember to bow to the fish as he leaps to a height three or four times his body length and then splashes down into the water with more force than is needed to flush one of Spence's stories down the crapper.
I hope that they will try to remember to breathe.
I'll be there to tail the fish for them and to remember what it was like the first time I ever was lucky enough to catch a 15 pound silver on a dry fly.


A few hundred of those takes later, I still see that shadow...
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
OldredbarnJanuary 27th, 2012, 11:32 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2585
My boys will hold on for dear life, trying to remember to bow to the fish as he leaps to a height three or four times his body length and then splashes down into the water with more force than is needed to flush one of Spence's stories down the crapper.
I hope that they will try to remember to breathe.


That's some powerful fish there Tone! :)

About the breathing part...They won't. But you know they will eventually somewhere between their pounding heart-beats...:) Tony, you can wax poetic when you want to...

Paul...Don't worry about the poke at Spence...Tony and I are old denizens of pick-up hockey locker rooms and that's actually a sign he gives-a-damn. :)

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsJanuary 27th, 2012, 4:05 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1774
Paul...Don't worry about the poke at Spence...Tony and I are old denizens of pick-up hockey locker rooms and that's actually a sign he gives-a-damn. :)

Spence

Hmmmm...
I'll have to take your word for it.

EntomanJanuary 27th, 2012, 10:06 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
SO... Nobody's tried them in the Mid-west?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
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