Friday, January 14, 2011
I began to Fly fish new waters when I was in high school, back then I was just beginning to learn about dry flies, getting "dead drifts", and fly fishing in general. Everything was new , not just the waters that I had not fished pryor. Trout were something new as well, I was raised fishing for small steelhead on the Eel river in Northern California. We fished "wet flies", Silver Hiltons, Comets, Burlaps, and a number of Japanese tied flies , that were tied with very bright colored feathers, yellow, orange, and blue most with red collars in a wet fly style, and sold for .10 cents apiece. Fly fishing was a big sport along the Eel River, most of the small general stores sold flies near the cash registers, and most of the owners had a good idea of which flies were working due to emptiness of some of the fly bins.There were always a few local tyers who would sell their flies, usually for .50, these were more traditional fly patterns for steelhead. This was back in the late 1960's and very early in the 1970's, the Eel was considered one of the top steelhead rivers on the west coast. There were two runs, the Fall 1/2 pounder run that had a good # of first year fish with a mixture of 1st and 2nd year steelhead that ranged from 12 inches to a big one being maybe 22-23 inches.The average seemed to be 14-16 inches, of bright steel, very hard fighting small fish.The other run started in November and December, this was the famous "winter run", with big Steelhead, fish of 10lbs were not considered trophies, but were common. People would come far and wide in hopes of landing a "dime bright" steelhead of 20lbs.
I did not fish the winter run of fish until I was in high school, and had a jeep to make the trip out to the Fortuna-Ferndale section of the Eel. The weather always played a important part of puzzle of the winter run , It seemed like there was too much rain , or, not enough rain to bring the fish into the famous pools around Fernbridge. I did not spend alot of time out in the rain in pursuit of the great steelhead, but did catch the 1/2 pounder run for a number of years and learned the "down and across" method of getting a swing.
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