Not for the weak.
With the onset of colder weather and freezing temperatures, comes the all too familiar lake effect that can kick up and dump 3″ of snow per hour (if not more) along the shores of the Great Lakes. For some this means it’s time to break out the snowmobiles, skis, snowboards, and other winter toys. For many like myself, it’s time to hit the tributaries in search of winter steelhead.
Fishing for steelhead in the dead of winter takes a certain kind of person. Some consider people who want to stand out in the cold for hours, just for the chance to hook one fish, a little crazy. I just call these people persistent and die hards. Regardless of your technique for catching steelhead, steelheaders all have something in common, dime bright chrome fish haunt our every thoughts until we can tangle with one again.
In recent years, the popularity of steelhead fishing has increased and your once “secret” spot is not so much a secret. This has a lot to do with the popularity of the internet and fishing forums. Everyone wants to brag about how many fish they caught and where they caught them, until they realize it was a bad idea because when they go to fish their “spot” it’s filled with ten of their closest internet fishing buddies.
The winter time still provides enough headache for others to stay off the water, so that you may have a peaceful fishing excursion and the possibility of a run all to yourself. There have been many days where I have walked into a run and had it all to myself for the majority of the day. By that point, I had fished it so hard I didn’t mind letting the next guy have a shot at it.
The river seams a bit more at peace in the winter. Even when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing sideways, there is something special about being out there when most others are sitting at home in front of the t.v. or fireplace.