After years and years of talk, we finally did it. Jamie and I traveled to Challis, Idaho, spending four days casting relentlessly for steelhead on the famed Salmon river. I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t easy, in fact much of the time felt like we were receiving a thorough beat-down, with the occasionally hooked sucker adding insult to injury. Flies were lost on underwater boulders, and we began wondering if these fish even existed, let alone would bite our flies.
We knew going in that the odds were stacked against us. Why would fish that have traveled some 800+ miles inland from the Pacific Ocean want to eat strike our flies? Do fish even make it this far inland? If they do, will the hordes of camo clad lawchair fishers fool them first? These are the things that run through your mind as you cast again and again to seemingly perfect water. Fortunately as dumb luck would have it, I managed to hook and land two fish while tight-line nymphing a fast seam on our last day.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I felt honored bringing these fish to hand. Amazed at their perservience; traveling amazing distances, eluding predators, navagating countless dams, rapids, etc. I couldn’t help but wonder what this river must have been like 100 years ago when the steelhead and salmon runs were so thick, folks harvested them with pitchforks….
A view of the Salmon river from our base of operations….
Find Nate. I’m doing my best to blend in with the surroundings…
One of many hotsprings in the area. Jamie and I relaxed in this one after long days of fishing
At last, a steelhead on the fly!
Close up of one of two fish that graced us with its presence