The Addictive Allure of the Steelhead's Tug - Photos for the New York Times

Spend a rainy day a few months back chasing down steelhead in the Deschutes River.  My partners were fly fishing devotees, Chris Santella, author of 50 Places to Fly Fish Before you Die (guess I can cross one of them off my list) and environmental lawyer Dave Moskowitz, the Executive Director for the Deschutes River Alliance.  These gentlemen spend 40 to 50 days on the river each season, knee deep in the rushing water, waiting for the fish to get irritated enough to make their move.  For steelhead rarely feed once they are in the river, rather they seem to take a fly as an act of aggression. Even if they are present where you are fishing, they have to be in the mood (presumably, a bad mood) to bite.  For these reasons days will sometimes pass with not a single acknowledgement of even their presence, making their elusivity all the more attractive to those that seek a challenge.  This was much of the case on our day in the water, broken up by beer and a variety of fish tales from both men.  As the sky grew dark, and I grew cold, Chris got the solitary respite of the day, a sharp tug on his line. He lifted his rod, exactly the wrong thing to do, and the fish was gone, never even seen.  As we headed home, both men planned their next trip out.  For myself, thwarted from even a single glimpse during an assignment where that was the only goal, I declined, and tried not to curse the fish.  You can read the full story of our adventures, here in the New York Times.20130927_steelhead_00620130927_steelhead_010 20130927_steelhead_016 20130927_steelhead_018 20130927_steelhead_026 20130927_steelhead_029

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