After dropping my wife off at work yesterday I made a quick decision to go chase some fish for the day. You see, I'm recently unemployed, and one of the first things I did with my new-found freedom was to meet a friend from Montana and head out to the OP for a week, and now I've been bit by that Steele bug. Pretty bad, really. I mean I'd always been keen on 'em, but to stand in the middle of fabled waters in the right conditions just knowing that the next cast might produce the fish of a lifetime; a wild winter-run OP steelhead... The hook had been set. I'd elaborate but in doing so would also be preaching to the choir, and I'm digressing anyway. Point being, I got Steele on the brain. The wifey's been working late a lot anyway so that bought me plenty of extra free time. There's a tidy little river that runs into the Columbia a little ways north of here so I decided to throw my gear in and hit it for the day.
The first place that had been suggested to me already had people in it so I moved on. I pulled off above there a little ways at a picnic/day use area to set up and prepare myself to capitalize on the day's potential. Immediately upon attempting to slide the tip section of my nymph rod out of the sock the tip broke off. Awesome. That's the second time I've broken that rod since steelhead fishing opened in October, and who knows how many times total. We all know how casting with a broken tip is, especially nymph rigs, and I could feel the day's potential withering already.
I made do. I fished some decent looking water here, swung a little bit there, but hardly did more than piddle around with each piece I stopped at. I was mostly annoyed with casting with a broken tip and not having found any really satisfying swing water yet. Later in the afternoon I decided I was done messing around with the whole nymph getup and moved upstream to one last spot that was supposed to have some decent swinging water. There was a big, deep hole where the river turned 90 degrees right where I parked and I got out to take a look, knowing full well that if fish were going to be holding anywhere it would be in there. Actually, I think my first thought was, "Damn, I'd like to snorkel this right now because I know there's more than a few fish hanging out down in there." I wasn't wrong. Almost immediately I spotted about four fish of varying sizes holding pretty tight, almost abreast of each other, deep, quartered downstream towards the bank in the ginormous eddy of the backwater. I figured as much, but didn't see much hope in enticing let alone even reaching those fish. So be it, I moved on.
Pure. Wild. Satisfaction.