A couple seasons ago I swapped fly rod for camera and followed my friend, Rich Zellman as he cast for winter-run steelhead. Over countless days, eye traced rod's path, over and over again. And over again. This is what came of that effort.
So to date I’ve spent about 20 days skating dry flies for summer-run steelhead on the North Umpqua River. In June of 2007 I rose one fish. That’s all the action I’ve had. For all my non-steelhead fishing friends, you should know that while this may sound like a masochistic endeavor, it isn’t. Or maybe it is…I don’t know. Anyway, there is something incredibly important hidden in a fishless day spent on the North Umpqua.
Now, if you’re a river ace like “North” guide, Rich Zellman, however, you sorta defy the norm. Go hang out with him and sooner rather than later you will see an Umpqua steelhead up close.
To raise a steelhead on a dry is one thing, but to get footage of it is kind of a big deal. Look closely at the seemingly blank swings in the last half. On three separate casts fish visibly dart to the fly and turn away without breaking the surface. If I hadn’t had the vertical perspective, we never would have noticed.
Getting to see this behaviour provides no extra clue as to what the steelhead is thinking.
A documentary about a mother, father and daughter growing up in the back country of British Columbia. 34 years later the mother/daughter team are still working harder than ever operating a world class Steelhead Lodge in Northern B.C. Here is part 1 from Catch Magazine’s November issue. Camera work and editing by Todd Moen.
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