My last work assignment had me back down in South-Central Washington tagging a few coho salmon. However it working with fish all day, sometimes just isn't enough so after my shift I made a point of exploring some new waters. My first place to explore was a beautiful little meandering meadow stream that I had driven by day in and day out when I was down here tagging Chinook salmon, but it had been closed then. Now I finally had my chance to check it out.
The meadow stream
It didn't take long to hook into something but the first fish, which was a brook trout by the looks of him threw the hook mid jump. However shortly after I hooked into a decent sized trout and brought a rainbow to the net.
A chunky hatchery rainbow
Apparently this stream is managed as a put and take fishery and all of the fish that I encountered were cookie-cutter rainbows, that oddly enough my 1wt seemed to quite easily out match. These fish were a bit reluctant to rise to a dry fly, but were suckers for a sunken dry stripped back in at the end of a the drift. The beautiful surroundings kept me fishing for a while, but before long the lack luster rainbows lost their appeal and a long day of work finally caught up with me.
The next day I decided to explore some bigger water and headed for the local river, which is well noted for its rubust summer-run steelhead. I picked a canyon stretch that I had been eye-balling on my last trip over and found a few decent pieces of water to try.
The road into the canyon
I did a combination of nymphing and swinging, but the water was still a bit high and off color and all that I was able to coax out of the first spot were a few smolts. However on the way out a I got a bit more excitement then the smolts had to offer, in the form of a rattlesnake that decided to cruise right past me on my way up the trail.
A stream-side visitor
As is more common then not when fishing for steelhead, I wasn't able to find any fish but fishing beautiful water was plenty for me.
Vacant steelhead water
I fished my last spot of the trip on the way home. This smaller piece of water is known to have a healthy population of native redbands as well as a few westslope cutthroat in its upper reaches. Time didn't allow for a visit to the headwaters of the stream, but it didn't take long to find some nice redbands in the stretch that I picked.
A spunky redband
This was one of those streams where every fishy looking spot seemed to house several decent trout, all of which appeared to be keen on the dry fly that I was offering them.
I worked my way upstream wet-wading and casting dries into every likely pocket. While their size was nothing special, being between 6-8" on average, all of the fish were brilliantly colored and hard fighting, with some of the larger ones actually managing to take a little bit of line.
A beautiful and vividly colored native Columbia Basin redband
Given that I had a long drive ahead of me and had already spent most of the day at work though, I had to limit my exploration of this stream to about a mile of great water before I was forced to head back to my car and hit the road.