However if there is a will there is a way and hitching a ride with a logging crew we found our way into the upper part of the watershed above the reach of most other anglers. The water up here was a bit skinnier, and the river worked its way through a bit of a canyon so it looked like we were comitted to a spending a good portion of the day up here. However the water looked pretty good, with plenty of holding water so we got too it. The first few holes looked great and Craig and I took turns covering the prime lies, but didn't see any sign of fish.
Craig working a good looking pool
However before long we came to only of those spots that just screams steelhead and sure enough Craig spotted some. We worked this pod for a good while and I managed to get one fish to take before we lost sight of the ghostly steelhead that seemed to vanish from the hole.
Once we figured that the fish were either gone or spooked, we decided to move on and explore a bit more of this part of the river. However a great deal of hiking and exploring this part of the river only yielded one more decent looking spot, which in turn showed no signs of fish. At this point we were already starting to wear on the already short window of winter daylight that we had. So we decided to work our way out of the upper watershed and into some more familiar water.
Once we had worked our way into some waters that were a bit more familar for me, we made a stop at a corner where a nameless tribuatary joins the main river. The hole had treated me well in the past a low flows so we figured we would at least take a look. To say the least it didn't take overly long to spot some fish, as their was a good pod of around 10-15 steelhead holding in the tailout. Craig decided to act as the spotter and I made my way to the far side of the river where I would have a better approach. My first drift went right through the fish with no reaction whatsoever. My second drift got a bit more attention. While I remained out of sight and started it well upstream of the fish as soon as my fly got in range it looked as though a bomb had gone off with the affect of steelhead scattering in every direction. We wondered a the spookiness of these fish until we left the hole and found the remains of several fish in the next run downstream.
At this point we had one more shot at try to find some sort of fish and found another promising spot downstream a ways. I a little long jam that had newly formed this season, I finally got a solid take from a sizeable fish, but after one initial tug the fish tossed the fly and I was out of luck.
Or so I though, however just downstream I got another take and this time actually got a good hookset on the fish. Right away I could tell that this wasn't a steelhead as my switch rod quickly over power it. However a beautiful native cutthroat fresh from the saltwater was just as good to me at this point and was a great note to end the day on.