Steelhead: Remember This?

Remember this? Wow.What a change a few weeks make.  Going steelheading tomorrow with Rick Hammer and Chris Beeksma. In 68°F weather. What could ensue?

We know one thing. Hammer doesn't like marching around in the woods with waders on when it's over 50°F out there. "I chafe," he mumbles. But that's not the issue (thank all that's holy).

I was supposed to be on Lake of The Woods this week, but nobody up there could find any pike in the, uh, oddly open water. Hmm.

Look at my previous post. Panfish not where they have been at ice-out for 22 years. Of course, ice-out occurred earlier than it has for, uh, 22 years. Hmm.

What will steelhead think about weather warmer than anybody can remember this time of year?

Will they:

A/ Punt? Stay in the big lakes and absorb their eggs?

B/ Come in en masse and spawn everywhere, like a silver tsunami?

C/ Enter the river in waves through May (sometimes early June), as they do in "normal" years?

Past experience tells me B is the answer. But, then again, I'm prejudiced (and, my gray beard ratting me out, completely inexperienced with a spring this strange). I hate A and love C, so I'm likely to hope for the best and pick B. But that's hardly anything to hope for. Urgent runs of steelhead are frustrating. Running fish don't bite, and spawning fish are off limits (for me) in streams where natural reproduction occurs. Urgent fish can ram up river 40 to 80 miles, spawn, and leave the river within 48 hours. Barely time to tip your hat.

Day length. Probably why pike guides can't find pike and guys like me can't find bluegills this year. (Why do I find it necessary to keep writing about that?)

But a friend of a friend caught 22 steelhead 48 hours ago in a stream we're targeting like a heat-seeking missle. Gone now? Darn. But maybe we'll catch fire there or on another river, Hammer chaffing all the way. He'll get used to it. Pretty soon the rainbows will spawn side-by-side with the browns.

Then what? Experts Gord Pyzer likes to quote predict dire things for salmonids and other fish that require cold water.

On the bright side, we'll probably find some morells. (If they're fast learners.)

We are the stuff of stars, said Carl Sagan. Which is literally true. We would not exist without the exhumations of stars that exploded billions of years ago, providing the basic components of our bodies, our brains, and all the fish of all the seas of the world.

But, shouldn't the "stuff of stars" know when to err on the side of caution? Stay tuned. The fish still look bright and healthy, according to Scott and Marty Glorvigen, on their annual steelhead safari across Michigan, kicking butt and taking names, driving 10 times farther every day than the atmosphere extends above our heads.

We may find something.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Spring Walleye Fishing Tackle Choices

Steve Ryan - October 19, 2017

Spring walleye fishing often means large numbers of fish concentrated in small areas.

Boats & Motors

Technical Notes: Calculating Prop Performance

In-Fisherman - May 01, 2019

In-Fisherman Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula


Navionics adds SonarChart Shading to its Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography

In-Fisherman - April 29, 2019

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

See More Stories

More Trout & Salmon

Trout & Salmon

Lefty Kreh: The Man Behind The Legend

King Montgomery - May 05, 2015

Lefty Kreh passed away March 14th, 2018. In the world of fly-fishing, Lefty Kreh stands out...

Trout & Salmon

Matching The Hatch For Selective Trout

Cathy Beck - May 05, 2015

We can spend a lot of money on a fine fly rod and reel, but in the end it's the fly that...

Trout & Salmon

Western King Salmon

In-Fisherman - January 25, 2016

How many king salmon run the Columbia & Snake rivers and their tributaries varies each

See More Trout & Salmon

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.