August 12 and the first fall steelhead are showing at customary places in the valley. I’ve been intermittently snorkeling a couple of reaches: watching the spring run Chinook move up as the flows dropped in early July. I saw my first steelhead in late July – two adults skirting around me in the faster water. Today a pair sat on a tailout in the broad heat of the day – I could have duped one of them with a skating fly at dark if I had brought a rod and waited it out – but no regrets – plenty of time. Otherwise, a couple of fish were spotted in the faster water where spotting was difficult. Typical smaller adults, but the harbinger of the upcoming fall. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for a cool down for a couple of days to bring on more comfortable water temperatures. August 19 is my magic day when a weak front passed over, cooling things down and unleashing a wave of biting fish. Thus, we sit one week away from the potential kickoff of fall steelhead season. Maybe sooner, maybe later. Much summer still looms. Will do another snorkel pass next week and see how things are progressing….
Of note was the fact that the fish were holding in faster water – not surprising, but I didn’t see fish in the belly of the runs where I’ve come accustomed to focusing effort. These high lies probably reflect water temperature and need for cover and my own desire to fish the “easier” water in the bucket of the run.