Explaining the Insanity: Winter Steelhead

Standing in a frozen river, covering giant amounts of water, and doing it all alone is not many people’s idea of a hobby, much less an obsession.  But it’s what winter steelhead fly fishermen do whenever they have the opportunity.  Following the video “One in Winter,” Ryan Peterson attempts to put in words the obsession with one of the most romanticized fish.

“You might also be regaled by the legend that high-seas commercial fishermen rarely intercept steelhead as bycatch in their nets, suggesting a steelhead’s epic peregrinations are committed to solo, without friends in schools. They’re lone wolves out there, mysterious and supremely noble in the icy gray – the ultimate, fitting match for someone unimpressed by the listlessness of day-to-day society.”

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  • Denmc

    I’ve always wondered about what happens to Steelhead at sea, and have never seen nor heard of any ever being caught, either on rod or in a net. Has there ever been a study on this to any degree? Have there ever been any tagged and tracked as to determine their range, etc? Are there any DFG rules and regs for their protection at sea? What the heck are these “lone wolves” up to out there? Thanks, DM

  • Anonymous

    I have seen them for sale, but I believe these are farm-raised or hatchery steelhead caught by Native Americans.  They are caught by salmon fishermen in AK incidentally and are often confused with silver salmon which run at the same time in the fall and are about the same size.  So they may get accidentally processed and sold as such.