At “The River” with “Steelhead Steve”

It’s fun fishing with people who aren’t as skilled as you because you feel really good about yourself. But it’s also good to be reminded of just how much you have to learn.
I’ve only been steelhead fishing for about two years, so I am maybe approaching the intermediate level. The years my buddies and I went steelhead fishing in California were more about camping and standing in a river. The runs were devastated. The river access, a joke. The two main access points on our chosen river were at a private campground that had two nice bends in the river (but the fish usually motored up past it), and a recreation area.
There were a couple of pictures of big steelhead at the general store on the campus of the campground, but it was old. I think the guy was wearing a “Dewey for President” shirt and it wasn’t a clever joke on a vintage T-shirt. So yeah, it was a nice fish, but “was” said everything you needed to know about the current fishing report.
The second access point was named Steelhead Beach, which is perfectly named, because you can always find schools of people swimming or throwing sticks into the water for their dogs. But we went anyway. You do those sort of things when you’re just starting out as a flyfisher. You get to some water, any water, and try. You find that it is possible to be out there for a couple hours just trying to get the fly to go where you want it – and enjoying yourself. The funny thing is you spend more time backcasting than actually fishing which is fine if you’re trying to catch birds.
Anyway, when a guy we’ll call Steelhead Steve invited me on a trip to a river we’ll call The River, I was psyched.

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