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B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Don't be afraid to try anything
by Bob Waldhaus

Steelhead fishing is a very rewarding fishery. The Steelhead have long been renowned for their great battles and are always a challenge to catch. Many of us Steelheaders spend hours tying up leaders and gear in attempt to attract these finicky fish. I know myself, I constantly read and research tips and tricks and different techniques to get these fish to bite. I read how presentation is so important and to ensure your bait is as real (natural) looking as possible..

Last year we made our annual trip over to the Vedder River. There is a group of 4 of us who have started to make this an annual event. My buddy who is relatively new to steelheading was making the trip for the first time, he was also the least experienced in Steelheading and really relied on us for advice. We both began fishing regularly for steelhead over the past 3 years and he was new to the fishery and had about 6 Steelhead to his name over that timeframe. Myself , I grew up fishing on the river but was again spending more time on the river in the winter months. Living on Vancouver Island we have access to beaches that are home to Ghost Shrimp so two days before our trip we made a late evening trip down to the beach to get us some of these little critters which I was told was dynamite to use on the Vedder for Steelhead. We also cured some Roe and felt we had all the ammunition to have a very productive weekend. We arrived on the Vedder river the first Saturday of March to find the bank loaded with anglers. We spent the morning throwing everything we had into the river. We carefully rigged our Ghost shrimp as instructed by the local fish experts and felt it would only be a matter of time before the action started. That's turned out not to be the case. All 4 of us never touched a fish all morning. We tried small roe bags we had just tied up the night before, we used the hot pink worm everyone said would be very effective, corkies, Jensen eggs, you name it , we tried it. The river was slow in producing fish for any of the anglers we ran into. We walked 5 miles of river and never saw a fish caught. We decided to go into town for lunch, we stopped by the local fish store to get some more advice, bought a few more "hot" lures on the recommendation of the store experts and headed out again that afternoon. 3 more hours of fishing and not 1 fish was touched by any of us. That seemed to be the story for everyone that day. Sunday morning we were early to rise and back to the river we headed. Our plan was to fish until 11am and head for the ferry. For 4 hours we hit every spot on that stretch of river, again we were not having any luck what so ever. Me and my buddy decide to hit one last spot before we would pack up and head for home. He reached into his fishing vest and pulled out a small container which contained some old roe bags he had sitting in his freezer for the past 2 years. I told him that those old roe bags looked sad, they looked freezer burnt and in my experience, fresh is best and I didn't give him much hope of that freezer burnt roe bag doing much of anything. We'll that's where I was dead wrong. He made about 3 casts into the river when all of a sudden many of the anglers along that stretch of river could hear my buddy yell "FISH ON". Sure enough he was into a fish, not just any fish, a real beauty. He fought that monster for 15 minutes prompting many of the close by anglers to reel in and watch the battle he was having. After a long fight he got it to shore, 5 other anglers had gathered round to see the reward. It was a 20+ pound silver beauty. It was the biggest Steelhead I have ever seen. My biggest ever was 14lbs and my buddy who was fairly new to Steelheading just caught a trophy Steelhead he will never forget. I would have never believed that what he threw at those fish would ever be successful, but it sure was. It taught me never be afraid to try anything. You never know!

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