The Winter Steelheader

The Winter Steelheader

 Passion meets Courage (The WinterSteel Header of 2013) 

Courage: think about that word for a moment. When we use that word what do we think of? Is it a story of someone saving someone’s life? Or some bold, daring rescue maybe? The passage is titled this because any man who is truly passionate about Steelhead fishing must have some courage to fish in the winter time. Only a man with a burning passion or desire could pursue a fish when freezing temperatures would send any other person packing for the car or staying home. All this comes with a price, though. A wintertime Steelheader will tell you it’s not easy.Where you could spend all day freezing or spend the day very cold, wet, and miserable. It’s not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. What drives a man to endure these kinds of conditions Only to suffer and catch nothing all day or catch his quarry only to release it. A madman some people say.

But those willing to brave the elements or accept the challenge, the rewards can be great on many levels. My favorite reaction is when you stop at the gas station pulling a drift boat. People say “What are you nuts? Going fishing on a day like this? On a boat?” This is the time of year a Winter Steelhead angler lives for. Land a Steelhead and you’ll understand. No one is out there; you have the river to yourself. I have never met an angler who enjoys or welcomes combat fishing.

We love the challenge of a fish that can be so finicky, it could drive you insane. Only the right presentation or perfect drift will do. A fish that’s unwilling to move more than just a few inches for your offering. Which means your drift must be perfect by inches. If you can master that, it will result in a bent rod.

The real purpose of this article is not point out that we’re nuts (we already know that) or to teach you the latest technique or method. The point is what it really means to be a Winter Steel-Header. There is a life lesson to be taught here to everyone, even non-fishers and the like. Some people may need a reminder or maybe they should look a little deeper into the obvious.

The obvious is when a person is so committed to something or is so passionate about it; they will endure harsh conditions or even the icy cold waters. Where after all day you got nothing, but yet you leave happy or fulfilled inside. A true river angler will agree that the river is where you go to get soothed and healed.

The winter Steelheader is a person everyone should know or maybe even fish with. Why you ask? This is someone who is mentally tough. This person is committed not half way, but there all in. They have the passion and guts along with the courage to overcome, to stay tough, and be committed to something. Why I’m thinking this should be a requirement for everyone! We all should become a Winter Steel-Header, right?

Nope, that’s a bad idea on second thought. I kind of like those winter holes all to myself. Being the only one on the river, where you find that inner peace and solitude, which can only, can come from a lonely cold winter’s day. I call it Soul Fishing! After all, rivers are in beautiful places and Steelhead are such a special fish. It’s you against the Gray Ghost of the river.

I’m thinking what a person needs to get from this article is that Winter Steel-Headers are not crazy, but these are the people that when they die, everyone can say “Wow, I wish I were as passionate about something in life as a fisherman.” It’s only then they realize; they wish they had the courage to be so passionate about something. If everyone found a passion like fishing they would live a much fulfilled life, for fishing is truly a lifelong journey.

The problem with people is they think they have time. Life is short and we all at some point will end up downstream if you know what I mean. Everyone must walk their own path in life; I just choose to spend my time on the river.

Think about that when you hold the next winter steelhead and release it. The true meaning of passion and courage just left your hands. Always practice CPR…. Photo, Catch, and Release. These special fish deserve it. So Get a thermos and get out here this winter; it’s where courage meets passion and boy, life is good.

This article was published a few times around the country when we had some tough winters here in the Great Lakes. This year should be a mild winter so get out there this year and enjoy. I hope you enjoyed the repost. Have a Very Merry Christmas Everyone.


Water temps are dropping and its time to get Jiggy with it!

Steelhead Jig Video

MAXI JIGS by Yakima

During Warmer Temperature’s this Past SUMMER


My good friends Justin Nguyen, Aaron Cameron and Todd Hatfield at Trail Creek Guide Service in Indiana invited me down for some fun fishing on the creek this summer. We were fishing for the Cart Wheeling Evil Skamania. All of us had a blast together! I knew we were going to have a blast and catch some fish. Justin has some private waters we could fish which made for a killer day. It’s not often that guides get a day off and fun fish. I must say these boyz know there stuff and can put you on fish. So if your looking for some fun look my friends up its a blast.








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