Through my years I have learned that there are people that fish for Steelhead, and then there are Steelhead Fishermen. Although at first glance it appears that both groups of people are one in the same – but they are vastly different. People that simply fish for Steelhead seek out the more favorable and comfortable situations, 50 degrees with sunny blue bird spring skies – sight fishing to spawning fish in less than 2′ of water, likely taking the path of least resistance.
Avid Steelhead fisherman are an extremely different breed of people. A true Steelhead fisherman firmly believes the the most favorable conditions usually involve an absolute miserable mixture of intermittent driving rain showers, that only stop because it starts snowing so hard you can see only a mere inches in front of your face.
Steelhead Fisherman are typically easy to spot for their complete and utter lack of caution and common sense when venturing into the water, wading to get just the right angle to properly present their bug through a run – their own safety is a only a mere afterthought.
Steelhead Fisherman will usually have limited sense of feeling in their fingertips from frequent near frost bite encounters. They will be sporting wind burned faces with cracked lips. Most will openly exhibit any number of personal vices – addiction to Fireball, tobacco, etc., as they need a crutch to deal with the insane madness caused by chasing winter fish.
Next time you see a Steelhead Fisherman, wish him well because his lifestyle suggests he probably isn’t long for this world.