For steelheaders, its also that time of year to put the sink tips away. Having been a die hard winter steelhead fly fisherman for years, putting the sink tips away has been a hard thing to do. Still is. I put them away, but not TOO far away.
This year I've got myself a dedicated dry line rod. There's no sense in waving around a big clunky stick if you don't have to dredge up yards of T-17 all day long. The new rod is a nice, light 12 1/2 footer More of a "wand" in my eyes than a rod. It makes casting the dry line effortless (and that's an important thing in my mind).
The "effortless" cast thing is important for me if I'm going to dedicate my fishing time to the dry line. If I'm fishing the dry line, I'm usually fishing a dry fly (skater), which is great visual stimulation. If you are going to be doing something unproductively for long periods of time, you had better enjoy it (otherwise it's too easy to quit and try something else) I became hooked on dry fly steelhead fishing last fall. It's an experience I have a hard time topping in the outdoors. It's worth doing again, and again, and........ again.
I near the slower, deeper mid section of the run. It only looks like borderline "steelhead" water, so I quicken my pace. My line hangs down. Just as I'm gettin ready to strip in and recast.... Ker-flush... A toilet bowl grab. The muddler is gone in a swirl, the reel starts zinging and 5lbs of summer steel is in the air 30 yards below me. The fish turns upriver and starts running at me. I'm reeling as fast as I can, still reeling, still..... then I realize the fish is no longer attached to the fly. Gone.
It was only 5, maybe 7 seconds of adrenaline. But I'll be chasing that next surface grab relentlessly again, and again, and......