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Subscriber Teri Beatty couldn’t be more pleased with a day of trout and steelhead fishing set up for her on the Lower Sacramento River in California by the Fly Shop (www.theflyshop.com) this past May. It resulted in her catching a lot of trout, plus her first-ever steelhead. She writes:
“I had been on a fruitless steelhead hunt for three years when I called the Fly Shop in Redding, California, this past May. I told the gal on the phone that it wasn’t about numbers with me. I just wanted a guide who really knew the river and, by the way, I had never caught a steelhead. She said ‘game on’ and linked me up with guide Lonnie Boles, whom I have since dubbed Steelhead Junkie. The day before my appointment on the Lower Sacramento, I drove to Redding from Portland, about six-and-a-half hours away. The next morning I got to the Fly Shop early to buy my California fishing license and to meet Lonnie so he could
check my gear and flies. We hit the river about 9 a.m.
“The setup Lonnie put on my rod gave me a stomachache at first. It consisted of about 9 feet of leader with a strike indicator, a Sylvia’s caddis, and a green micro May. I could just imagine the total cluster that was going to occur when I tried to cast this setup. It turned out that casting isn’t really what you do with something like that. I call it ‘hucking.’ The key turned out to be line management. Ultimately, everything turned out great. The trout were plentiful, beautiful, and healthy. Lonnie knows his water well and we had great fishing all morning. I didn’t tangle anything and kept the same setup for most of the day. If it works, don’t change it, I always say.
“The river was full of egrets the day we fished. I saw deer and a bald eagle. The sky was blue, and there was a slight breeze. The temperature was about 90 degrees. We pulled off for lunch after a great morning of fishing. To my surprise, I was offered either a sandwich or salad. Love the choices. I took the salad and it tasted great. At this point, I didn’t expect my day to get any better, but oh boy it did.
“We continued trout fishing until about 3 p.m. At that point we hit a new stretch of water, and Lonnie told me to get ready. He changed my setup to a strike indicator, a #12 bird’s nest, and a #12 clown egg. Turns out, this is what I was wearing for my first-ever date with a steelhead. I spotted him in a fast ripple, cast out with my rig, and held on as he started doing some serious head shaking. Lonnie told me to be ready, to make sure my line was clear, and I thought it was. Then, dang it, after some more head shaking, he took off, and pop! That was the end of that story, but everything was still OK. I knew what to expect after that.
“Lonnie drifted us through the same ripple, and boom! There she was: a nice hen. She took off and jumped a lot but in the end I landed her. After that, I landed her girlfriend, too. Two steelhead! My first and second on the same day. I was having so much fun at that point I asked Lonnie why we didn’t just fish this spot all day long. He laughed, and at that moment I realized he had just given me one of the best fishing days of my life.”