From fly fisherman’s perspective, fishing the Snake River in its current form for Steelhead is about like looking through a hole in a fence. You catch small glimpses of what it was, and you keep peering for more with the hope you find what could be.
Steelhead on their return to their ancestral spawning grounds are met with lakes where fast flowing current should have been. To me, it’s a miracle that their noses guide them back to the rivers of their birth, hatchery or not. From the Snake’s termination with the mighty Columbia back upstream, the water flows like molten lava. It’s moving, slowly.
But, there are the glimpses that us fisherman still hold onto. Get upriver of Lewiston and Clarkston and the river does all it can to regain it’s original form. The low water of fall showcases islands creases and runs in the water that all fishing brethren look for as signals of Steelhead and Salmon holding water. It’s where we guide our flies into with the promise that we find a connection. It’s these small snapshots of what the river did look like and what it could look like that hold’s the rivers ultimate promise for tomorrow.
It’s where we hope for a better day ahead.
Josh Mills is an avid eastern Washington angler and writer who has spent many hours on the Snake, Clearwater and Grande Ronde rivers fishing for steelhead, smallies, and any other fish that are game to take a fly. For more of his great adventures visit his blogspot at www.millsfly.blogspot.com