Every February through May, in great anticipation, we start watching the weather all the way through the Great Lakes region. When the snow starts to melt, and the rains come in, it’s time to hit up the tributaries for the spring steelhead run.

We brought a novice fly fisherman with us this year to experience one of the best fights on a fly rod. On our way to the river in Western Wisconsin, it was explained that since he had never fought a fish this big, nor this crazy, it would likely take multiple hookups before landing one of these chrome beauties.

We got to the river early, hoping a fresh run of fish had made their way upriver from the night before. We were excited to see that our predictions were right and we were on fish right away. We got to a nice riffle and began working to get Mitch, our steelhead rookie, his first hookup. About 20 minutes into drifting the run, the game was on. “ I got one!” followed three seconds later by a splash, “it broke me off!” Throughout the morning this happened 7 more times until we finally got him one in the net. A nice, 30 inch hen steelhead. We were able to target and hookup more than 20 more fish that day, landing only 5 of them (Mitch finished 2 for 14).

The pools that were holding the most fish, were also holding the most structure. We lost fish in sticks, logs and trees that were all over the river. Not only are these fish tough to land under normal conditions, but we had extra obstacles in our way.

The following morning, we got to the pool that we had seen the most fish in the previous day and set ourselves up for a successful morning. We were able to catch 4 more steelhead, out of around 10 hookups. We hit the run just perfectly this year, and as soon as the water comes up this fall, we will be back on the searchfor the lake-run browns.