My friend Justin who moved out to Northern California over a year ago called me a few weeks ago telling about a “once in a lifetime” day of steelhead fishing. Justin hooked about a dozen fish in one run swinging huge MOL leeches. A fellow fly angler fishing the top of the run ran down to assist Justin land one of the first fish he got near the beach and helped him out with a photo. Justin wanted to take a minute to embrace the victorious moment, so he stepped aside and offered up his spot to the gentleman who kindly helped him land the fish. After two strikes his new friend finally set the hook into a fish. He tired the fish out and Justin got his hand around the fish’s tail. The day continued with both anglers rotating spots and landing big, bright steelhead one after another. This is most likely a case of being at the right place at the right time. My guess is that these fish had just entered the river and had not seen much pressure and had not yet spread out throughout the river. Finding a school of fresh steelhead is definitely a magic moment that all steelheaders long for. I mean who doesn’t like big, strong, stupid fish? Not that steelhead are always stupid or easy to catch, but a fish that has just entered an unfamiliar environment is not quite as educated as a resident trout would be. Not knowing exactly what the food sources are it sometimes seems like they will hit anything that’s presented well.