Sitting in the sun on that gravel bar seems like a lifetime ago. It was blazing hot and buggy. Almost hard to believe I was on a coastal river. The sun was directly overhead which meant the tall mountains rising from each side of the river offered no escape.
The only refuge from the heat was standing in the river. If you are forced to stand in the river to cool off you might as well be fishing. The common wisdom is that bright sunny days with clear water are not ideal for steelhead on a floating line so I figured I would practice my spey casting.
I waded right into the main part of camp water. There was no quiet approach to the water or starting at the top of the run. There was no methodically working line out a few feet at a time until a comfortable length of line is out and starting to step down. I stripped out the amount I wanted to fish and sent the riffle hitched muddler across the river.
The fly came tight and started waking across the current moving towards shore. The bright light made tracking the fly easy and I casually watched it as it moved out of the fastest water and into a bit slower water mid way through the swing. Then I saw it.
A chrome fish coming straight up towards the fly. I could see the entire fish as it quickly moved up and engulfed the fly. No hesitation in snatching the fly as it appeared to rise in a straight vertical line from the cobbles to the surface before turning back to the depths with the fly.
Years later I cannot remember how this fish fought. All I can remember was the rise.
The photo of the fish brings back the memory of the rise as if it happened yesterday.