Meeting Mr. Ironhead — local steelhead fishing lessons

March 23, 2010

Dallas Cross

Fish Journal

In the last article, I hoped to show the frustration that most beginning steelhead fishers have when they first set forth to catch this spectacular, sea-run rainbow trout. Not being very successful myself at catching them, I set out to meet local fishermen in Issaquah to learn how they kept filling their freezers and smokers with this elusive fish.

Bill Arndt married an Issaquah coal miner’s daughter and started his window washing business in town. I often met Bill at local watering holes where fishing was almost always a topic of conversation.

Bill was known for prolific storytelling and per his own hyperbole was a gifted golfer, sure-shot hunter and premier steelhead fisherman. Ron Powell, manager of the St. Regis Lumber Co., always challenged Bill’s stories, being certain he stretched them out to unbelievable lengths.

One evening, Bill came into the Elk’s Lodge, where Ron and I were talking. Bill loudly exclaimed that he had really scored by catching a couple of large steelhead. Ron immediately confronted him and asked where they were.

Bill didn’t miss a lick and said he had tied them up in the Raging River to keep them fresh until he could fetch them. Ron, immediately said, “Sure, let’s go look at them.” Bill wavered a bit before he responded, “Well, alright, if you don’t mind going way out of your way.” Read more

Meeting Mr. Ironhead — an introduction to steelhead trout

March 2, 2010

Fish Journal

Dallas Cross

The common and Latin names of ironhead and salmo mykiss have been changed to steelhead and oncorhynchus mykiss. However, they all designate one, native, sea-run rainbow trout found in rivers of the Northern Pacific Ocean. I still like ironhead, because of the rugged fight they give and their stubborn ability to hang in there despite habitat loss.

I had never fished for steelhead before I moved to Washington. In Idaho, three private dams on the Snake River had stopped historical steelhead runs in the lower Snake River. The remaining runs up the main Salmon River were too far away for a reasonable day trip. So, when I moved to Issaquah, my new friend, Ed Polf, encouraged me to fish the nearby rivers for this large and beautiful rainbow trout.

Ed had introduced me to sockeye fishing in Lake Washington from a leaky rowboat with a cranky motor we rented near where the Renton Airport adjoins the lake. We were marvelously successful. Thus, I had confidence in Ed’s fishing prowess when we set off for the rivers after steelhead. Read more

Low opening day turnout good news for local anglers

May 26, 2009

Eastside Fishing Report

Dallas Cross

Dallas Cross

The Eastside, lowland lakes trout season opened on the last weekend in April and because of cool weather has seen fewer fishermen than in past years.

This is good news, because the lakes have been well-stocked and, with continuing plants, should offer excellent fishing. Consequently, Rattlesnake, Pine and Beaver lakes have had lower than usual fishing pressure. Those who did fish them had good success, which should continue into the summer. Large triploid rainbow trout are still there to be caught. The limit is five trout and all caught with bait must be kept. Read more