Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Steelhead Thief

Sandy River, Oregon
One day a few years ago I was fishing the Sandy River for Steelhead. The water was in great shape, and I was fishing one of my favorite pieces of water above Cedar Creek. It was a perfect day--no wind, clear water and nobody around but me--or so I thought. I quietly waded into position and made several casts with my ten-foot sink-tip line. Within 5 minutes I had a Steelhead on, and 6 or 7 minutes later I had landed a nice, bright 6-pounder. Since it was a hatchery fish, I decided to keep it. I quickly cleaned it out and laid it on the ground behind me.

As I slipped back into the water, I casually glanced around to recheck my fish. I was astonished to see a mink dragging it into the brush. I quickly went over, chased it off and hung it up on a tree branch. I resumed fishing for 5 minutes or so and then glanced back to see the mink attacking my fish again. I was perplexed, so I reeled up, grabbed a stick and tried to fend it off, but it repeatedly charged me.

At this point I realized that this was his territory and I couldn’t continue to cover the water and protect my fish at the same time. I picked it up my Steelhead and reluctantly left the water to the mink.

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