Part 1: Although this was to be the first report of the New Year, there have been several successful Steelhead trips already. This time however, Jay was to have his first experience with the silver bullets of Lake Ontario tribs! We managed to intercept a window of weather that was to play into our hands just perfectly. Prior to today, there had been a 5-day period of extreme cold temperatures both during the night as well as the day. When conditions are like that, the fishing is just not very easy! We timed our drive to the river so that we would arrive around 11:00 AM & the previous nights temps would have had a chance to warm up a little more. Some of the slush ice would be gone too making our drifts through the holding areas 100 percent. Before noon, we were wetting a line with sunshine & air temps above freezing but feeling more like Florida to us after the last few days. I worked with Jay for about 15 minutes explaining most of the details required to work a float effectively and where the fish would be holding at this time of the year. When I felt that he was ready, I put a fresh egg sac on his hook and coached him some more. Several minutes & several casts later, it finally happened! The float went under and Jay set the hook into a real beauty. The fish came up to the surface shaking its head violently as I thought to myself; this wasn’t going to end well. It was in the 12 to 15 pound class and probably too much for him to handle for his first fish. Line was coming off the reel at an alarming rate as Jay tightened the drag a bit to try and slow the fish down. He played the fish for over 10 minutes like a tug of war. Every time he managed to gain some line, the beast took it right back out. We actually had to chase it down the river a ways just to get back some of the distance between us. Just when I thought he was making headway, the fish decided to turn, bolt down river through some shallow rapids and break off. Jay was left with an unbelievable look on his face that should have been photographed. He had just been spanked by the best! Although the battle hadn’t ended well, he just didn’t seem to mind. Fighting a fish with this much power in the middle of the winter was just too good to believe. I retied his leader, put him back to work in the same area he just fished and told him there were probably more to be caught. He eventually had another encounter with a fresh silver bullet as the float disappeared under the surface once more. This time when he set the hook however, the fish was a little more cooperative. Jay was able to fight the steelie and bring her close enough to be able to be landed. Several times he had the float at the tip of the rod and that is considered a landed fish when you don’t carry a net in my eyes. I tried a couple of times to grab the tail with a glove but she was never quite close enough to get a good shot. With all the cold temperatures lately, the river had created shelf ice along the shore and as luck would have it, the fish decided to go under one of the ice flows. Another mishap was about to occur as she cut the leader just above the hook. Although this didn’t end with a picture, it didn’t really matter, as she would have been released anyway. Jay had hooked into two of the most powerful winter fish he had ever had on and was happy just to play with them for a while. I was pretty sure that his luck was soon to change and we moved to another run nearby. After explaining to Jay where to drift his presentation, he was off to the races. Several minutes passed and then it happened again, “Fish On”! Immediately after lighting his cigar the fish hit and he was tight to a nice steelhead once more. He had plenty of open water to fight this fish and I was able to get a grab on the tail for his first picture. She was a beautiful fresh steelie of about 7 or 8 pounds and returned immediately to the river to fight again. This was to be the last fish Jay was to get into today, but it was still more than he ever expected it to be. By being able to catch fish like this in the middle of the winter with a rod & reel should make someone think twice about ice fishing. It really has to be experienced in order to be believed! [attachment=0:2ah4x4c5]Jay Tailing Steelie.jpg[/attachment:2ah4x4c5] [attachment=1:2ah4x4c5]Tailing a Tiger.jpg[/attachment:2ah4x4c5]