Swing North-Fly-Fishing for Winter Steelhead

Hidden behind deep gray fog, California’s North Coast is one of the most pristine habitats in the state. But the thick redwood forests and slate-green rivers were almost devastated by the impact of industry. Once hosting runs of more than a million salmon and steelhead, the annual fish counts on the Eel River now often number less than 1,000. Yet, the salmonids persist. In recent years, signs of a recovery ripple through the waters. In Swing North, fishermen Mikey Wier and Jason Hartwick hook into the growing population of wild winter run steelhead on the Eel. With appearances by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Shane Anderson, director of Wild Reverence: The Wild Steelheads’ Last Stand, the two discover a river that holds hope for one of California’s great remaining wild fisheries.

The full movie will be featured in the 2014 International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4).

To learn more about what CalTrout is doing on the Eel River and other rivers on the north coast, visit caltrout.org

One thought on “Swing North-Fly-Fishing for Winter Steelhead

  1. I liked that. Liked it a lot. What rivers and forests…..

    A successful fisher 7 mins 18 secs in – “Old traditional – G.P. ….”

    The General Practitioner prawn fly created by this gentleman –


    Back in the mid 1960s, as a boy, I watched my long-gone Dad, a World War 2 RAF pilot, and Drury, a slightly crabby old gent unless talking military matters or about his killer Atlantic salmon fly creation the GP, talk about “their Wars” over a Scotch or two together in the bar of a hotel in the English county of Lincolnshire where Drury then lived and my Dad’s bomber squadrons were once based. At my Ma’s suggestion, I made myself both unseen and unheard scarce.

    Nearly twenty years later, in July 1981, I caught my very first Icelandic Atlantic salmon on a self-tied G.P. After it had caught several more fish, the low-water double double salmon hook was completely bent beyond further fishability, so I retired the fly. I still have it, in a little plastic ziplok bag plus a note to self about its past achievements, here somewhere.

    As a faraway Brit I wish those fishers and conservationists who are now trying to save the Eel and other NorCal steelhead rivers every success and all the very best.

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