If you read Dan Magers book Striking Steelhead youll probably have the equivalent of a Ph.D. in steelhead fishing.
Magers, a former Boisean who now lives in Bigfork, Mont., compiled data and lessons learned while steelhead fishing 22 years on Idahos Clearwater River.
Read the book and youll graduate with a new outlook in steelhead and when and how to fish for them.
Idahoans may remember Magers as one of the founders of Idaho Steelhead and Salmon Unlimited. As president and director of the conservation organization, he spent years talking about steelhead biology, politics and fishing with some of the most dedicated anadromous fishery experts in the Northwest.
Magers lived in Boise from 1982 to 1993. Hes a manufacturers representative specializing in underground utility products.
Despite his day job, Magers is an avid steelheader who can be on the Idahos Clearwater within hours from his home in Bigfork.
His love of the Clearwater River and its larger B-run steelhead, and his desire to keep records about his fishing experiences, provoked him to keep extensive logs of his days drift-fishing the river since 1989. The fishing logs eventually turned into the book.
In the book, Magers talks about A and B steelhead runs, water temperatures, flows, hydraulics, best fishing methods, most productive lures and trip planning.
He gets into the details of time and light and weather and catch rates all in extensive charts, graphs and diagrams.
I kept a full sheet of information every day of fishing, said Magers. I came up with amazing stuff on catch rates certain days of the week and on certain stretches of the river.
At first Magers was going to put the information together for his own use, but a friend suggested that he write a book about it.
The information is valuable on any river, not just the Clearwater, said Magers, who has also fished the Salmon River in Idaho and steelhead waters in Alaska.
Although there are a lot of statistics in the book, Magers also spins enjoyable fishing stories. He talks about fishing with his wife of 40 years, Pamela, and some of the circuses they had hooking into the giant sea-run rainbow trout.
Magers loves the Clearwater for the bigger B-run fish, but also because the river is a perfect drift-boat run that is accessible from top to bottom.
When asked his favorite method of steelhead fishing, he simply answers, back trolling lures from a drift boat with single action reels.
Magers has seen and talked with a lot of anglers on the river, and he says one of the basic mistakes newcomers make steelheading is not realizing that the fish dont have to eat after they enter fresh water.
They are not fishing for feeding fish, he said. They are fishing the territorial instincts of a migrating fish.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445,Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors