July 3, 2008 · Updated 6:11 PM
"I can think of a few other places I'd rather live than Whidbey Island. This island offers so much to the avid outdoor person. One of these many opportunities is steelhead fishing. Every year around this time a unique breed of anglers come to our island. These fisherman are called Steelheaders. When a fellow angler hears the word Steelheader, many thoughts come to mind. Endless hours without a fish and bad weather are just a few. The patience of the job and undying persistence are several more. Steelheading personifies a fishing addict. Despite all of this, dozens, perhaps hundreds of steelhead are caught off the western points of our island every year.Where to go and what to do?There are three popular spots to fish for steelhead on the island: Fort Casey, Lagoon Point and Bush Point. Lagoon Point and Bush Point both have very limited access. There are a number of homes on these beaches and it is quite easy to step out of the surf and into someone's yard. Fort Casey is exactly the opposite. The state park offers unlimited access to the water with a lot more elbow room. There is a set of stairs beneath the gun emplacements and that is a good place to start.The rig of choice is a salmon leader with 2/0 or 3/0 hooks. You slide an orange or red hoochie over these hooks with a small bead and spin-n-glo to fallow. This rig in itself is not heavy enough to cast. Several different type weight systems can be used. A lead cinch with about one ounce of lead is my favorite. The weight should be placed about 2 feet above the hooks for ease of casting. Spinning or casting rods are used; 8 1/2 foot rods with a medium action are very popular. The line test varies from 10-20 pounds. My choice would be a 12 pound test copolymer for casting distance and strength. Fish the high tide and be there for the outgoing water. If you have any questions regarding the gear or places I have discussed, don't hesitate to call or drop in the Ace Hardware in Oak Harbor. Ask for Kevin or Gary at 679-3533. "