The steelhead I mention are only in the small creeks for a brief period, and the timing has everything to do with the vagaries of spring weather. For the past few years, I've managed to consistently show up just a little too early or too late. But the one time I did time it just right, there were relatively easy pickings (that is, compared to catching steelhead when they aren't spawning, which is often about as productive as banging your head against a tree). For the most part, it was a matter of finding a light-colored, oval redd, watching for the silver flash of a hen steelhead, and then running a black Woolly Bugger past her nose. And as far as I could tell, the fish that I hooked that day eventually went right back to their redds, seemingly no worse for wear.