First cast, a pluck. I went right back there with the fly and caught a leaf. The overnight wind had blown millions into the current; they winked like coins going down a well. Not only would the leaves be a nuisance, snagging on the hook, but any steelhead that decided to open his mouth would probably sample a leaf; my fly would get lost among the clutter. “Oh ye of little faith,” I muttered, and worked out more line. And the line stopped. A heartbeat later, the water silvered in a boil and I was looking up at 8 or 9 pounds of steelhead coming down. This was a typical two-year salt hen, and I landed her and backed out the gold hook, my hands shaking. I’d say I was surprised but it had happened like this before—conditions going to hell, hope dwindling, then the jolting strike that erases the world and paints it all anew. Anything can happen when you keep your fly in the water. Even steelhead.