Tim Arsenault doing the Spey cast called the “Snake Roll”.

A Steelhead Pursuit

Do I shoot photos or do I chuck loops? This is the burning question I ask myself on the river time and time again. Now, it’s not an easy answer.  As a kid, the answer would’ve been loops without a doubt.  Ever since I was a kid, I was determined to catch a steelhead.

Like most people, in the beginning I had the usual spin gear, a Hardy Silex and float rod with a balsa or cork float. It was always a challenge to fish, and I enjoyed it immensely.  I would say I was addicted to the pursuit. As I got older, I turned to the fly.  It wasn’t  that I didn’t enjoy float fishing anymore, but I truly enjoyed the fly casting and especially the style of casting called spey. 

Always pinch your barbs.


Using the long two-handed fly rod and spey casting techniques became my favorite way of pursuing these beautiful creatures. It is graceful and challenging, it demands persistence and skill. The downside of spey casting is that often the number of fish hooked is low….and the number of landed fish is even lower!  Often, it’s none.  Again, addicted to the pursuit more than the unproductive yield, I had found my niche in spey casting.

A number of years ago, I picked up a camera and started playing around. Little did I know at the time it would change my path. Chasing the light and the perfect photograph by using my camera to document my lifestyle, my fly fishing career and of course the beautiful steelhead would now become my main objective. 

These days I find myself using the camera more than the spey rod, and often I just leave my fly rod at home. I choose to shoot photos and document my fly fishing friends doing what they love.  It’s become the same rush as hooking a fresh wild steelhead. Since I was young, I definitely caught my fair share of steelhead. It’s a little easier now to choose photography over fishing. But every time I take the spey rod along, the question pops up again and I’m faced with the ever-present dilemma: Shoot photos or wade in and start casting?

Here is a set of photos that I am very proud of, maybe they are my greatest hits.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them. In pursuit of fish or photos, always remember it’s about being out there and enjoying time with your buddies. That’s what counts most.

Aaron Goodis

Icy morning walks along the river is typically how we start our day.
A classic west coast river in all of its beauty.
A beautiful wild steelhead soon to be released.
Casting through a freak snow storm.
A beautiful wild winter run steelhead.
Getting after it in some prime pocket water.
Tim preparing for lift off.
Keeping them wet before the release.
An amazing moon rise, a great way to end a day on the river.

Contributed By

Aaron Goodis

I am Aaron Goodis and I am a photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Currently my photographic focus is towards wild landscape along with fly fishing and active lifestyle. I have been active as a professional in the fly fishing industry and find myself shooting fly fishing images for many of the leading print publications. My personal work consists of documenting the lifestyle I live through both still photos and motion video. I absolutely love exploring our wild coastline, the ancient rain forests and urban landscape. I hope that my images will inspire others and help in preserving our wild spaces for future generations. Photographic prints can be purchased directly through www.aarongoodisphotography.com.

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