Lewis Mason holds a big steelhead buck after spending about an hour landing it with six-pound test line on a fly-fishing outing March 15

Steelhead angler lands a lunker

Hour-long battle coaxes approximately 30-pound buck from Salmon River on six-pound test line

A Quadra Island man and his friend hoped a late-winter fishing outing would go well when the visited the Salmon River with their fly-fishing gear last week.

But they got even more than they bargained for.

Within 10 minutes of wetting his line, Shane Mawhinney’s buddy Lewis Mason hooked a monster steelhead the pair estimated at approximately 30 pounds.

“Unbelievable size,” Mawhinney said. “This size of fish probably only happens a handful of times in all of B.C. in a decade.”

The actual weight is uncertain since the pair released the male steelhead “to live and spawn another day,” said Mawhinney.

Mason spent nearly an hour carefully playing the buck on a small fly rod with six-pound test line.

“It was our first time fishing on the river and we really had no idea there were fish that big in the river — hence the six-pound test,” said Mawhinney. “It’s a miracle that he managed to pull it in.”

The pair snapped a few photos before turning the steelhead loose.