Ryan Peterson explains why he hunts the elusive steelhead salmon.

Hunting the elusive steelhead. Photo by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith

TEACH A MAN TO FISH and he can feed himself forever. Teach a man to fish for steelhead and he will starve.

This seems to be the moral of the story of fishing the “Ghost Run” on the Klamath River in California.

So why bother wading around in frigid winter water trying to hook fish that won’t bite?

“It’s sort of a cliché, but there is this fishing joke that says – there is only one other sensation that can compare,” says Ryan Peterson. “I’ll leave it at that.”

That moment when the fish strikes, that connection with nature is the final payoff. Even when the going gets tough, Fitz Cahall reminds the viewer that the payoff isn’t the whole reason people fish.

“We are doing the best to remind ourselves that it’s not the fish, it’s the process of finding it that makes it all worth while.”

Will it all be worth while if the payoff never happens? 

Video created by Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith.