Chasing and catching a steelhead every month

Jonathan Novio set out to catch a steelhead every month and did it, though he pushed it the month he got married.

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Jonathan Novio with one of the biggest steelhead he caught during his quest for a steelhead every month of a year; this one came in mid-November from Waukegan.

Jonathan Novio with one of the biggest steelhead he caught during his quest for a steelhead every month of a year; this one came in mid-November from Waukegan.

Provided

Jonathan Novio completed his streak of catching a steelhead each month of the year from shore on July 2 with a 30-inch, 11-pound steelhead from Waukegan.

“I went salmon fishing during the fall a few years ago and, coming from saltwater background, this is the only thing that came close,” said Novio, 28, who moved north after living and fishing for years in the Tampa area.

In the next year, he caught his first steelhead.

“I caught one randomly in July and I thought they were salmon at first,” he said.

But the differences of steelhead drew him in as a good substitute for salt-water fishing.

Novio explained the appeal of steelhead to a salt-water angler this way, saying, “I really like how they look and change colors, but to me there the fight is everything. I don’t care as long as I can hear my drag screaming and there’s nothing I can do, that is what I live for.”

He taught himself about steelhead from watching YouTube videos and other anglers.

As to the best presentations, Novio said, “I tried a variety: crankbaits and spoons, but the most productive was a tiny hair jig under a float, fall through spring; then shrimp, around May until now. Shrimp really helped me catch a fish every month.”

His biggest steelhead was 35 inches long, weighing 16 pounds, and caught in Michigan City, Indiana, in June. He caught steelhead from Michigan City to Waukegan.

“In the winter, I would go downtown,” he said. “Most of of them caught in downtown Chicago.”

May was the cruelest month.

“The hardest month was May,” Novio said. “For me, it was a transition time. My wedding was that month too, so I only had so much time to get on the water. Almost at the end of May, I was very worried I wasn’t going to get it. I got it on May 29th on a piece of shrimp under bobber. First time trying the Michigan City rig.”

He was fishing in Indiana at the time.

I relish such quests. On Dec. 14 last year, I chronicled Danny “Taks” Borgert’s successful quest to catch a steelhead every month of the year from shore in Chicago. Now Novio has completed a similar quest.

Wild things

On Thursday, Bill Savage (@RogersParkMan) tweeted about photographing his first monarch butterfly on milkweed this year. I’m still waiting my first and my wife’s milkweed is wonderful this year.

Stray cast

When will the reported number of towns wooing the Chicago Bears top the number of black bears reported in modern times in Illinois?

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