The cliche is "the worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working..."
Steelhead are an interesting fish. They are bigger than trout (mostly) and are very spooky - the best conditions to fish for them are pretty miserable. When the water is cold and clear, they are very tough to catch. The Trinity is a tributary of the Klamath river and is a total of about 165 miles. For Northwest California it has been pretty dry. So the water yesterday was very low and very clear. In the time that I have fished the Trinity I have averaged two fish a day - which is actually pretty good - although that average is a bit misleading between days when I landed 4 fish and days when I landed none - I've never had a so so day on the Trinity.
On Saturday, there were evidently a lot of fishermen on the river - so going into Sunday was not promising - low water, clear, pounded heavily the day before - not promising. And indeed, the promise came true. I got one or two nibbles but landed nothing. At one point the outside air was cold enough so that the guides on my fishing pole were clogged with ice. But the Trinity is very responsive - if they get some good rain before the end of the year - the fishing will come back quite well.
But was it a good day? There is another cliche that many fishermen use - there is a difference between fishing and catching. We had a pretty good fishing day - but a lousy catching day. It was great to be outside in one of the prettiest rivers in the US. I got to work on technique yesterday under a lot of different conditions. We had a great guide (Brian Kohlman from Confluence Outfitters). I got to go up with my son and introduce him to fly fishing - he has been a gear guy before. And that was fun.
But was it better than the best day of work? Not really. It was different, fun, challenging. But certainly not better. But the skills you gain on a day like this are many - patience is one of the biggest. And that then can make even the worst day of work a bit better.