Friday, November 17, 2017

Fishing with the boys – November Edition

Jonathan and his 30" inch female brown trout

Our fall tributary season has had a great start. Plenty of fish to go around and most importantly, plenty of water. It’s been years since I can remember having this quality of flow in our WNY tributaries and that has helped bring in a steady push of fish on a daily basis. And because of this, fish are most likely spread throughout the system, from top to bottom. And that should mean great fishing throughout the winter and into spring. 

Recently the boys and I headed out to one of our favorite WNY tributaries in search of large lake run trout. The salmon run has been pretty darn good up to this point, with plenty of spawned out and spawning fish still around. This means that any trout that have now entered the stream are on an egg diet, and we were ready to take full advantage!

30" inch male brown trout
The water was cold and at a good medium flow with still a hint of stain to it. Salmon reds littered the tail-outs of runs and pools, and even though we could not see any fish holding in and around them, we knew the trout where there.

Jonathan hooked up first in a long run with a chartreuse bead head olive woolly bugger. It was a large fish, and he struggled to gain control of it. I had to move a good bit downstream to eventually get the net under his first fish of the day, a gorgeous thirty inch female lake run brown trout.

Ethan gets ready to release my 1st steelhead
After Ethan worked through the run, I was able to step in and hook up next with a light pink sucker spawn/light pink bead combo. And after another ten minute battle, Jonathan slid the net under a large kyped out thirty inch male lake run brown trout.

We fished a bit more in that section before heading downstream, leaving without another hookup.
It was another half hour before we worked our way down to another location that always seems to hold fish, and in the past has produced well for me. Again, the boys drifted on through first, without a hook up. They continued to fish down in the tail-out and I took a turn in the pool. A few drifts later and I was into my second fish of the day. It was a smaller fish, but still managed to pull hard and take some line off the reel. A few minutes later, Ethan put the net under a very fresh lake run steelhead, my first of the fall.

Ethan and his 1st ever steelhead
By now Ethan was feeling a bit left out. He had yet to hook up with a fish and his feet were starting to get cold. As he took a break on the bank to try and warm up a little, I told him to stick with it and that the next pool would provide another opportunity for him to get into some fish.

About one hundred yards downstream, at the tail-out of a long slow pool, I put Ethan
Ethan and his last fish of the day
into position and over the next thirty minutes he hooked up with three fish and landed his first ever fall steelhead. All his fish took a chartreuse bead head olive woolly bugger with a bright yellow bead two inches up on the leader, dead drifted under an indicator. All that action seemed to warm him up enough to want to continue on to our next spot, where he promptly hooked up with and landed his second fish of the day, a beautiful female lake run brown trout – again, on the olive bugger/bead combo.

The hot fly of the day
All in all it was a great day of fishing. We each managed to get into a few fish and bring a few to the net. We are certainly blessed to have such an amazing fishery.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fly fishing WNY - October 14th edition

Jonathan hoists his big 27" male brown trout before release.
Once again we were able to get out on the stream for an afternoon shift.

This time we would be fishing a good 4-5 days after some major precipitation, which prompted us to dream of large trout.

We fished down on the lower part of the stream and found plenty of salmon holding here and there in each deep pool, pocket and run. We witnessed several nice fish fishing blasting on through, even when the stain of the high water period had almost completely worn off….No trout were spotted.

The boys and I stuck to fishing buggers, even when we could see a few reds that had been made by salmon in a few of the gravel sections nearby. Of course, by the time this blog is posted, the increased number of salmon and spawning activity will no doubt change that. Eggs will be in high demand!

Ethan worked the head of a pool, swinging a large lead eyed rabbit strip streamer, where he could just make out the dark shapes of several nice fish. Jonathan decided to work a few pockets and seems in the lower end of the pool area, prospecting with an olive woolly bugger for what might lurk in each little nook and cranny.

Ethan hooked up several times, but couldn’t seem to keep a fish on. Some he thought were foul hooked and they popped the fly quickly. A few others he said took the fly but he didn’t get a good enough hookset. That’s fishing.

Ethan rests a female king salmon before its release.
Jonathan, who had been quiet for the past half an hour or so, finally yelled “fish on!” and after just a few minutes I could make out the telltale signs of a large brown trout pulling hard near the surface.  Not soon after, I slid the net under a gorgeous 27” inch kyped out male brown trout – the first trout of the fall for the Bradfields.

The rest of the afternoon we kept at it, trying to find the right location and drift to put our flies in front of a few willing fish. Only Ethan came away with a nice female King salmon in the last hour. It was a fresh fish, with a little glint of silver here and there.

Not bad for the early part of October. Let’s just hope we can get out a few more times this fall. Fishing should continue to get better and better, especially as the ever increasing numbers of salmon start to spawn.

Thanks in part to Streamwalker Nets for making these fish possible!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall tributary season - edition 1

As of writing this blog post, the WNY fall salmon and trout run is now in full swing.

We are off to a great start this year. The boys and I have already taken several trips to our local WNY tributary and have all found a little success in landing a few fish.

September 30th - Our first outing was intended to be more of a scouting mission. Our goal was to look at the condition of the creek at various locations and even spend some time walking in to find the many recent changes that always happen over the course of the summer.

Jonathan with a large female king
Our first stop was at a bridge that was less than a mile from Lake Ontario. It also marks the first good fly fishable water. Here we found a few cars in the parking lot, and one salmon swimming nervously under the bridge.

Ethan with his 1st king of the year.
Our next stop, which was the second bridge up from the first, revealed just how far along the run had progressed in that last week of September. A good half dozen cars lined either side of the street leading right up to the bridge. On our walk up to the bridge, we saw an anger fishing to four or five salmon that were holing in a run on the upstream side of the bridge. Once we got to the bridge and were able to look into the pool below, we counted a good 19-20 salmon. We watched for a good five or ten minutes before we headed to our third location.

At this point we knew that there were fish in the stream. So at the next bridge upstream we got ourselves geared up and headed down the trail.

A fresh hen from "round 2"
It took a little bit of walking before we found fish, but when there is nobody else around, we could take our time and swing some #6 olive and brown woolly buggers in front a few salmon.

We each landed one fish before we left for the day. A great start to the season for sure. 

October 6th – “Round 2” was even better than our first session, as we all had a few hook ups and once again we were able to bring a few fish to hand. 

Jonathan's kyped out king from "round 2"
We ended up fishing a section of stream in the lower end and once again had the place to ourselves. We spotted a good twenty or so fish in and around the main pool area, with a few more that were moving up from down below. We once again used olive and brown buggers and Ethan spent some time fishing a large olive and white rabbit strip streamer.

This is a far better start than what we had last year. And the numbers of fish should steadily build from here on out, especially with a bunch of rain in the forecast.

Ethan gets ready to release his king from "round 2"
A little October color