Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter on the Oatka

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to be on the water(along with spring, summer and fall.) It is a time when there are not "Big Hatches" or lot's of people fishing those big hatches. To put it simply...Fishing in the winter offers unique challenges that are found at no other time of the year.

Fishing subsurface is the way to go (most of the time.) And your presentation at times needs to be
precise. And when you add in high water to the equation it becomes very difficult to even find fish. This is why I love it!

Yesterday I ventured out to Oatka creek with my Dad in tow. We walked a trail that led to one of my favorite spots. The 4 inches of snow on the ground had no foot prints in it, accept for a few deer tracks. When we walked over the cow bridge, we looked upstream and down and found the water level to be very high, but not muddy. I knew I would have a tough time finding fish. And after fishing both nymphs and streamers for a half hour at one of my favorite spots with no fish, I knew I may go fishless for the day.

We then moved to some better looking water just below the cow bridge. Here the water was in better shape do to the trees and timber that collected themselves just in front of the bridge. The "make shift" dam proved to stop much of the high water and acted as a filter making visability a little better. I worked my way down from the bridge throwing a #8 conehead white rabbit strip streamer with my 6 weight. I cast to either side, taking a step after each cast. No fish took the streamer, and after I got back upstream I changed rods and flies. This time, I carefully placed a #12 beadhead black woolly bugger(under an indicator) at every seem and riffle that looked good. It wasn't until the end of our last half hour that my indicator dipped and I had my first fish on. A few head shakes and it was gone. My next drift produced another take, and this time I bent the 4 weight almost to the handle on the hook set. This fish came to hand, and after a photo(taken by my Dad) it was off to find a better holding spot.

I had to work hard for that fish. Winter does that sometimes to your fishing. But, you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world. I was able to show my Dad one of the fly fishing places I enjoy most, and even though it was cold and snowy, I would do it all again tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spring (Brook) Trout

Brook trout are not really a true trout. They are a member of the "Char" family. They are native to New York and other Eastern states, and where ever there is cold water year round you will find them. The best known spots to catch brookies in New York are the Adirondacks or the small streams that flow out of the hills of the southern tier. There is however an exception! Here in the Rochester area we have a tributary to the very popular Oatka creek that hosts a small number of brook trout. Spring creek is that tributary! And it's inhabitants are all trout and only trout.

My kids and I met Luke yesterday on Spring creek for a little visit and a half hour of fishing before we had to leave due to rain. We fished above the hatchery in a section that can be very tough. And it was, as we had nothing to show for our efforts in that half an hour. While we fished we talked about the small flies we needed to use and Lukes morning of fishing in the lower section below the hatchery. He had hooked a few, but was not able to bring any to the net. I then mentioned to him about the brookies that I saw in this stretch a few years ago, and how it would be great to catch a few. He then told me that he was furtunate enough to catch one last year. This turned out to be a very funny conversation, because after we left, he caught two brook trout and a few brown trout. Not only that, Jessie (who met up with Luke after I left) managed to catch a few brown trout for himself too! What a great afternoon for the both of them.

They both used small midge patterns dead drifted under a small indicator to get their fish. Some day I will post a few photos of the small midge larvae that are the key to catching Spring brook brown and brook trout. You would be amazed at how a trout could feed on something so small.

All photos were taken by Luke.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fly Fishing, NY Magazine

With all the vast amount of spare time that I have(not really), I often become creative. Sometimes I paint, sometimes I play my guitar, sometimes I tie flies and sometimes I read. I kind of go through a transformation from average every day dad into a relaxed somewhat catatonic state of artistic expression. Now please don't get this confused with some sort of 60's hippie thing cause it's not! It stems more from a need to do what I was made to do, be creative. It's in my blood. And if I go too long with out releasing that creative spirit I become unresponsive and my eyes glaze over. And if you think that is being a little overly dramatic, just ask my wife.

So what do I spend some of my free time doing? Why I create fictitious magazine covers of course. Wouldn't you? And if you could, you would find pictures of friends and place their mugs on the cover with large fish, or making a nice cast or perhaps with a fish on! The point is, you can't do a project like this and put yourself on the cover. It would look....well, self centered I guess would be the nicest description. Plus you want to make your friends look good so they will go fishing with you. Besides, who is going to take a photo of me with an obscenely large fish. I can't do it myself(trust me I've tried.) Not to mention the opportunity to take a photo of me falling in the stream. And I have fallen on many occasions.

The point I am trying to make here, is I can't just sit around and watch T.V. all day. I need to do something that gets those gears in my head turning. And yes a few of the gears are missing some teeth, but we can discuss that topic when I see you on the stream. Until then, enjoy some future cover designs of the NEW! Fly Fishing New York magazine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oatka & Spring creek

"I'm thinking Spring creek and the Oatka" the e-mail read. Luke had sent me a short message on the details of his next fly fishing trip. He also said he was giving the tribs a break, and that Jessie would be meeting up with him in the afternoon at the Oatka.

The only problem I had with reading this message was, I could not go. I always enjoy fishing with these guys, as I do with all my fishy friends, but I couldn't go....but you already knew that!

Any way, spring creek fished really well I was told. "I think I landed over 12 at spring creek" was not something I wanted to read, especially when I wasn't there. Plus he missed another half dozen or so. These are things you hate to hear from friends when you can't join them for a day on the water. At least it's better than the times Bob would call me while I was at work saying he has a big steelhead on the line. To make matters worse, I could hear the running water in the background as he fought his fish.

Luke then headed to Oatka to meet Jessie. They fished for a while each hooking a good number of trout, but were only able to bring a few to the net. As always they do a great job of not only finding fish, but figuring out what the trout want to eat, and they feed it to them!

And even though I could not go, it was a blast to hear what I missed out on. Someday I will get them all back...ha ha ha! But, I would rather go with them!

Oh yeah! They used small nymphs of course. If you want the pattern just look at what's stuck in the mouth of the trout in the photos.