Tuesday, November 24, 2009


As many of you know, I have been blogging for the JP Ross fly rod website for a while now. And I have really loved the experience. It has provided me another avenue in which to share and enjoy one of my passions - Fly fishing!

I try to write for the web site at least twice a week. This leaves me with little time to keep up on my own blog, so I will be posting fewer blogs in the near future. I will still try and keep posting a few times a month, but for now look on the JP Ross fly rod website for updates and other news from me and my travels to all the fishy places I like to go.

In the past week and a half I have had the opportunity to get out and fish a number of times and share a few of those mornings with some friends. Friday was one of them and I met up with Luke and Jessie for some great action on Sandy creek. We all caught fish and Luke took some really fantastic photos, including one of my biggest brown trout of this year....so far. And you can see more of his wonderful work at his flickr page! Thanks Mom for giving me a few hours to fish with Luke and Jessie. It reminded me a bit of the times you used to take me up to the salmon river.....thanks!

On Monday I fished with "Mr." Rich and his friend Mike. Rich has known Mike for a while now and they have fished many streams, rivers and lakes together for years. So it was a pleasure to finally meet Mike in person and talk with him about some of his adventures. I hope it isn't the last time either. I also spent much of that morning running around netting fish for the both of them. I netted 2 steelhead for Mike and a nice male brown trout for Rich - his first ever lake run brown! I caught a small sucker, and that was it for all of us that morning.

So here are some pictures from the most recent adventures on the stream. I'll update when I can, but for the mean time, check out the www.jprossflyrods.com for my latest blog!

Thanks for all your support. See you on the stream!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fly Fishing Video trailer!

I thought I would post a video I first viewed at Moldychum.com. It is a short trailer on fly fishing for trophy fish in the U.S. The idea being that you don't have to travel to exotic places and spend thousands of dollars to catch trophy fish. The video, by Jason Jaacks, is aptly titled "No Passport Required" and shows off some of Western New York's finest lesser know tributaries. In fact, many of the video clips show spots where we fish on a yearly basis. And I think you will recognize them. I think it's great that these guys took the time to promote the fantastic trophy fishing we have in the U.S. and in New York. Most of us don't have the kind of money that is required to search out fish like the ones in the video in faraway places. I know that videos like these will often spark a mass influx of fly fishermen to the area, but with the proper education in stream etiquette and fishing practices it could actually prove to be an enjoyable experience.

So I hope you enjoy. I certainly did!

No Passport Required from Jason Jaacks on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great November fishing on Sandy Creek

November has been the month of the brown trout. At least it has been for us that fish the Western New York tributaries. And as it has always been, they make their way into the streams as the Chinook salmon are just about done with their fall spawning. There will always be a few fresh salmon that will still make their way into the streams, but it is the brown trout that will now start making a big push into the tributaries. The males show up first. They work their way upstream into likely holding areas and wait for the females to show up(isn't this always the case? The males waiting for the females!). This can get interesting as they will often hold were salmon are spawning or have spawned. The salmon don't like this one bit and will often try to chase the brown trout out of their territory. This little battle for territory is a lot of fun to watch, especially when you are standing in the stream just 10 feet away. The down fall is the fish don't always respond to a well presented fly. And how could they. They are busy either protecting their territory or trying to stay out of the way if an angry 20lb. salmon. But fish can be caught! And it is often at this stage in the season when the fishing can be really good.

I met Mr. Rich at Sandy creek this Monday to hopefully experience some of that really good fishing. And although the morning started a little on the slow side, it would not end that way.

We walked down the trail to the stream and slowly made our way downstream searching for fish. And to my surprise Rich spotted the first fish. He had spotted the fish as I was just about to move further downstream. The reason why it was a bit of a surprise was because I usually am good at spotting fish. But not today! Rich pointed out that the fish was in a run tucked carefully behind a submerged rock. And sure enough it was there. I just had to strain my eyes a bit to see it. So I took a step back and watched as Rich began to work the fish. After a minute or so, I had to try and find my own fish. And I didn't find any until I came across the tail out of a long flat run. It was here that I saw the salmon and brown trout holding together. It was also here that I saw the salmon trying to push the trout out of their spawning area. I got into position and gave it a try. I did finally hook up with a brown trout, but it had been foul hooked so I popped the hook off as quickly as I could.

I continued to walk downstream after that. And I made my way to the root pool. The root pool is a nice deep pool that has a rather large tree on the opposite side of the stream. Its roots make their way into the bank and the stream on the far side in an attempt to keep it standing. But this year a very large section of the tree broke off and fell into and across the pool. This has made it difficult to land any fish that is hooked in the pool. And it came in to play this morning, as I lost the second fish I hooked when it ran under that limb. I tried to put as much pressure as I could on the fish, hoping to turn it. But the only thing I got out of that exercise was a broken tippet and a lost fly.

Things would take a turn for the better at the next run. And in the last half of the morning of fishing I manged to land two small male Atlantic salmon of about 22" to 24" inches in length and my best brown trout of the season so far. A very nice male brown trout of 28" that was probably close to 10lbs. And thanks to Rich, who had made his way downstream to where I was, I was able to get a few photos for this blog!

I had to leave, but Rich had the run now and continued to fish for a little while. I got an e-mail an hour or so later from Rich saying that he did manage to hook up twice and land a nice coho salmon of about 24" inches or so. A great morning for the both of us!

But I must say that this is becoming a typical scenario for Rich. He seems to wait until the very end to get his fish. This past spring he waited until I had walked around the corner and out of sight before he hooked and landed his first ever tributary steelhead. Luckily Luke was there to net the fish and take a few photos for him. And this October at our trip to Oak Orchard, Rich waited until the very last minute to hook up with a huge Chinook salmon. It was an epic battle that ended well(thanks to coaching from Bob and Luke). And Luke was there again to take some great photos of some very tired but happy anglers. And now this past Monday, Rich again waits until the end to put some numbers on the board. My only question is why? He has the skills to get into fish. Is it because he has a flare for the dramatic? Or perhaps he is like a lizard that needs to sun itself before it becomes active. Or perhaps he just doesn't want his mug to make it on this blog. I'm not really sure what the deal is, but I hope he changes his mode of operation soon. I can't keep getting e-mails after the fact, it's killing me!

All joking aside, it was a great morning to be out on the stream. And thanks Rich for taking a few photos for me. Next time make sure to get a fish before I leave!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall trib fishing at it's best!

The salmon are just about done, we have had great water conditions, and the trout are starting to show up in greater numbers each day. What else can I say? I think the title says it all. "Fall trib fishing at it's best!"

Yes the fishing seems to hot right now, and the beginning of November is proving to be fantastic. But there is a chance it could get even better. Yupper doodle doo! Even better. How you ask? Well just consider this for a minute. First of all the water levels are near perfect right now. And with any more precipitation they will be even better. That means that the brown trout and steelhead will have plenty of water to start their journey. And high water means more fish will enter the stream. Second - we still have plenty of salmon around. This means that some salmon will still be spawning. Often you can find trout sitting with the salmon or just behind them. They use the salmon to hide behind and as a feeding station. And it is often a good choice to start with an egg pattern when you find trout in this position. And third - I have only seen mostly male trout up to this point. Things get interesting when the females start to show up. Once this happens you will start to see females and males pairing up together. And before they get into full spawn mode the males will become very aggressive. This is a good time to try large streamers and swing them or dead drift them into holding fish.

Those three reasons are why this years tributary season is shaping up to be a really good one. Of course that can change in a blink of an eye. After all we do live in New York. So take advantage of it when you can.

Oh! And here are just a few other important things to think about. Wade with care as their are many spawning beds around. And watch carefully as the brown trout are very difficult to see with the tea stained water. It pays to walk slowly and spend time searching the water before moving. You may find that a trout may be holding in water right near your feet.

Here are some photos from some of my recent outings to one of my favorite Western New York Tributaries.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friends and fly fishing at the double "O"

Yes sir. More fishing was had this weekend. Saturday morning to be exact. We all met at Oak Orchard creek at 6:30am at the lower parking are. Or at least that was the plan. And you know what? It worked out really well. Every one was there at 6:30am. Usually we end up having to wait for someone, or meet them later on the stream. But not this morning. Even James, who usually sleeps in, was there at 6:30am!

The crew for this Saturday(in no particular order): Dan, Rich, Ian, James, Bob, Luke and Me!

And I have to give a special mention to Mr. Dan. And why does Mr. Dan get a special mention you ask? He brought us Coffee and donuts! Need I say more?

Back to the fishing - We were all feeling a little giddy at the prospect of hooking into some big lake run salmon and trout. And our feelings would only be bolstered by the great looking conditions of the water. "Tasty" would be a good word to use. Oh...and there was FOG! Lots of it too! And it lasted well into the morning. It also made sight fishing a bit difficult at first. But we managed as all anglers must when fishing on any of the Lake Ontario tributaries.

We all worked our way into the stream and found some good looking water to fish. Some went downstream and the rest of us headed upstream to a good looking run at the head of a giant pool. And it did not take too long for a fish to put a good bend in a rod. Luke struck first with a good sized brown of about 8 or 9lbs. Then I got a brown of my own a short bit later. I then started to try and find holding fish. And tried to get some of the other guys into position. Dan fished a nice run at the East side of the stream, waiting for fish that would surely use this as safe passage to an upstream lie. The rest of us worked the head of a large pool hard, watching as a few fish would shoot through here and there. But a few fish remained holding. And Luke and I seemed to trade off hooking fish in this section for the next hour or so. We managed to hook 2 steelhead and a big brown. But only one steelhead found the net. Dan and Rich took over, and tried to find a few fish of their own.

And just as our morning was coming to a close, Rich's strike indicator went under and he set up on an epic fish. A few head shakes and the fish was off. He wanted no part of the game Rich was trying to play. The fish pulled line off the reel easily. Rich struggled to get into a better fighting position. Finally we had to walk way downstream before we could gain any line. Bob and Luke also came down to watch and help. Rich then began to work the fish close to shore by sticking his rod to the side and pulling as hard as he could get away with. Collecting line inch by inch. Another short bit later he had the fish swimming in the shallows. I got into position and made a grab for the tail. Fish landed! And the fish was huge. So big in fact, I hard time holding on to it. So I slid the fish into the net and carried it to shore with both hands. The big male Chinook salmon measured 42" from snout to tail, and 23.5" around his thickest part. I guessed the weight to be around 30lbs. Big indeed! Luke took a few photos for us and then we sent the big salmon back on his way.

That was the last fish of the day for Rich, and for several more of us as well. We said our goodbyes and headed home. But man, what a great day to be on the water. Beautiful fall colors, a few nice fish to go with it, and some good fellowship. Not everyone hooked into fish on this day, but their turn will come soon enough. I am certain of it. Especially with more great fishing ahead.

The few that remained, fished into the afternoon and found some more fish well below where we started out. They even hooked a few. And Bob managed to land a very nice brown.

A few guys we missed having around on Saturday were Jessie, Drew and Steve. I hope the next time we get a group together they will be able to join us.

Till next time.....Fish On!

To check out more photos from the trip, please check out Lukes flickr page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Bradfield Boys go Fishing!

This past weekend my brother Andy and my Dad "Big Jim" set out for a little fishing adventure. The goal was to hook some of the monster lake run fish that inhabit many of the Western Lake Ontario tributaries. And we only had one day to do it!

Saturday started great with cool but clear sunny weather. Already a huge improvement from last year's monsoon.

We decided to start our morning at Oak Orchard creek. And along the way Dad asked many questions about midges and would we be fishing them in the Oak. I of course I had to explain that although the Oak most likely has a midge population, the trout and salmon that make their way up it's waters do not feed on midges. Which led to another discussion about were we could fish midges, and the difference between a size #26 hook and a #6 hook.

Now to the Oak - We arrived at the lower parking area to find the pull off part was filled with about 10 cars and so we parked in the field on the opposite side of the road. The field is manned by a guy who collects $2 from each car, and keeps you info in a small little notebook. Hopefully to make sure you don't pay again after going to lunch. We were the first ones in the lot. And I was a little bit surprised that there were so few cars. Where were all the people? I got my answer from the parking lot attendant when he said that the D.E.C. had built a rather large parking lot up near the dam. And it was FREE! He guessed it held close to one hundred vehicles. Well that explains a lot!! So much for thinking we would have a little elbow room.

On the walk down the trail to the creek, we could see the river had a good flow with a slight stain to it. Great conditions! We saw fishermen too. But not as many as I thought. We would be able to find some space to fish after all. The only question was, could we find the fish? This was answered after a somewhat long walk upstream, with us looking in every little run and pocket to find anything. We found very little until we got near the "archers club." And in case you didn't know, the "archers club" is a club that has a piece of land that borders the river on the west side. And it has some great water to fish. Plenty of gravel runs and pocket water with a nice sized pool at the head. Perfect for fish to hold in. The only issue with this is that is also where we started to run into lots of fishermen. The lower part of the run wasn't too bad, and that is where we set up for the morning. But the top end of the run and pool was packed shoulder to shoulder with fishermen. And when we looked upstream even further we could see more of the same. We stuck it out where we were. We hooked up a few times and played with some salmon, but we couldn't land any. Even my dad, who is new to this whole thing, hooked a fish all by himself. I walked up to help him out and soon realized it was hooked in the tail. He fought it for a minute before I said he should break it off. Besides it would have never gotten to shore anyway.

We stayed until lunch time and then made our way back to the car. On our way out my brother spotted a fish close to shore in a shallow section. It looked like a fresh salmon resting in the current. We snuck closer, trying to not spook it. My brother got his line ready and began casting to the fish. He made many drifts until his line got stuck on something. He tried to get it out without spooking the fish, but it wasn't working. I walked very slowly over to the fish to see if I could free his line. Then I saw that the fish was on a stringer and his fly had gotten caught in it. Okay at this point you have to options. One - you unhook the fly and run out of there with your tail between your legs and give up for the rest of the day. And who would blame you. You just tried to catch a fish that was already caught. Your day is ruined! Or you could go with option number two - Laugh hysterically at the embarrassing situation in hopes that others will laugh with you. And then continue on your day realizing that everyone does stuff like that every once and a while. Right? We went with option number two. And it was the right decision. Because after lunch, things changed.

Sandy creek was our next stop after some gas station food. We hit up the Brick Schoolhouse road section downstream from the bridge. And when I say downstream, I mean way downstream. Like half a mile downstream. And we walked that far because we didn't see any fish until then. We came across some great little runs and pools that were holding some salmon. Some of the fish we could tell were post spawn fish. But my brother managed to hook a very big female salmon. A fish he had trouble moving out of the run. We spent a good 20 minutes trying to land that fish before it broke us off going around a submerged tree limb. I spotted the next fish. And after a few casts I hooked up with the second fish at Sandy creek. I gave the rod to my Dad and he and I worked together to finally land our first fish of the day. Finally!

We spent the next half an hour walking back upstream looking for one more last fish before we had to go. And finally I found one. Holding close to the opposite bank. I pointed it out to my brother and he got himself into place. A few casts later he went to pick up his line and realized he had hooked the salmon. The good news was, it wasn't on a stringer. He fought for a minute before we got it in the net. Now both my Dad and brother had landed fish. We took a few photos and sent the male Chinook back on his way.

It was a good ending to our day. The fishing was slow but we managed to land a few. Besides it was great to spend a day on the water with my Dad and my brother. I just hope they aren't too sore for the next few days.

So thanks guys for joining me for a little fishing. I hope we can do it again soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Salmon on Sandy creek!

Yesterday morning I met up with Bob and his friend and pastor Alan for a little fly fishing on Sandy creek. See....It's pastor appreciation month and Bob thought it would be great to get his pastor out on the stream. So Bob was to be Alan's guide for the morning. What a great idea!

I arrived after they had already been fishing since the wee hours of the morning. They first tried the Rt. 19 bridge, but things did not look good there. So they finally moved. And I found them at Brick Schoolhouse Rd. at around 9:35am. And as I drove over the bridge to park behind Bob's giant white truck, I could see him standing just upstream from the rail road bridge.

I got my gear together and walked upstream to meet him and Alan. But when I got there Alan was busy working a fish that was holding in some pocket water. So Bob and I shook hands and talked for minute before we had Alan change positions to get a better drift. It was great to see Bob and meet one of his friends. And I really enjoyed seeing Bob coaching Alan on how to get the right drift. I think Bob would make a good guide!

As they worked together I made my way upstream to find some more fish. But that never materialized. So I headed back downstream. And as I was just about back to where they were fishing, I saw Bob walk up watching a salmon that was pushing upstream into another hole. He said I should give it a try, and after the fish rested a minute I started casting. After several minutes of careful drifting, my line stopped and I set up on my first fish of the morning. This fish took me downstream past were Alan and Bob were. And after about 5 minutes I had my first fish of the morning landed.

Bob and Alan had since moved upstream, still casting to the fish that was now holding behind a large rock in a riffle section. Bob coached as Alan kept at it. Finally Alan lifted his rod, but he seemed to be stuck on the bottom. He applied more pressure to try and break the fly free. And then the water exploded! Alan had his first fish of the morning. He fought it for a minute or so before the fish broke free and swam upstream. The fish found a new resting spot and Alan tried again as I pointed out the location of the fish. But the fish didn't want any part of it, and it moved on. I then told Bob I would head downstream in an effort to try and find more fish.

I walked quite a bit down from the bridge before I found another resting salmon. And as I was drifting my fly to that fish, another fish blasted up from the next run below me. Soon there were two fish in the pool I was fishing, but not for long. Both fish now began to move upstream. And when they finally rested I began casting to larger fish. After many many careful drifts in front of the fish, I finally hooked up with my last fish of the morning. A big male chinook salmon! It took a while but I finally landed the fish. I took a few photos and released it back into the run. I then made a B-line to where I had left Bob and Alan a short while ago. But they had moved on way upstream and I had to go. I felt bad I couldn't find them, but I knew that Bob would find more fish.

After I got home I made a call to Bob's cell phone to let him know about the fish downstream. The phone rang and rang without an answer. Then finally he picked up. I began to try and explain that I had found fish downstream and to say what a great time I had with both he and Alan. But Bob had to interrupt me.....He had a fish on!!! I laughed and said goodbye. I knew he would find fish.

Both he and Alan hooked up with a bunch of salmon and even landed a few nice fish. If you want to read more about their second half of the morning and see some of their photos, please check out Bob's blog page here!

It was great to meet you guys on the stream. And I think Bob would make a great guide!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Luke gets published!

Some good news to report. The latest fall/winter issue of The Drake magazine is out. And I am happy to report that Luke has many of his photos published in several places within it's pages.

If you are not familiar with The Drake magazine, perhaps you should take a look. It is not your average fly fishing magazine. No! It takes a step outside that path. It thrives on giving the reader more than the standard "how to" and "where to go" articles. It's pages are filled with essays and little sections called "scuddlebutt" and "tippets." It also provides some fantastic full page photos for the reader to enjoy as well. It is a nice departure from the standard fly fishing magazine. Not that those other magazines aren't great. They are! And we need them to offer us suggestions and new ideas from fly patterns to technique. I'm just glad that there is something a little different out there. You can find it around here in the Rochester area at Gander Mountain and at Barnes and Noble.

Now to Luke's story - This has been a great year for Luke. Since his decision to start sending photos to all kinds of fly fishing photo competitions and fly fishing publications, he has won some very nice prizes. And if he keeps it up he will no doubt continue to win and be published in more and more venues. It has been about a year since he has made that fateful decision to bring his photography in to focus. And things are looking pretty clear for Luke right now.

If you are interested in checking out his other winning shots check out the fetha styx website and the Living proof designs website.

I have known Luke for a little while now, and it has been great to be apart of his wonderful journey. Keep up the great work. And lets all get together and go fishing!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sandy Creek Steel 10/09

I have heard some pretty nice reports earlier this week from some friends who have been fishing Sandy Creek. The nice thing about the reports have been the ever increasing number of salmon entering the stream. And in a few weeks the salmon will be in full spawning mode. We will start to see more and more spawning reds and more and more fish making their way onto gravel runs and riffle sections to spawn. This will also mean that the trout that are in the stream will start to key in on egg patterns. And more often than not you will be able to find both brown trout and steelhead holding behind the salmon, ready to take advantage of all those loose eggs drifting freely in the current. As a matter of fact, Rich told me of a nice steelhead that was caught by his friend Mike on Tuesday. And later that morning, he came face to face with a large brown of about 10-12lbs. Very exciting!!

On Wednesday, the notorious B.O.B. hit up the lower part of Sandy Creek and saw good numbers of salmon moving upstream all morning. He hooked up quite a bit, but only managed to land a hand full of fish. And that was in part due to his excessive use of 6lb. tippet!

Anyway....I wanted to get into the action, so Ethan and I went on our own Sandy Creek fly fishing adventure yesterday morning.

Ethan and I pulled off on the shoulder of the road just before the Church Street bridge at about 10:00am . I could see several other cars parked on the opposite side of the bridge with several guys frantically getting their gear together. We on the other hand, took our time getting ready and slowly made our way down to the stream. We were going to walk downstream in hopes of getting our own piece of water to fish. After pushing through the brush on the trail that led to the stream, we found it to be in great condition and unoccupied. Plenty of water, with just a little stain to it. Perfect! And to make it even better, a good sized salmon made it's way to the riffle just below where we were standing. We spent a little while making many careful drifts in front of the fish before we hooked up with our first salmon of the morning. We fought it down to the next little pool where we eventually landed it. Ethan proved again to be a great "net man" and he held the fish while I got the camera ready. After a few quick shots we released her to finish her journey and hopefully find a mate.

We found a few more fish in that pool but they weren't interested in taking a fly and eventually moved downstream to another pool.

Our next fish came out of a pool that has been great for spring steelhead. But we would have to be on our game here because of a giant limb from a large tree that had fallen into and accross the pool. This would make it very difficult to land fish, as Luke found out this past Saturday. I began to cast at the head of the pool and after just a few drifts my line stopped and I set up on a nice fish. I could feel it shake it's head down in the pool at first. It then went on a little run and came up to the surface shaking it's head again. When I saw silver sides with a nice red stripe down the side I new it was my first steelhead of the fall. It was a small steelhead. But what it lacked in size it made up for in fight. Even with my 8 weight fly rod bent well into the lower part of the rod, I had trouble keeping this fish at the top of the run. And just when I thought the game was over, it jumped about three feet in the air and took another run at the limb in the water. A minute later, Ethan and I had our first steelhead in the net. A nice male of about 5 or 6lbs.

The last part of our morning was spent in search of a large lake run brown trout. We never did find one. I guess that will have to wait for another trip. It will only be a matter of time now. We did catch another nice salmon though. One that took at least 10 minutes to land. What a great way to end a fantastic morning of fishing!

All fish took a #10 brown woolly bugger dead drifted near the bottom.

See you at the stream!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Salmon are Here!!!!

Yes they are here...the Salmon are here!

I stopped off at Sandy creek this morning after dropping Ethan off at pre-school. My hopes were high and my expectations low. A great combination that would help me feel better about myself if I couldn't find any fish. After all, it was early in the season. Right?

And to make things appear even brighter(although it was very dark and raining cats and dogs) was the fact that there were already two cars parked at the pull off. My brain was now jumping all over the place. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does it mean that there are fish in the stream? Do I pull out the 6 weight or the 8 weight?(I chose the 6 weight) Will I find salmon or maybe a trout or two? Is there enough water for the fish to make it upstream? Well, you get the idea. I'm absurd when it comes to stuff like this.

Anyway I made it to the creek to see the water was in great shape. Plenty of it and clear. Great for salmon migrations and sight fishing.

I stopped for a minute to talk with an older fly fisherman. He had said that he didn't catch anything but he did see a few fish move upstream. He was leaving for the day so I felt good about my chances of hooking up with my first Chinook salmon of the 2009 fall season.

A short walk upstream proved to be a good choice as I found two nice salmon sitting at the head of a run. I put on a #6 brown woolly bugger and worked my way just upstream from the fish. I began casting to the fish in hopes that my fly would swing right in front of them triggering a strike. But on one of those drifts my line stopped moving and I picked up to find a fish on the end. Fish on! This fish gave me one amazing fight. Big runs, head shakes and plenty of brute strength. Just what you're looking for in a salmon. Ten minutes passed before I had my hand around it's tail. First fish landed! I took a few photos and released the male back into the creek to continue his journey.

I spent the next forty five minutes looking for more fish. I found some here and there. And even landed one more fish before it was all said and done. A very nice fresh female Chinook salmon. She took a #6 pink woolly bugger and spent more time thrashing around than running.

All in all a fantastic morning. Better than I had hoped. And I can now say that I landed a 20lb. king salmon on my 6 weight fly rod. Not once...but twice!!! The eight weight would have been a much better choice. And next time I will use it.

Get out there and catch some salmon!!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall fishing on the Oatka

This past week and a half I have been making the short drive to Oatka creek to try and catch a trout on my new 7' Beaver meadow 2 weight fly rod. And up until this Wednesday I was batting a big fat zero! My problem has been trying to get into a good spot to fish. And up until this past Wednesday the parking area has been full of cars with fellow fly fisherman trying desperately to take advantage of an ever dwindling morning trico hatch. This has left me trying to find my own piece of water to fish where there is trout and no fly fishermen. It has been a difficult task to say the least.

Okay.....Wednesday morning I dropped Ethan off at pre-school and drove to the Oatka hoping and praying that I would be the only one that decided to fish that morning. And to my delight, I was! I quickly got my gear ready and slipped on my waders. I then jogged my way up to the "honey hole" Yes I jogged. I would have run, but it is very difficult to do wearing waders, a pack, net and rod. So I jogged.

I came in below the "honey hole" and worked my way across the stream and up to the spot I had been waiting weeks to fish. Tying up my nymph and indicator proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Especially when I can clearly see at least 30-40 fish holding in the pool. Some of the trout looked really big too! I pulled out a bunch of line and began casting and drifting right in the middle of all those fish. It took maybe 6 drifts with a #16 blood worm pattern, and I was into my first fish on my new 2 weight. The fish went airborne several times before I got it into the net. And after a short onshore battle, I unhooked it and let it go. Okay....now I could take a deep breath. The pressure was off. I could just concentrate on getting into some bigger fish. But, after hooking several more fish and landed none of them, I realized that it was not going to be that easy. I did land one more trout before I had to leave, but I had landed only 2 out of the 6 fish I hooked. That is the way it goes. It is fishing after all....not catching.

Thursday - Ethan wanted to go fishing with dad, so headed back to the honey hole. This time I brought my 4 weight in the hope that it would solve my poor landing record. I was thinking that I heavier and longer rod would help eliminate some of that, but it didn't. I came to the conclusion that it was not the equipment that was the problem, it was the fly fisherman.

The fishing was pretty good. Not great, but good. We caught 2 trout out of about 6 or 7 we hooked in 2 hours of fishing. Some of the trout were pretty good sized, but after a few big head shakes they were gone. Ethan proved to be a very good "net man" as he helped me land the first fish of the morning and the last. All fish took a #16 blood worm pattern and a #18 gray scud. Ethan also scrapped the bottom of the stream with the net looking for bugs. We found many scuds, small water beetles, and an isonychia nymph. We had a great time together.

The tributary season is here!! Orleans Outdoor has been posting daily reports on the Oak. Today he reported a good number of fish up by the dam. Sandy will have fish soon. Hopefully I will be able to report on that next week!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Family Trip to Inlet, NY

In years past we have had the wonderful opportunity to get up to visit my parents at their camp on Fourth Lake in Inlet, NY. This year however was a little different. Instead of our regular mid- summer visit, we had to settle for this past Thursday (September 3rd.) And when I say settle, I don't mean it in a bad way at all. I Just mean that we were not able to be there when many of our other family members were there. So we had to settle for the next best thing! Plus it was great to visit with my Dad for the weekend.

Anyway - the ride up was great! We saw plenty of wildlife that included deer, turkey, a pair of bald eagles and a coyote. In fact I was beginning to believe that we would see a bear at any moment. But that didn't happen till the end of our stay.

The fishing was good and everyone that wanted to catch fish, caught fish. I played the role of guide for most of our stay. I put worms on hooks, took fish off of hooks, released fish back into the water, and gave some great advice, like "Make sure you look behind you before you cast." We all caught our share of perch, rock bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and sunfish.

We did other things too of course. We took walks into the town of Inlet to get donuts and bread one morning. Ice cream the next evening. We swam at the beach almost every day. We took a hike into Ferd's Bog. And we took the "barge" down to Old forge and back. I even got to explore a small stream for small wild brook trout and landlocked salmon. But that turned out to be more of a bush whacking adventure than a fishing adventure. But I did get to fish my new 2 weight Beaver Meadow fly rod. And it performed great!! I can't wait to get a nice Oatka brown on it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened on our trip, happened on Saturday evening. We had put Katie and Ethan in bed and were making our way out to the dock to fish. On our way out, I heard some noise in the tree that is maybe 10 feet or so from the front doors of the camp that look out to the lake. In fact we pretty much walked right under the tree when we made our way out to the dock. After we got out to the dock and began to fish I heard some more noise and saw lots of shaking branches. My dad, who was still inside the camp with Jake, opened the doors that looked out to where we were fishing and loudly stated that there was a bear in the tree! A bear? What a relief....I thought it was an extremely large squirrel ready to lunge in a desperate attempt to kill us with his large nut cracking teeth. At that point the bear made some more noise and shook more branches. Apparently the bear did not like the idea of being caught between us and my dad and Jake. My dad then asked what we were going to do. I said we were going to stay right where we were. I'm not one for making a run for it and giving the bear the idea that I might be it's prey trying to flee. Besides, the bear was the one in the tree. He was more afraid of us, than we were of him. At least that is all I could come up with at that point. Meanwhile my dad was now outside standing almost direclty under the tree with Jake in hand looking up at the bear. At this point I was thinking that I might end up on the evening news having the dreaded task of telling the viewing audience what went wrong in a seemingly harmless situation. But the bear just made a low menacing hissing noise. The very kind of noise you would think a wild animal would make when it's trapped or really really mad. At this point I had my dad go get a flash light for us. Hey, we needed light and my dad was obviously feeling brave. After the flash light delivery my dad and Jake made it safely back into camp. They stayed there for a little while(possibly thinking up more stunts to pull) and it was at this point that I heard a scrapping sound on the tree. It was the sound of the bear coming down out of the tree. Colleen was near by and saw the bear start to move on it's way. My dad, who obviously wanted to let the bear know who was boss, yelled "hey bear!" It's my guess that that's what you say to a bear if he isn't going fast enough. Again, for brief second, I saw my self sitting in a chair talking to Diane sawyer or Charles gibbson or whoever does those morning TV spots. It was a good thing that the bear had better things to do! I really didn't want to have to come up with an explanation for this. I mean what would I say?

That's pretty much it. We left the next morning having had a good time and our limbs still intact.
Now it's time for school and those sorts of things. And hopefully soon a run of salmon and trout!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Late August is Crazy!!!!

August has been a great month! A bit on the crazy side, but great none the less. In fact it has put off my usual blogging until now. So I will try my best to combine several weeks of info into one blog.

Here it goes - Almost two weeks ago now, Luke spent some time fishing Spring creek and Oatka creek. And has been joined on various occasions by the likes of James, Jessie and a new friend Ian. They have, like pretty much every other time, put a pretty good beat down on the fish. But it has been Luke who has set the bar high. On one of these outings he landed many brown trout in the 15" to 16" range and a rare 19" fish that took him nearly an hour to hook up with. And then 10 minutes to land. And this all happened in one day! A high bar indeed!

Last week I had the opportunity to get out with my boys for some warm water fishing on black creek for a little while. And the fishing was pretty good. At least it was for us. We caught a bunch of smallmouth bass on conehead streamers and woolly buggers with white and chartreuse being the hot flies. Jonathan even managed to catch the only largemouth bass of the day all by himself. There were others fishing, but they only managed a few sunfish. Like I said "the fishing was pretty good"

Late last week on Thursday I had the opportunity to fish solo. I sent the "fish" signal out to all prospective parties. And as it turned out only Bob could answer the call on this day. The plan was to meet early. A little after 6:00 am at the cow bridge. Upon my arrival I saw two other cars parked at the pull off. Neither of them were Bob's! Was this going to be a crowded morning? And in the middle of the week? What's up with that!?!?!? I knew that the tricos were still around but I didn't know that they still had a following. I was a little disappointed. But that didn't last because I knew that it was a blessing just to be out fishing by myself and a friend. And that just doesn't happen all that often any more.
I took my time getting my gear together and slowly walked down to the creek. While I waited for Bob at the bridge, I took some time to look around and take some photos. At around 7:00 Bob came down and we headed off downstream to a spot I call the "block pool." The block pool is a nice deep pool about 20 feet in length or so with a large cement block rising out of the water on the north side of the creek. It is also a pool that has been good to me in the past. In fact my best wild trout to date came from this spot, a 17" male that gave me a great fight on a 6 weight.

Today would be different. Today we would be fishing mostly nymphs. And our morning of fishing started like the temperature.....cold! And just as we were starting to get into our rhythm a guy appeared on the opposite side of the stream. At first I didn't even notice him. But when he yelled across at us explaining that we were standing in one of the best runs for the trico hatch, I could do nothing but stare in horror. And I'm pretty sure Bob had the same idea because he just stared at the guy too! He continued his unwelcome banter as Bob and I did our best to ignore him. It was clear he wanted "his" spot. He could have gotten up earlier, but he didn't. And we were not ready to give it to him. Not when both of us have little opportunity to fish alone or together for that matter. Even Bob mentioned to him at one point "I bet you would like to fish here?" Which for a second rendered the poor fellow speechless. A few minutes later the guy realized that all his talking was not going to move us, so he moved. But not far!

We then had to find our focus again. And after numerous fly changes and little adjustments, my first fish of the morning came in. It was fooled by a #22 brown midge larvae fished on the bottom. The next 45 minutes to an hour brought more fish to hand, including a nice brown trout of about 15" and a bigger fish that pulled free after just a few seconds. Fishing was now good. And you would think that I would be happy with the outcome so far. Well you would be sort of right. I was happy that we had now caught fish but I wanted to try and fish the "honey hole." So what did I do? I moved. And in doing that I broke one of the rules of fly fishing - Don't leave fish to find fish. And I can honestly say that It didn't turn out all bad. At least from a learning standpoint. Our "honey hole" turned out to be occupied. And it's occupant was fishing to trout that were now rising to trico spinners. All was not lost. While we were in the vicinity for the remainder of the hour we had to fish, we saw him catch a good 4 or 5 trout. And we ourselves were able to cast small dry flies to some of our own trout just below him. I even had a few takers to make it interesting. But I couldn't seal the deal.
In hind sight we should have gone to spring creek. But the lure of the Oatka was too strong for me. It is, after all, my favorite Western New York inland trout stream. Plus each time I step foot into it's water with fly rod in hand, I learn something new. And that is a good thing!

To finish the month off and this blog. I would like to congratulate my sister and her husband on their brand spanking new baby girls. Two very healthy twins that weigh as much as an average Lake Ontario tributary brown trout. Congratulations guys!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's been a while!

Like the title of this blog says, "it's been a while!" At least that is the how it feels. And I mean since I last wet my toes in the cool water of one of my all time favorite streams.....the Oatka! And this time I was joined by my oldest son Jonathan. And that made the morning even better!

I had made the decision to fish the Oatka that morning. There were thunderstorms and heavy rain last week that had blown out the creek and the water gage was reading at over 3.2 the previous night. But that morning when I saw that the flow rate was at 2.0 and the gage was now reading 3.0, I had to give it a try.

As we arrived at the parking spot I saw that we were the third car in line. There was an older fly fishing guy getting his gear ready. And for a moment I thought we might not get our spot. But that fear was put to rest when we made it up to the "honey hole" and saw that no one was around. I rigged one rod with a woolly bugger and the other a san juan worm. We began tossing our flies into the water, and after a while of nothing, we changed flies. More casting and more of nothing. The older fly fisherman we saw at the parking spot had now worked his way up from somewhere way downstream, to fish right below us in the flat water. He seemed to be casting dry flies to places he thought would hold fish. But like us, he did not hook a single fish. And after a while longer he left.

Jonathan and I continued to fish. Actually I fished, he played in shallow water and had some snacks. We saw two other fly fisherman come and go that morning. Neither of them caught anything. They were looking to fish the trico hatch. A hatch in which many serious fly fisherman enjoy because you can catch weary trout on small dry flies. The only problem with that is you can't catch those weary trout on top when there aren't many bugs around.

We stuck with our game plan to fish nymphs deep. But it wasn't until I tied on a #16 flash back pheasant tail nymph, did the fishing change. And after a few adjustments, the indicator finally dipped. And when I set the hook, something pulled back. A trout!!! Finally. I quickly handed the rod to Jonathan, and he carefully played and landed our first and only Oatka brown trout of the morning. I took a few photos and then Jonathan revived the trout and let it swim away. I was proud of him. He stuck it out with dad and spent the extra time to make sure that fish was ready to swim away.

Our morning came to what seemed like an early end. But not before I hooked one more fish that got off before I could even see it. We left feeling good that we had caught a trout, and had done it together!

See you guys on the water!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Irondequoit creek revisited

Okay so this will be a shorter blog than my usual lengthy rant.

I came across the opportunity to fish Irondequoit creek at Linear Park again last week for about an hour. It was in the afternoon. And fortunately for me the fish responded well to a #12 stimulator in summer flow conditions. And to be completely honest, I don't think it mattered what I had on, as long as it floated!

My first cast was.....well it wasn't really a cast. I pretty much stripped out some line and dropped the fly in the water. And as the fly floated downstream in a good moving riffle, I fed line through the guides. And to my surprise, a small trout came to the surface and crashed the fly. Of course I missed the fish. But on the next pass, when my fly got ambushed again, I was fast on the trigger and I landed the first fish of the afternoon. A small rainbow trout.

I then positioned myself below the run and began casting upstream to every fishy looking place I could get to. And almost every little spot held a rainbow that couldn't resist the stimulator.

This went on for a little while until I exhausted the fish at this section of Irondequoit. So I moved upstream picking away at the fish as I went. Soon I was at a place called the "bend pool." This place is a favorite for all fisherman during the fall and spring for lake run trout and salmon. But today it was occupied by a few swimmers.

Just above the pool is a section of faster water that will often hold fish depending on water conditions. Today it looked good. But after picking it apart, and having no fish to show for it, I moved on. At the head of this run on the opposite side of the stream there was a small piece of pocket water that looked good. My first cast brought a splashy rise and a missed fish. My second cast brought a nice brown trout to hand.

The only other trout I saw in the last 10 minutes I had on the stream was a dead brown trout of at least 16". It was a little sad to see such a wonderful fish wasted. But it is apart of fishing. Sometimes we forget how fragile our natural resources can be.

On a positive note - The fall salmon, steelhead and brown trout season will be hear soon!