Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's about time!

With all this great weather we have had the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to get out as much as I can and try and catch a steelhead. Well....today was the day! After losing a fish or two and sometimes even getting skunked this past winter, I have kept a positive attitude, and have now been rewarded for my perseverance!

The fish I landed took a #8 chartreuse bead head olive woolly bugger on a dead drift. And as soon as I set the hook, she came up the surface shaking hear head back and forth. When I saw the pink in the gill plate and on her silvery sides, I new that I had a fresh fish that was a day or two from the lake. I only hoped the fly held. With a few runs here and there and a lot of twisting and turning, I finally manged to slide her up on shore. To say that I let out a sigh of relief would be an understatement. Like I said, it had been a while since I landed my last steelhead.

A "center pin" guy who had walked down to watch me land my first spring steel, was very friendly and took a few photos for me. And while I was playing the fish he was talking to Ethan, saying "watch how your dad does it, so you can do it someday." He told me it was great to see Ethan with me in the pack on my back. Like I said he was a really great guy!

I'll be out again before the run is done. And I hope I don't have to wait too long before I get another nice steelhead to shore. What a great day! I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy great fishing in my back yard and to do it with my kids!!



Monday, March 30, 2009

Memories from the bench

During the past few weeks I have been trying to spend a little time each day tying for the upcoming spring trout season. And while examining my boxes to see what I needed, I came across a pattern that reminded me of a great day I had last year on the Oatka creek.

The pattern was a modified Hare's ear that I tied on a size #14 2xl nymph hook. A brass bead to fit, 10 or 12 wraps of lead wire, with rabbit body hair tied in for a tail, hare's ear dubbing for the body, gold wire for the ribbing and then finished off with another bunch of rabbit body hair for a wing.

The idea was to use it in the spring and early summer when the larger mayflies like the hendricksons were active. It was also designed to impart more action than a standard nymph (This is where the rabbit fur came into the design.)

I was dead drifting it along the bottom of a stretch of creek that had a nice long pool with a good current. And almost every other drift was producing a trout. Then, for some reason I forgot to pick up my line and make another cast. The line began to form a nice arc, the kind you get when you forget to mend. The fly picked up speed and swung up in the current. This triggered a whole new reaction from the trout. One fish would spot the swinging fly and begin to follow, then another and soon 3 to 4 trout would be competing for my fly. I did not need to watch my indicator anymore, the trout would pull hard enough to let me know when they took the fly. Plus I could see everything unfold right before my eyes.

I have dead drifted nymphs before and let them ride up in the current with good success. But, not with an indicator attached to my leader. And not when I could see everything so clearly. An eye opener for sure!

That experience reminded me that I can sometimes get tunnel vision. I catch so many fish dead drifting nymphs that I usually don't think about imparting action to the nymph. It also reminded me to always try new things when fly fishing.

Have a great spring trout season everybody!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stocking Up!

After a long winter of chasing trout, both inland and tributary fish, I have turned my attention to my fly boxes. They are about half full. This is a problem!

With only a few weeks left until we start seeing the first mayflies come off our local trout streams here in western New York, I am in a state of....well, panic! I have only a few patterns to get me bye, and that is not good especially when you pride yourself on being prepared. I could give you any number of excuses as to why I have not prepared myself, but why bother you with stories of renovating bathrooms, painting, work and three kids. That won't help me put flies in my boxes!

I could try and convince some of my friends to give me some of their flies. Ones that they have been tying for months in preparation for spring. Like my friend Luke, who apparently has all of his boxes full to bursting with wonderfully tied dries, emergers, nymphs and spinners. He doesn't need all of those....does he?

Even though my friends probably will give me a few flies, there is nothing like getting that first trout to rise to a dry fly that you tied yourself. And I'm so ready for that first fish on a dry!!!

Besides our fishing schedules don't always match up. So I need to get busy and tie for the up and coming season of hatches!

Oh yeah...the photo is of some hair wing march browns that I tied yesterday. More to come!

See ya


Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 CNY Fly Tying Symposium

Last week Luke and I made the trip out to my old stomping grounds in central New York. We attended the 2009 Central New York Fly Tying Symposium in Utica, where we tied flies, helped out with a kids fly tying session and met with some great fly tyers. I was also asked to do a presentation on Western New York tributary fishing, which was a lot of fun to do. Our goal was to help raise money for the FFAA organization. The FFAA(Fly Fishers Anglers Association) helps in keeping the West Canada creek in great condition. They organize stream "clean-ups," pay for regulation sign production and display and maintain them. They also will use the money for the "BFB" (bucks for browns) program which stocks browns in the trophy section of the West Canada.

This was a great way to spend a Saturday. Talking and tying with great fly fisherman from NY and helping a great cause! Maybe in years to some we could have something like that here in Western, NY. A group that would be able to help keep the fisheries we enjoy so much in great condition!