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. 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!