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!