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.