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!

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