Friday, November 19, 2010

A change of heart!

A week ago I found myself fishing a small LO tributary that has been very kind to me this fall. In fact it has probably produced more big brown trout in the past few weeks than it did in just the past few years. The reason is simple....water!

We haven't had any big rain event where we see an inch of rain or so at one time, but just enough here and there to keep this particular stream a good 4 to 6 inches above what I have seen in the past 4 or 5 years. And because of that fact, we are seeing large numbers of brown trout make their way upstream. And last Friday I was able to capitalize on the current state of affairs, landing 5 trout in a few hours. And better yet...I was able to enjoy it with some friends, who also caught a bunch of trout.

This week I made it back to that same stream hoping to find conditions in much the same manner as I left them last Friday. But in the back of my mind I had a sneaky suspicion that I was in for change. And that change came in the form of an excess of water, both from mother nature and man.

Every year at this time many of the streams that empty into Lake Ontario along the Western part of the state get a boost of water from the Erie canal. The draining of the canal has been in the past, a way to get a fresh push of fish during low water periods. And in those years, we eagerly await this event because it greatly improves the fishing. This year however, we received plenty of rain to go along with the Erie canal water, and on Wednesday the stream was the color of chocolate milk.

So...yesterday Ethan and I made our way to a small inland trout stream. And I'm glad we did! And to be honest, I missed fishing it's crystal clear spring water that is filled with wild trout. It's a much different game than the one we play with tributary fish. It's a light line and small flies king of game. The fish are a bit smaller too, with the average trout being somewhere in the 10-12" inch range, and not the 6-8 lb. average of the typical tributary brown. But there is something special about fishing to these fish that draws me back to this stream, even in the midst of an incredible fall tributary season. I could have gone to another tributary yesterday that is a tail water and doesn't suffer the same as the smaller tribs, but I didn't. Maybe the reason I headed inland was for the chance to get a wild 15" or 16" inch brown on something smaller than a size #10 egg pattern. Or maybe it was just that I was lazy and didn't want to drive the extra 20 minutes to get connected with a monster. Either way, I was more than happy to be spending my time casting my 4 weight to a smaller foe.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good water = Good fishing!

We have been blessed with enough water this fall to keep our Western New York tributaries flowing at near perfect conditions since the beginning of October. And now that we are into the middle of November much remains the same!

I can't tell you how important rain is to these wonderful great lake tributaries, and in years past it has been tough going because of low water. The fish just aren't there in big numbers when we don't have a good flow. Last year I would see just a few big trout holding in the same section that I would see a good 10-12 fish this year. Having a good water flow means that fish have more cover to hide in, they can move freely whenever they want, and will spread out throughout the whole system, which means we should have a great winter and spring of fly fishing ahead of us!

I am now seeing good numbers of lake run trout in most sections of all the tributaries, and have been able to take advantage of it from time to time. And it now seems as though the female brown trout are starting to show up in greater numbers, and should be paring up with males in the next few weeks to spawn. Try and concentrate on fishing the pools and deeper runs where you wouldn't see spawning fish - it is best to leave those fish alone, and allow them to do there business. The only exception to this would be fishing to steelhead and lake run rainbows that will station themselves behind the spawning trout and feed off the lose eggs.

All fish as of late have been caught on #10 sucker spawns, nuclear roe bugs, and a few other small egg like patterns.

In the next few weeks we should see a flow increase in all the are tribs regardless of whether we get rain or not. And that will be due to the draining of the Erie Canal. And when that happens, look for even more numbers of trout entering our local tribs....especially steelhead!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The brown trout are coming, the brown trout are coming!

November is typically the month to fish for lake run browns. It is the time when they run the rivers and streams in greater numbers as they make their way upstream to spawn. But before they do - spawn that is - they can often be seen sitting behind salmon picking off loose eggs.

It is an exciting time to be on the stream for sure. Sometimes you can sight fish to a half dozen lake run brown trout that are pushing the 10 lb. mark or better. But there are also other opportunities. Steelhead and Atlantic salmon also make a good push at this time as well, and if you happen upon the right place at the right time, fishing can be amazing!

But we must also be careful to handle each fish carefully and take as much time and effort in releasing them carefully as we did in playing the fish out. It is an amazing and wonderful resource that we must take care of if we want it to continue to be as good as it is.

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to fish with family and friends, both new and old, and even land a few really nice fish in the process. To see more photos from some of these friends please check out Lucas Carroll's flickr page and blog, and Graham Owens flickr page and photography website. They do a wonderful job of capturing both the fish and the fishing, and are able to do it in an wonderfully artistic style of their own.

As the fall progresses into winter the fishing will change again. The brown trout will eventually come off the spawn and the steelhead numbers will continue to build before the small tributaries are locked up with ice. When this happens, we will have a small window of opportunity to take advantage of a wide spread feeding frenzy. Egg patterns will still work well, but don't forget nymphs as well when dead drifting under an indicator. And if you really want to have some fun, break out those big streamer patterns. Playing around with large streamers can be a blast, and you never know what can happen when fishing these flies....let's just say you had better be prepared for anything, so fish accordingly.

See you on the stream.....