Saturday, March 26, 2011
Big fish round-up!
For those of you who read this blog from time to time, you may noticed that we have been doing very well on our wonderful WNY tributaries as of late. It has been a blessing for sure! Not only have we found some time to get out there, but there have been impressive numbers of fish in the system and it has made for some fantastic fishing.
The fish have averaged somewhere between 6-8lbs and for the most part have been drop back brown trout with a few steelhead thrown in for good measure. But that is all starting to change. Before our most recent cold snap, that has now put day time temperatures in the upper 20's, the stream's water temperatures were getting into that magical 40 degree mark. It is the temperature in which steelhead begin their spawn. This is important because it means that the numbers of steelhead will continue to increase every time we get out on the stream. And for the most part that has been true! And with the influx of fresh fish, come the big males ready to stake out some spawning territory. These big boys can reach lengths of 36" or so and have impressive girths, making them a truly huge trout that can reach 20lb.s or more!
The fishing for steelhead right now consists of dead drifting egg patterns or nymphs under an indicator. This is due to the fact that they are getting ready to spawn and are less likely to chase a streamer down (unlike the drop back browns who seem to crush just about anything in their path.) This will change in the next few weeks as more and more steelhead will be starting to come off the spawn and will be at times very aggressive toward a swung streamer. The only hard part will be figuring out what the fish want on any given stretch of river. You could get fish on egg patterns at one hole and then nothing in the next, but switch to a streamer and get fish after fish. So it pays to carry 2 rods rigged up for each scenario.
This past week I was able to get out with a few friends and find some truly big trout. Andy started the afternoon off with a beauty of a female drop back brown that measured in at 28.5" and probably weighed in at around 10lbs. Then I found a rather large fish that seemed intent on destroying my fly, rod, and net. At first I thought it was a large brown, but that idea vanished when I saw it come up and turn sideways - all I saw was a huge wide side of red! And so far it is the largest steelhead for me this spring, taping out at 32" in length with a girth of 18". The afternoon ended with a few more hookups for each of us, with one more fish to the net before I had to go, another large male steelhead of about 28-29".
The rest of the boys stayed on and found more willing trout down below from where we started off our afternoon. And although they weren't the monsters we found right off the bat, no one complained! It is after all just the start of spring with plenty more great steelhead fishing ahead for the next 3 weeks. And who knows....maybe a few more big trout will find their way into our nets....I certainly hope so!