Thursday, June 23, 2011

Post-Dentist fishing trip with Ethan

With my ability to bite into my favorite grilled foods restored, I now feel whole once again. It's funny how the intense pain of an infected tooth can turn a grown man into a something far less than what he thinks he is. Especially when he can't tear into his favorite hunk of burnt meat!

So after getting shot up for the last time with Novocain, and having the dentist poke, prod and pull my tooth for what I hope is the last time, Ethan and I decided it would be a good idea to treat ourselves to a celebratory fishing trip. Besides, the stream we wanted to fish was on our way home and it looked primed for some good fishing!

Irondequoit creek is a very well known popular small stream that has a good resident trout population all year long, with the added bonus of lake run trout and salmon that start to run it's course in late fall through spring. It does receive generous stocking from the NYS DEC every spring, but also has plenty of holdover fish and a few wild trout thrown in for good measure.

At first the fishing was slow, as I tried a few dry flies and Ethan threw some spinners with his spin cast rod. But a change to a #16 BH pheasant tail nymph proved to be what the trout wanted and I quickly brought 4 fish to hand in a matter of minutes. This prompted Ethan to want a fly rod of his own, so a quick trip back to the van to pick up rod number two was in order.

With two rods now at the ready, rigged with nymphs, Ethan and I walked a good three to four hundred yards or so of the stream fishing every little pocket, pool, and riffle. I am happy to report that we picked trout out of every little spot we stopped at - Small stream fly fishing at it's finest!

Ethan worked hard at trying to get his own fish on the fly, but it wasn't until we neared the end of our little trip did he finally hook up and land his very first trout on the fly. We stayed at this spot for a while, both of us hooking fish after fish out of a nice riffle section with Ethan pulling a good 3 fish out for himself. Every thing else was now a bonus!

With several dozen fish already brought to hand, we ended our day fishing a large pool below a small water fall. I could see at least 30 fish holding in the tail out and pool and decided that it was time to try and take a fish on a dry one last time. Well, it worked - sort of! With no sign of any bug activity at all, I tried an emerger pattern. Several fish made a move toward the fly, but in the end refused. So I decided to add a little movement to the fly and began to strip it just under the surface. This worked wonders and I began to get a few of those trout to not only follow the fly, but take it! I then worked the tail out of the pool fishing down and across like you would when fishing to Atlantic salmon or steelhead. And as the fly darted across the stream just under the surface, several nice fish would come up off the bottom to investigate. In the end I took several fish using this method, but was it really dry fly fishing when the fly is submerged? This is why my "dry fly" attempt sort of worked. I know I can't really count those fish as "dry fly" caught fish, but at this point, I'm taking what I can get!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Afternoon trout in WNY

Over the past week I have been watching the local water levels fall to almost perfect dry fly fishing conditions. And although we aren’t quite there just yet, the bugs and trout are now starting to come together nicely. Thank God for drier weather!!!!

I have been able to get out a few times for an hour or so in the afternoon, and I am now seeing sulphers and March browns popping off here and there with some sporadic caddis emergence. I am still waiting for my opportunity to get out in the early morning or evening to take advantage of a major hatch or spinner fall, so in the meantime I am making the best out of what time I do have.

We have been enjoying some fantastic nymph fishing as of late. And the hot fly has continued to be a #14-#16 gold bead head OS nymph. I have even tried various other patterns to see how the trout respond, but to no avail, they want what they want, and I am always willing to oblige.

I recently had the opportunity to get out to the stream with my youngest son Ethan for a little fishing on a lower section. This particular section gets stocked by the NYS DEC, and gets pounded during the early part of April just after the opening of the state’s trout season. But by this point in the year, the pressure is off, the fish have turned on to the bugs, and you can usually find plenty of stocked fish left along with a few larger holdovers and wild fish.

Ethan and I had a blast during the time we spent together on the stream. We both caught numerous fish up to 16” and ended our time with close to 18 fish landed. Most were stocked, but on occasion I would get a small 5 to 6 inch trout that I know the state does not stock.

I also had the chance to swing some flies for fish as they are now starting to look up in the water column more and more. This technique seems to have been lost by many anglers, as I mostly see guys fishing nymphs or dries. But I still know that there are some of you out there that haven’t forgotten this great technique. One of my favorite methods is to fish a weighted wet fly or nymph. I cast the fly slightly upstream, throw in a mend and let it dead drift near the bottom. When the fly nears the middle part of the drift and the fly line starts to bow, I let it swing up off the bottom towards the upper part of the water column, making the fly look like an emerger shooting towards the surface. And if the fly makes it to the end of the drift without a strike, I let it dangle in the current below me for a minute. Of course this method is best used before a hatch occurs, but if I start to notice splashing rises from fish at any point during the day, I try and make a point to change my technique! Seeing a fish chase down my fly or come rocketing out of the water with it, is an event I never forget!

I have also found a little time for some warm water fishing at another local stream. Both small mouth bass and carp have been willing to take a fly. Although I must admit that the carp have had to take a little more convincing than the bass.