Thursday, September 8, 2011

End of summer fishing in WNY

The end of summer is always bitter sweet for me. I am sad to see the last of the summer hatches end on my favorite WNY inland trout streams. And there is always a transition period at the end of summer that can be at times difficult to wade through, which only means that fishing can be at times on the slow side.

This year, however, many things have been a bit different from the get go. Spring decided to extend its self into summer and dump copious amounts of rain that put off much of the great fishing that can be had during the first early season hatches. And for me personally, it put an almost permanent damper on any successful dry fly fishing for the year. I also had many projects to attend to this summer, both in and around the house, which also contributed to my frequent absence from the stream during those peak hatch times. But as you may have guessed, I did find some opportunities to stretch a line, even when the fishing may have been less than stellar, and have found success. And a part of that was due to the fact that I was able to take part in a different kind of fly fishing – but that is another story that I will tell at a different time.

The only part of the end of summer that seems to have stayed the same this year for me is the opportunity to catch some big fish in the local inland trout streams. On average these fish will reach between 10-11 inches with 1 out of 5 fish being somewhere in the 12-15 inch range, and on occasion, a fish that will push a good bit beyond that. So in truth this is small to medium sized stream fishing that requires light rods and tippets. But every August I seem to get some of my biggest fish of the year at these places and so do some of my friends as well. Much of the fishing at this time is with small flies. Tricos, midges, small nymphs and wet flies in sizes #20-#24 are the key to consistently hook up with fish. And with the low water of late summer, it also allows us to do some sight fishing to some wonderfully picky brown trout.

I have also had the pleasure of bringing my kids with me on a few of these adventures, and watched them all get into fish here and there. And even that is coming to an end as they will all be in school by the end of the week.

But like everything else in life – change is inevitable – and fall is here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pond fishin'

Pond fishing has a lot going for it. For one, the fishing is usually always good. And depending on the pond, you have a nice variety of fish to throw a fly at. But perhaps the best feature about fishing ponds is how close they are to almost anywhere you happen to be at the time you get the urge to fish.

This past winter at the Guys, Flies & Pies event (WNY’s Premier fly tying party), Michael Simmons (the event organizer) and I had a conversation that ended the way most do at an event like that – “Let’s get out and fish together.” I quickly agreed and secretly vowed to be one of those guys that actually followed through with what I said. And lucky for me, I remembered. And when summer rolled around I made a few calls to try and get some dates together for a family picnic/fishing trip, or as Mike likes to call it a “fishnic!”

This past Monday ended up being the day to go. Mike e-mailed me with a map to the pond and a meeting time. When my family and I got there 15 minutes early to see a man dressed in purple pants sleeping on a picnic table under the pavilion we were supposed to eat dinner at, I thought we were off to a great start! The picnic was fantastic, with everyone enjoying some great conversation and laughs, but that can only go on for so long before the fly fishermen need to get a fly into the water.

The layout of the pond was perfectly set up for fly fishermen. With a long cast you could reach half way across to the other side, giving you plenty of time and distance to work a popper back to shore the way you would like.

After setting up the kids with flies, I tied on a small caddis and began working the shoreline with my JP Ross beaver meadow 2 weight, and quickly got into a sunfish. But Mike, who is always up for a little competition, quickly upped the ante and got the first bass of the night. And then, a few minutes later, another nice pond largemouth bass came to hand to which he said “I see your panfish and raise you one!” And so the competition began. The kids also got into the action as well and had plenty of fun holding the fish, releasing them, and even catching a few themselves.

The night ended with a tie score, and Mike and I have vowed to go back another day to try and find a winner. That is if there is such a thing when pond fishing with family, but maybe we’ll have to find some time to get out solo and really go at it.

I would like to give a big thank you to Mike & Crystal and their wonderful family for playing the perfect hosts for this great family adventure. Way to go guys!!!