Monday, December 10, 2012

Birthday Fishing with a Poet!

Matt Smythe - AKA the fishing Poet - Holds a beautiful post spawn female brown trout.

Last week I had the opportunity to get out and fish for my birthday.

I also had the opportunity to meet up with a friend of mine Matt Smythe AKA the Fishing Poet.

Matt is a writer and a darn good one at that. In fact it is his profession. But over this past year he has taken his passion of the outdoors and slammed it head first into that professional world of writing. He left his desk job, for the unknown and unproven grounds of the freelance world. A brave man indeed!
A nice lake run rainbow/steelhead taken on the swing.

Our goal for the morning was to search the waters of a local tributary and try and tempt its finned inhabitants into taking a fly or two. Lucky for us it was more of the latter.

Matt was running a little late, so he encouraged me to venture out before his arrival. I did, and found two fish willing to take a streamer. One of which was taken on the swing.

Upon Matt’s arrival I was very excited as I had already hooked two beautiful rainbows, landing them both, and had seen at least another seven or eight fish on my walk down to our meeting place.

A bright female steelhead that ate an egg pattern. Photo by Matt Smythe
We set up shop at a favorite pool and began to put our flies to work.

Matt hooked up within that first half hour, and I ran down to help him land his first fish of the day, a gorgeous post spawn female brown trout. A few photos later and she was released.

My last fish of the day. A nice big male with two beautiful red stripes. Photo by Matt Smythe
Over the course of the next couple of hours we each hooked a few more fish, landing only one. But before we left for the day, I had the opportunity to hold one more fish. A gorgeous male rainbow that displayed not one red stripe, but two! A fitting end to a great morning birthday fly fishing session. 

Thanks Matt for joining me on a very memorable day….although I doubt I had to twist your arm very hard to get you out there!

Until next time…………

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Late Fall Tributary Trout With Joe K

Joe with his first of the morning

Trying to catch up!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to get out with a new friend from Pennsylvania – Joe Kayafas.
We made plans to meet up at some local water, and do our best to put a hurtin’ on some big lake run trout. The only problem was the large amount of angler traffic that had continued to pick on the fish day after day. So when Joe called me saying that there were already eleven cars parked at the pull off to our “Plan A” spot, we quickly came up with a “Plan B.” And as it would turn out, “Plan B” worked out just fine. 

We found our own little spot upstream, and in it, plenty of big lake run trout to throw a fly at.
My first on the swing
I started off the morning by trying the egg pattern that I still had rigged up from the last outing, but after a few drifts, a snag, and a lost fly, I switched it up and re-rigged with a big old rabbit strip streamer. With the brown trout starting to come off the spawn I thought this would be a good change of pace from the constant dead drifting that we had been doing for weeks now. Ten minutes later I was glad I made the change, when mid way through the swing, toward the tailout of the pool, I got rewarded with a big pull and a flash of gold. A few minutes later I was on the board with a small but feisty hen brown trout. 

My first steel on the swing
Joe was up next, and he did not disappoint! A few drifts into his rotation he hooked up with a very nice fish, but it broke him off. He switched up flies and another five minutes later was again into a very nice fish. This time the angler came out on top, as I helped put my hands around the tail of a very nice female brown. I took a few photos for Joe, and he released her.
Over the next hour or so, we each hooked up with a few more fish. Mine came on the swing while Joe kept pace with nymphs. And I am happy to say that I was able to hook up and land my first and second steelhead on the swing for the fall. 

All in all a great morning of fishing.

You can check out Joe's website here

Monday, November 26, 2012

Local WNY Talent Spotlight!

Jessie Hollenbeck fishing a local spring creek
This week I would like to highlight two Western New York companies that are looking to make a few waves in the world of fly fishing.

First is Wide Sky Fly Fishing. WSFF is run by local guide Jessie Hollenbeck who specializes in fly fishing for the many species of fish that call Western and Central New York home. He has spent numerous hours learning our local streams and can put you on trophy lake run trout and salmon during the run, help you decipher the code of our local spring creek trout, put you in position for excellent dry fly fishing in the spring and summer, and also get you into some great warm water fishing opportunities.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jessie throughout the years and his dedication and love for the sport of fly fishing is second to none, not to mention that he knows how to catch fish!!! His patience and persistence give him an edge when teaching others how to be successful on the stream, and those who have spent any time with him come away with a better understanding of our WNY fisheries.

You can get more info on both him and the fish pursues at his website, or just give him a call at 585-314-5089.

The second company I would like to feature in this week’s blog is Silo4. This new upstart company is a four man team with two of them coming from the local WNY talent pool – Matt Smythe and Grant Taylor. They’re goal is to tell stories that need telling, or as their opening paragraph on their website puts it, Some stories grab you by the collar. Some whisper softly in your ear. However they're told, they still need to say something that matters.”

Both Matt and Grant live just south of me out here in WNY and have been working hard at what they love to do – writing and photography! 

Matt has his own blog where he continually writes outside of his hectic freelance world. And we are thankful he does!

Grant is an artist as well, but his art comes from behind a lens. His website will give you a sneak peek into his world.

These two WNY artists are joined by two very talented cinematographers Matt White and Dustin Lutt of Rockhouse Motion. Together they are Silo4.

There most recent project is a short film entitled a “Deliberate Life” and it is a beautiful piece that should get some attention this year, as it well should – It’s amazing!

I hope that those of you who visit will take the time to stop over to their pages and, at the very least, take a moment to look around. But you may be moved to stay awhile or even leave a comment two. Either way....enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Good WNY tributary fishing continues!

The first of the day.

Our WNY tributaries continue to provide excellent fly fishing for trophy lake run trout.
As of now the salmon are all but gone! They finished their job a week or so after Sandy pushed through. Their dead decaying bodies litter the shallows and the bank, adding nutrients back onto the system for the betterment of future generations.

A nicely colored male with the fly of the day
Even a few of these rainbow/steelhead made an appearance
In fact, Sandy’s after effects provided some way better than average fishing for me. When the water is high and stained, the fish move and become very active, especially before the cold sets in. And I had the fortune of hitting it at the right time. Fishing was out of this world! I spent a little over two hours fishing a local small tributary, hooking up a dozen times and landing seven – all trout!

High water = Great fishing!
My technique for that day was dead drifting egg patterns, but with a little twist! I had no indicator with me on this day, so I had to resort to an alternative style of fishing. My goal was to keep a tight line at all times but also try to get a natural drift. What I came up with was as simple as it gets. In fact it is what I used to do as a kid when fishing with worms on my local trout stream. All I did was put a medium sized split shot a foot above the egg pattern, cast slightly downstream and allow the egg to drift with my rod guiding it down and across. Kind of like a dead drift/swing combo!

With the tight line I could feel the fish pick up the fly more than half the time, and on two occasions, I had the pleasure of the fish pull the fly just as you would have them do when swinging streamers.
This was a great change from the low water stalk that I have had to employ for much of the fall, and better yet, the fish responded well. But like any high water period during the spawn, this is what you should expect. Plenty of eggs getting washed into the system will always put the fish in the mood for eggs.

Sometimes...keeping it simple is best!

Monday, October 29, 2012

WNY tributary fishing is in full swing!

A colored up male Chinook salmon that took a brown bead head woolly bugger on the swing.

The fall fishing in WNY is in full swing with plenty of fish in all the area tributaries.

A 39 inch female Chinook getting ready for release.
Salmon are now at the end of their spawn and soon the big lake run brown trout will begin theirs. Most of the areas larger tributaries have had decent numbers of trout in and around all the salmon, while the smaller tribs have now seen good pushes of trout for the past two weeks. Most of these are brown trout, with a few steelhead and lake run rainbows mixed in. As the end of the fall approaches we will see more and more steelhead and rainbows push in before the cold of winter takes hold.

A big 28 inch male lake run brown trout - Taken on an egg pattern.
This gorgeous 22 inch male brown also took an egg pattern.
At this time there is a very good to excellent egg bite going on, and that will continue with the brown trout spawn coming into full swing in a week or two. As the spawn settles down by mid-November the fish will begin to switch over to nymphs and dead drifted/swung streamers. But with any high water period the egg bite will most likely be back on in high gear as eggs get dislodged from their reds.

The female brown trout will be the first to drop back of their reds and look to feed, often with great ferociousness as they look to quickly add back the weight they lost during the spawn. Here is the time to really put forth the effort in swinging big flies. It may not be a numbers game, but it will be a welcome change from dead drifting eggs for most of the fall. And depending on the day you could also get a late running Coho, steelhead or Atlantic while swinging.

Yet another large lake run brown taken guessed it! An egg pattern.
As the cold really starts to settle into WNY in late November and December, the fish will begin to drop back into pools and deep holes to ready themselves for the winter. It is at this time that we need to really start to think about slowing our presentation down to a crawl. Again dead drifting flies becomes an important and productive way to take fish. But with the right set up, it is still possible to take fish while swinging. A heavy sink tip with short leader in slower pools can be a very effective way to take fish. The only problem will be to control the speed of the swing. If it is too fast the fish won’t pick it up. You want to have it crawl along the bottom. The take can be very subtle. Sometimes it is just as simple as your line stopping in mid-drift.

I have only had a few opportunities to get out this fall so far, and the fishing has been excellent. I hope that November will be present me with a little more fishing time here and there....maybe I’ll get the chance at my first steelhead of the season?

Enjoy the fall and get out there and fish!