Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Inland brown trout on the fly

Michael Simmons with his inland beauty

Fall fishing for inland trout is one of my favorite kinds of fly fishing to do. One; the stream is almost void of people. And two; the fishing can be outstanding. The only bad part of fall fishing the inland trout streams is that little voice in the back of your head telling you that you need to get out to a Lake Ontario tributary in search of the first salmon of the fall. But experience tells me that adventure is still a little bit down the road.


Last week on Monday, Michael Simmons of Guys, Flies &Pies and I hit up an inland trout stream for a last ditch effort to convince some of the local brown trout to eat some flies before the lake fish in our neck of the woods make a run for it.

We arrived at location X to witness several trout feeding on trico spinners. A few delicate casts with the JP Ross Beaver Meadow two weight lined with 6X tippet and a #22 black trico spinner pattern promptly put those fish down. But all was not lost as we witnessed a good number of fish sitting near the bottom of a very nicely shaded pool….time to switch it up!

The fish in the pool were now our target and we went at them for a while with various nymphs trying to get the precision drift necessary to get them to eat. But when you have fish stacked on top and next to each other it is more difficult than one might imagine.

We each managed a few really nice trout, with Mike getting the big fish of the day. In fact he boasts that it is probably one of the biggest inland trout he has caught to date! And it was a gorgeous inland wild brown of almost 15” inches.

Enjoy the photos of some of WNY’s finest wild brown trout!

Note: With all the cool and wet weather we have had lately, it won’t be long until we have our first good run of lake run salmon and trout in WNY. I will try and get out and find time to get accurate reports when this happens.

Tight lines!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Midnight Mousin'

The ride down to one of my favorite inland trout streams at dusk

Last month I had the pleasure of fishing with several friends in what will hopefully become an annual event – Midnight Mousing!
I have talked about doing this kind of fishing for years. I was curious to see if we would have a chance at a truly large fish in a small stream setting. But it wasn’t until last year that I finally made the commitment to just do it! And of course it was good. In fact surprisingly good. In weeks prior to my trip, my friend Lucas Carroll had provided me with a few good stories from his recent outings that made it sound almost unbelievable. But a first-hand experience made me a believer in how good it can be. In fact last year I was able to land quite a few trout with the largest being about sixteen inches – Not bad for a small stream.
The first of many that came to hand via the mouse
I am happy to say that this year’s fishing lived up to the high bar set by that August of just last year. In fact both of my fly fishing friends who joined me this year can also attest to the successes that can be found while tossing flies in the darkness. Both Bob Burrows and Jessie Hollenbeck of Wide Sky Fly Fishing had plenty of action with many fish landed between the two of them.
We had about one fish landed to every four or five strikes, slashes, boils and pulls. And we ended up landing a good dozen fish. That’s a lot of activity! Even though the ratio between fish landed to fish felt/hooked wasn’t all that great, you have to remember that you can barely see what’s going on, even right in front of you. So for me, it was a success!
A little better fish

The key for a better catch rate for me has been to wait until you feel the fish pull the fly. You may hear splashes and even see a glimmer of a boil or splash, but that doesn’t mean the fish has taken the fly. It is far better to let the fly sit and drift in the current and wait for the fish to come back and eat the fly, than to try and set the hook on anything and everything you see or hear. Being patient and waiting for that pull, has made all the difference in the world.
Bob fools one with a muddler
Jessie holds on of a few fine small stream wild brown trout that he brought to hand for the night
A little bit bigger fish that fell for a big old streamer
We didn’t get into any really big fish this year, but I am confident that in years to come we will be able to find a few fish between sixteen and twenty inches. It is going to take a lot of work and experimentation to find what will work the best, but I’m up to the task!