Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birthday Fishing

A nice pre-spawn female brown trout. Photo taken by Jessie Hollenbeck

With the recent extreme cold and snowy weather that we have been getting, much of the WNY tributary fishing I like to do will be put on hold until a prolonged thaw. Not that I mind fishing in temperatures well below freezing mind you, rather, the streams I like to fish will be locked up with ice.

These conditions, believe it or not, are a welcome change….at least for me. I can now work on filling fly boxes, making repairs to gear, changing old fly lines and work on producing some art for my portfolio. It will also force me back to my favorite inland trout streams and rediscover those skill sets that are required to pursue the trout that inhabit them.

But before I relent to the inevitable, I had an opportunity to fish for about an hour at a local WNY trib on my birthday. My wife accompanied me and I had fun watching her fish through the head of a run with a streamer. And although she didn’t get a pull from a fish, she stuck it out and did amazingly well. But I do have to say that if I had an extra pair of waders for her I know that she would’ve gotten into a few fish. She is certainly very capable. In fact, during our first year or so of marriage I convinced her to join me on the Salmon River on more than one occasion. And on one of those trips to the “Staircase” in the town of Pulaski, NY we did pretty well for ourselves, and more than that, I watched Colleen out-fish every other angler there. She ended the morning with five fish hooked and almost two landed. Yes almost! I had a part in that “almost” when I went to tail a rather large Chinook salmon and realized that I was not in the right position and retracted my hand to reach around the other side, the fish took a small run and popped the hook. “Fish Off!” She was not happy and I got a well deserved razzing from the other anglers who were watching her manhandle a thirty pound Chinook to shore only to watch her husband botch the landing……ughhh! I am glad that was not the whole story, because she did hook and land a gorgeous ten pound steelhead that we had to chase downstream for at least a hundred yards before landing. She certainly proved herself then, and did again on this day whether she caught fish or not.

I ended the day with three fish landed and a few more hooked and lost, but it was great to have her there with me. And as I was able to land my last fish I was joined by my friend Jessie Hollenbeck of Wide Sky Flyfishing. We shared a few stories, swapped flies, took a few photos and then said our goodbyes.

Not a bad way to spend an hour of your Birthday right? ….Right!

If you are ever in the WNY area and want to experience our fantastic lake run trout and salmon fishery, make sure to contact Jessie Hollenbeck.  Jessie has an amazing knowledge off all our WNY tribs and is patient teacher which, in my opinion, makes him an exceptional guide that will do everything to make your trip a success.

See you on the stream!


Anonymous said...

Great to see someone exploring and fishing the smaller tribs versus the big name waters such as Oak Orchard Creek and Eighteen Mile Creek. We try to follow the same philosophy here in NH. Unfortunately during our explorations on our annual trip to Western NY we have encountered either very low flows or Erie Canal releases killing visibility. Still looking for opportunities to get away from the crowds and fish to fish. Hopefully next November. Happy Holidays. Tight lines and warm hands.
Greg H.

bfly said...

Greg H. - Thanks for stopping by, taking the time to read and comment. Fishing the smaller WNY tribs during high flow is probably one of the best times to fish. Low traffic and plenty of great fish movement. The trick is finding potential holding areas and fishing them with confidence. Some of the best days I have ever had were during high water.
All it takes is one trip when you it all comes together.....hope to see you out there one day. That would be great!