Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brithday Fly Fishing 2014

Jessie and I with one of a few doubles on the day.

This past Friday – that would be December 5th to be exact – A few of us brave souls made an attempt at putting our angling mark on some WNY tributary trout. 

Jessie with one of many
My good friend and Wide Sky Fly Fishing guide Jessie Hollenbeck had been giving me updates from his recent outings with his clients, and boy did the fishing look amazing. I was just hoping for it to half as good.

And good it would be, even if it started off a little slow.

Conditions proved to be a bit icy at the get go. Punching weighted nymph rigs through the numerous slushburgs floating downstream needs to be mentioned here only because I want you all to know that fishing was at first rather difficult. Oh, and the ice shelves that we needed to break through just to get into position. Can’t forget those.

Below me Matt Smythe, AKA the Fishing Poet, worked a slow pool while Jessie Hollenbeck geared up on the bank. I think he was listening to Denver Miller recount a story of his first fish of the day, but I have trouble multitasking, and when I made that first cast to a group of fish I could see holding on the other side of an eddy, his voice began to fade. A few drifts later and I was into my first lake run trout of the morning. 

Over the next hour, before Matt would make his way back home, we all got bent by numerous Lake Run giants. Most of the battles were won, save only a few. And if you have spent any time on the water chasing large fish, you know all too well that some of those battles will eventually have casualties. Matt can attest to that first hand after a large brown snapped his rod a foot or so above the cork, making a four piece rod into a five.
Jessie's hen steelhead

In the next couple of hours after Matt’s departure, we all took turns at various positions in the run and the pool. 

The ice and slush that plagued us earlier was now gone. It gave way to a pulse of water that seemed to invigorate the fish. From then, until I had to leave, many many fish found the bottom of the net. At first it seemed as though it would be the day of the brown trout. But through the wave of big lake run browns Jessie and Denver managed to convince a couple of feisty steelhead to join the party.

The fish ate everything we threw at them - Egg patterns, nymphs and streamers - with egg patterns being the overwhelming preferred fly of choice by the discerning lake run trout.

In the end I headed home happy and a little sore, ready to join my family for an amazing birthday dinner.

Matt does battle with a large trout just before the snap!
A gorgeous hen brown for Matt
Denver's chews on some graphite while holding this beauty
A golden male brown trout
Denver with a nice big hen
A colored up hen ready for release
One of the larger fish for me
Another double - Denver with the fish of the day.
Thank you Jessie Hollenbeck, Denver Miller, Matt Smythe and Jim Metcalf for a memorable day of fishing and fellowship. Until next year……

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fishing with and Old Friend

Bob and I watched this fish chase down his swung streamer a good 3 feet before eating.

Bob and I first met back in 2000 at our place of employment down in Canandaigua, NY. He had this fishing decoration hanging from his work desk that prompted the first conversation we ever had. A conversation that started with fishing, and more importantly – Fly Fishing! 

A 10lb+ brown trout to start the day
From that point on we would share our fly fishing experiences together….at least until I moved on to another job, a family, and a full schedule. But even then, we strived to find at least a little bit of time each year to get together and fish.

And each year we make sure to find at least a day or two to reconnect with each other and toss a fly or two to the local fish population.

A gorgeous steelhead ready for release
Back in those early days of our friendship we would find ourselves fishing for hours at the local trout stream, or in the fall at our local tributaries. We caught plenty of fish and made plenty of mental notes of conditions, the fish we caught, and what pattern was most successful. We had some pretty good days fishing together. And I am certain we learned a whole lot from each other as well!

This past Friday we had that opportunity to reconnect again. And as in so many years past at this time of year, we ventured out to see what we could do together at a local tributary.

Fishing started off somewhat slow due to the below freezing temperatures. But there were fish, and some of them were more than willing to be caught.

Another swung up brown
As the afternoon wore on we ventured to other places and found more fish. Even some salmon and brown trout that were willing to move for a swung streamer. This is usually the case with a constant water flow over a long period of time after the salmon spawn is done. Many of the trout in the system turn towards other food items other than eggs, as there are very few loose eggs to be had. This will change as we get more precipitation or a release of water from the Erie Canal, which will once again disturb the salmon spawning reds, releasing salmon eggs back into the stream and turn the trout onto eating eggs.

Bob with a nice male brown

Bob's Atlantic salmon

Golden hen

My indicator dipped down while fishing the head of a deep pool for lake run trout. I never expected this!

On this afternoon we had to walk to find some willing fish, but our efforts were rewarded with plenty of fish brought to hand – Just like the old days!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Quick Stop at Irondequoit Creek

Small stream in fall should never be ignored

On a recent trip out to the dentist’s office I found a brief window of time to look in on a great little fishing spot that I hadn’t visited for some time – Irondequoit Creek.

This small stream gem of a trout stream flows unimpeded from its headwaters (which lie South of the throughway,) North for miles and miles before emptying into Irondequoit bay and Lake Ontario.

It fishes really well at all times of the year for both resident brown and rainbow trout, but during the fall it receives a push of lake run fish that make the creek one of the only small streams in the Rochester area to have both.

It’s small stream charm of overhanging branches and tight quarters are not lost on this fishermen during the fall months when the leaves are brightly colored and there are fish to be caught, no matter how much time I have to catch them.

The first of a handful of these little guys
On this afternoon, for a short while, I found a few willing fish of both variety. But I had to work my way up to the lake run fish.

Working my way up with a nice resident brown trout

A lake run that required more than one hand

My teeth have been repaired and the pain that went with it is now gone, but the visual wonder and feel of this small stream will linger. And that is good!