Friday, May 22, 2015

End of April steelhead

Curtis admires a gorgeous hen steelhead before it's release

I know we are quickly getting into the last bit of May, but before I post some warm water adventures, I wanted to put up a post about a trip I did about a month ago at a local WNY tributary with a good friend of mine.

The end of April usually means that our spring WNY steelhead season is winding down. The days are filled with long walks in search of the few remaining fish left in the system and stream temperatures in our small freestone tributaries start to warm quickly, bringing in lots of warm water fish from the lake.

However, like last year, our spring has been exceptionally cold and has prolonged our tributary season well into May, leaving us with many great opportunities to catch plenty of drop back chrome.

Curtis with a small male drop back
Fishing at the end of April and early May can be a bit of a challenge. Some days are filled with sun and warmth while others can remind you that winter may yet still have the last laugh.

Warming water temps and dropping water levels can really turn fish on to a swung fly. And they can be extremely aggressive to the point of ripping the rod right out of your hand if you’re not ready.

 On the other hand, a cold snap can shut down fish for a day or two and the bite becomes light. Dead drifting nymphs and egg patterns will out produce fishing a swung streamer. 

My one and only steelhead of the spring
And then there is the in between stage where fish will take both offerings. And with that kind of a day, you may spend a good amount of time switching back and forth between the two.

On this trip Curtis and I found the fish to be right in the middle and caught them while dead drifting flies and on a swung streamer.

All the steelhead we caught were drop backs that had already spawned and were actively feeding as they made their way back to Lake Ontario to spend the summer fattening up for next year’s spawn.

All in all I had a great spring tributary season and am already looking forward to the fall.

See you on the stream!

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