|My largest fish of the day with Matt Smythe on the net|
|Matt S. releasing a future lake run giant|
Every year right around my birthday or sometimes the day of, I take the time to get out and fish. I guess you could say it’s a birthday present to myself. And when I can, I try and take a good portion of the day, as I usually only get an hour or so if I’m lucky.
In years past, my trips have been regulated to walking the banks at public access points. These spots have provided plenty of great fishing and some pretty amazing trout, but more often than not, you don’t get to choose who you share a stretch of water with.
|Jessie Hollenbeck with a nice buck steelhead|
Earlier this month I got the chance to fish some private property on one of my favorite Lake Ontario small tributaries for giant lake run trout. And I got to do it with some great people who I have gotten to know through the past 4 or 5 years, or more.
Most of the guys were already there by the time I arrived. Their Cars lined up in the gravel parking area by the barn, with lift-gates and back doors adorned with all kinds of fly fishing stickers and such. It's one of those visuals that if you weren't already "in the know" of who took up driving said vehicles, you would turn tail and run. But fish need catchin' and I was more than ready to answer the call!
|Post lunch photo of the crew|
Water had been released from the Erie Canal earlier that week, pushing water flows up, and bringing in new fish every day. To say my expectations where a bit on the high side would be accurate, even with a cold snap that usually puts fish off the bite.
My good friend Bob Burrows and I headed down to the water in high spirits.
By the time we met up with everyone at the water’s edge several nice steelhead and brown trout had already been brought to the net.
|Another future giant|
Each of us worked through the various sections of stream that bordered the private property, taking turns at each spot, and then warming up by the streamside fire. We spent time sharing stories of fish tales past and present, talking about our families and showing off flies from our boxes. Only breaking the conversation every once and a while to help net a fish and take some photos.
|Denver Miller snaps a photo of Matt S.with a colored up buck brown.||Chris on the net|
Our fish filled afternoon was only brought to a halt by an amazing lunch, which was provided by our wonderful host family. Venison stew, hard rolls with butter and a nice birthday cake in celebration of Denver Miller and my Birthday were on the menu. The delicious food and short rest off our cold feet was more than welcome and we were soon ready to head back down to the water.
The rest of the day was filled with much of the same, great conversation and large lake run fish.
It was an honor to spend a day on the water with all those guys. And in the end, I think almost everyone landed at least one fish, with several of us putting multiple fish in the net.
|Leif Mermagen with a big hen|
As Denver said “That’s what happens when you put a bunch of great fly anglers all together in one spot!”
Special thanks to Jim Metcalf and family, Bob Burrows, Jessie Hollenbeck, Denver Miller, Matt Smythe, Leif Mermagen, Ethan Law, Jake Kwap and anyone else I may have forgotten, for making it such a great day.
See you on the stream.
|Matt S. putting the screws to big hen brownie with Leif M. looking on and Jessie H. on the net.|
|Matt's big hen brownie|