Saturday, December 3, 2016

My 2016 Fall Tributary season.

1st Chinook of the fall

The 2016 fall salmon run is done and gone and with it goes the last remnants of autumn. It seemed to arrive late and leave early this year, or maybe it just seemed that way to me because my focus has been on a busy family schedule. Either way, the leaves are down and as I am writing this, wet snow is falling.

Black bead head copper and brown buggers worked well this fall
The amount of time spent on the water these past few years has diminished from years past, so I really try to make the most out of each trip. And even though I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked (when do I ever?), I did manage to catch a few fish for myself and even help guide some others into a few of their own.

Guide Jessie Hollenbeck of Wide Sky Fly fishing coaching some clients
Water, or the lack there of, has once again been an issue for our local tributaries. This summer’s drought was severe enough to reduce the water table to a point where even the most robust rainfall couldn’t restore it in time for the fall. Even when we did get a bump in water flow, it didn’t last long. In fact, even with all the precipitation we have received this fall, I believe we are still running a deficit.

Even with less than ideal conditions, we found a few good windows of opportunity.

Ethan trying to turn a Chinook
During one of those post-robust rainfall events in mid-late October, I managed to be at the creek at the right time to find the water level up and stained. Many large Chinook salmon where moving upstream in good numbers. I worked the tail outs of pools and deeper runs, swinging natural colored buggers in front of resting kings, sometimes having three to five fish at a time to work my fly to, with at least one or two of them willing to intercept. 

Jonathan helps Ethan hoist his catch
As the fall run progressed, more and more big lake run trout began to enter our WNY tributaries to take advantage of all those loose eggs being deposited by the spawning salmon. And once again I found a couple of great windows of opportunity to take full advantage. It is at this time that using egg patterns will produce the most consistent action. 

Once the spawning is done, streamers and large nymphs and wetflies will begin to produce a good number of fish until a good slug of water dislodges eggs from all the spawning reds and once again putting fish back on the egg bite.
Jonathan with his spawned out Coho salmon

And so it goes, Summer to fall. Fall to winter. Winter to spring, and spring back to summer again.

Large 10+lb. lake run brown trout

Landlocked Atlantic salmon brought to you by Streamwalker Nets.

I can’t wait to get back out there, See you on the stream!

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