Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mid-Summer Fly fishing


Jonathan works the head of a long pool.
A nice BC largemouth for Katie.
We are now, slowly, working our way toward the back end of summer. And just like this spring, the constant rain has kept our streams running high and cool.

Once again, we look for little weather windows of opportunity to put fly too water.

The fishing, in-between all the rain, has been really good. At least for this group of anglers as we did our best to find some willing warm water fish in the early part of the summer.

Black creek continues to be one of our best locations to catch fish on a fly! Even when we have fished it during high and stained water.

Its close proximity, easy access, easy wading, variety of fish species and numbers of fish make it an easy choice for us as a family. Mix in the potential for a few really good sized fish here and there and you can understand why it is one of our “go to” places to fish.




We caught plenty of sunfish, blue gill, crappie, rock bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass. And when you add in the occasional carp, it made for a few really great days on the water.
Jonathan with a nice BC smallie

One of the better crappie
Ethan does battle with a large carp
18" inch smallmouth that ate a large streamer
Katie releases a large BC carp
Our panfish and small bass where caught on olive nymphs and small buggers, while most of the larger fish ate the many streamer variations we worked along the bottom and actively fished through the faster water.

It’s been a few weeks since our last fishing excursion, and we are eager to get back out there. Hopefully we can get out again soon.....that is, if we can find a little weather window.

See you on the stream!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spring Fly Fishing at its Finest!

Ethan with a fine Black creek smallmouth that ate a large rabbit strip streamer.


Black creek pike taken on a big streamer.
Staying home with my youngest son today because he isn’t feeling well, has provided me some much needed time to rest up and maybe catch up on a few things….such as writing a long overdue blog post about our spring fly fishing adventures.

Small drop back brown taken on a brown woolly bugger.
With the amount of rain we have received this spring, it’s no wonder that fishing time has been tough to find. In fact high water and flooding have been a constant headline for a good month or so, leaving many anglers sidelined waiting for little weather windows of opportunity to try and get out on the water.
Ethan's big smallie
Jonathan with a small tributary smallie
Ethan swinging the back end of a pool
Another big smallie for Ethan
Smallmouth release
Jonathan with a huge lake run smalllie

We here at the Bradfield household have been blessed to not only find the time to get out, but also experience some pretty darn good fishing to boot!

We have enjoyed some of Black creek’s finest, a few excursions to a local tributary in search of some drop back fun and a trip to the local pond in between.

Pike and bass at Black creek, bass and panfish at the pond, and large lake run smallmouth and a couple of small lake run trout from a WNY Lake Ontario tributary all found the bottom of the net.

Each of the spots we fished, save the pond, we have had to work in high stained water to find fish. These conditions are usually reserved for early spring as the snow pack melts away in late February early March and then with spring rain in late March, early April – Leaving the middle of April as the drop period, hopefully lasting into late April early May if we are lucky. But as it is with each new year, conditions can vary, and this year was certainly an exception. We are still dealing with high stained water into the middle part of May!

The boys doubled up on large lake run smallies
We have had great success catching fish on streamers. Both large weighted rabbit strip streamers in the 3.5-4” inch range that resemble the many baitfish that inhabit the streams we fish and dark and more natural colored woolly buggers in black, brown and olive. Dead drifting buggers under and indicator did take some fish, but the majority of the fish we put in the net have come by fishing these flies on the swing or actively fishing them of the bottom. Even the pond fish we caught were fooled by small olive woolly buggers fished just under the surface.
Still a few trout around in the WNY tributaries

As we start to dry out and water levels drop, the fishing will change yet again. We will start to target trout on our inland streams with dry flies, the carp will start to show up in Black creek in larger numbers and our warm water fisheries will start to set up for summer. 

Jonathan with a short nosed red finned sucker
Hopefully our schedule will continue to align with that of Mother Nature and we can find plenty of opportunities to get out together and fish this year. It’s been a great start so far.

Enjoy the photos and we'll see you on the stream!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Early Spring Steelheading with the boys!



Jonathan holds his first steelhead ever!

Just this past week, as the kids were off from school for their winter break, we received a wonderful gift. The gift of warm weather! And although it is not uncommon for us to have a little bit of a thaw during February, especially towards the back end of the month, we were not expecting daytime temps to soar into the sixties. 

The kids spent most of their time outside riding bikes, playing with our two dogs, taking walks and playing with friends. Even I was able to get outside and finish a few projects before I couldn’t take it anymore and announced an afternoon fly fishing trip with the boys.

And as always during this time of year, especially when conditions warrant it, we made plans to hit up a local Lake Ontario tributary for large lake run steelhead and drop back brown trout. The only problem is picking the right stream where water conditions are in your favor and being in the right place at the right time. These are anadromous fish after all, and finding where they are in high stained water can sometimes be a challenge. But when you do, it can be amazing as you can often find both large spring run steelhead and big drop back brown trout that have wintered over in the stream until the thaw.
Ethan holds the 1st fish of the day

Our first “plan A” location had five cars parked at the pull-off. Not wanting to fight for space to fish, I made the call to head upstream to our “plan B”. This is when putting all those hours and days and years into learning a stream can really pay off. We can go to a different less crowded section of the stream and know where the fish should be. And on this day our move certainly paid off.

The water, although still on the cold side, was in perfect shape. High and stained with a good eighteen to twenty inches of visibility.

Within the first forty five minutes we were able to land two colored up steelhead out of some great looking pocket water. The male took a dead drifted streamer while working a deep run, and the female we landed ate a big rabbit strip streamer in mid-swing while fishing a pocket pool above.

Even dad gets to catch one
Over the course of the next hour we fished hard at each little spot that looked like it should hold a fish or two. But to my surprise, we moved nothing and saw nothing.

On our walk back up towards the car my oldest son said he wanted to try our first location again. He really wanted to try and get his first spring lake run fish before we headed home, and hopefully his first steelhead ever to the net.

It did not take Jonathan long until he swung up a big colored up male steelhead. With water being thrown everywhere by the fish, and big hard pulling runs, we all watched nervously as he fought to keep that fish close. In the end everything played out perfectly and I had the pleasure of sliding the net under Jonathan’s first spring steelhead. And what a fish! At twenty nine inches it also was the largest fish of the day. Congratulations Jonathan!

Jonathan swings a streamer through the head of a pool.



Another great fishing trip with the kids. Can’t wait to do it again……see you out there!