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!

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