Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Greetings

I just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

This past fall has had its challenges for sure. The wet weather and rain seemed to never stop. High water has been, and in some rivers still is, a constant concern. We still have not been able to fish the Genesee River yet. With many rivers unfishable this fall, we have had to deal with more fishing pressure than we are used to on our beloved Sandy Creek.

Then again, these conditions have brought us many opportunities with it. The salmon this fall were very big. The average salmon ran about five to 7 pounds larger than normal. True to form for this fall, heavy rains came just as the peak of the salmon run started. The Salmon River was running about a thousand units when most of the salmon made their run. When we got hooked up with a salmon, it was a blast for as long as we could hold on. So what if a fish won once in awhile!

The steelhead fishing this fall was outstanding. The best I have seen in many years and the steelhead fishing is still holding up.

The Brown Trout fishing.....what can I say? But outstanding! Big Brown Trout and more big Browns. The high water got the Brown trout run started early and strong and kept the run going all fall. Plus, all that high water that made the fishing a bit of a challenge for us has left us a great Christmas gift which is potentially very good winter fishing. The high water flows made it possible for a lot of Brown trout to work their way several more miles up river than normal. These Browns will spend the winter in the river feeding. Conditions look great for a good winter of fishing. -- Jay

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fishing On Borrowed Time

12/20/06 -- On Sandy Creek, what can I say about this weather? It's like we're fishing on borrowed time. You wonder when the weather is going to change and the creek will ice up. Until then, we will certainly try to get our licks in. The water flow is now becoming what I would call low and very clear. Believe it or not, Sandy could actually use a little rain. Today the water temperature was very cold. The morning temperature was 34° and at the end of the day, 38°. Cold water temperatures like this make the fish very lethargic. You can easily mistake a bite for your fly hanging on a rock.

The flies that worked today were the boss egg, in the color yellow in size 10. One rainbow was caught with a white woolly bugger size 6. With the low water conditions Sandy Creek is now experiencing, you will want concentrate you’re fishing efforts in the deepest cuts and pools you can find. Also, you will need to cover a lot of the creek. Fish a spot quickly and then move on.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Big December Trout

12/15/06 -- The water conditions for Sandy Creek have not changed in the past few days. Sandy still is in the best shape it has been all fall. Looking at Sandy Creek you may think the water conditions are low clear. However we have spent all fall fishing in water conditions that we would normally be considered unfishable for Sandy Creek. With the unusual warm December weather, the water temperature has been hanging in the low to mid 40s. The big surprise for today is the unusually large male Brown Trout that weighed in at 15 1/2 pounds and a spawned out female weighing in at 12 pounds. We just do not find Brown Trout this big in the creek this time of year.

Today both the Brown Trout and Steelhead had a preference for egg flies. The egg flies were dead drifted under a strike indicator. To get a bite today the presentation had to be perfect. Only one small Brown was caught swinging a white woolly bugger. All the rest of the fish were caught with size 8 Oregon cheese nuclear roe bugs.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Warm December Day

Warm days like what we have had the past few days are rare indeed. How often can you fish in December when it is 50 degrees? The water conditions for Sandy Creek are as good as I have seen all fall. The water levels are finally where I would consider it a normal flow and the clarity is excellent. Both Brown trout and Steelhead are spread out through Sandy Creek. Just about any pool or pocket can be holding a fish right now. To day we caught fish with both egg flies and streamers, such as, the nuclear roe bug and white woolly buggers. The egg flies are most productive when fished in the pocket water or the heads of the pools and the streamers are most fished effectively in the tails of the pools. Remember, the Browns are feeding on minnows such as Creek chubs right now. These minnows are now gathering in the slower protected water of the pools for the winter. A slow swing, with an occasional twitch, is the most effective way to imitate these minnows.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Fishing Around A Little Ice

White Zonker
Hook: Daiichi 2220
Size: 6 – 2
Thread: UNI 6/0 Orange
Body: Silver mylar piping
Wing: Zonker strips white

White Zonker is one of the flies that I have mentioned many times in my updates. The white Zonker is an excellent winter streamer, for both steelhead and Brown trout. I like to fish the fly on a slow swing in the tails of the pools for Brown trout. When I'm looking for steelhead I will fished this fly in the head of the pool on more of a dead drift.

The cold water and the lake effect snow fall that we have experienced last few days, has put a lout of slush ice down Sandy Creek. This slush ice will ice up the lower portions of the creek. The Upper part of the creek will still stay open through this cold snap. The way the weather forecast is looking for next week, the ice that did form in Sandy will be gone early next week. The Oak Orchard is continuing to clear up and should be clear enough to fish in a few more days. With a cold winter water temperatures we are now dealing with, we now need to have a little more clarity to the water to effectively fish. The general rule of thumb, or in this case foot, that I use is that if I can just barely see my foot in knee-deep water, the clarity is good enough to fish. It seems that with the super cold water temperatures the fish need a little bit more time to look at the fly before taking it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Getting Some Fly Tying Done

The rain that fall last weekend did a good job blowing out the Oak Orchard River and Sandy Creek. We may not be able to fish the Genesee River until next year the way the rain keeps coming. The Salmon River is the one river that is in good fishing shape right now. The way the weather looks, Sandy should be at fishing levels by the end of the week. The oak orchard will settle down soon. As for the cold temperatures, by the time the water settles downs the fish will have time to adjust to the colder water temperatures. Until the local river settles down, this is a good time to get some fly tying done. I don't know about you, but my boxes are looking a little empty.

If fly tying is not for you, and you want to fish, try fishing the Salmon River. With all of the high water the Salmon River has had this fall, fish the lower fly fishing zone. Remember the upper zone is closed until 4/1/07 and the lower zone is open all winter. Fish the pools and deep runs with black stone flies and large nymphs in sizes 12 to 8 and egg flies size 10 and 8. This time of the year I like to use a strike indicator to help control the drift.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Slow With The Update

A few of you have wondered why my updates have been coming a little slow lately. Maybe this photograph can help explain everything. I call it, buck tail streamers in the raw.

Friday, December 1, 2006

I Get To Go Fishing

11/30/06 - Both the water level and clarity was still holding up. The water temperature today was at 50 degrees and I found all my Brown trout and Rainbow trout located in the pools. The Brown trout finally seem to be slowly moving into the pools now. The flies that work for me were a chartreuse Estaz egg in size 8 and a white zonker in size 6. Both of these flies seem to be equally productive.

With all of this said, fishing conditions are now changing. Fishing conditions can change drastically from one day to the next this time of the year. The rain that has and is falling, [Thursday night and into Friday] will raise the water level and muddy the water at Sandy. The air temperature will cause to water temperature to drop in the next 48 hours. This recent change in weather will, basically, blow out Sandy Creek and throw the fish into a temperature shock. Fishing this weekend will best be done at the Oak Orchard River. The reservoir will help to lessen the weather's effect on the fishing conditions. The Oak has been fishing slowly for Brown trout, but decent for Steelhead. Concentrate your fishing efforts in the pools. This is where all of the Steelhead will be holding and you'll find your best fishing for the Brown trout here to. One final note on the Oak Orchard River: the crowded conditions have lightened up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sandy Creek Still Holding Up

11/28/06 Sandy Creek -- the water levels still remain the same. The water clarity seems to be a little more cloudy today then it was the day before, still not bad. The water temperatures are remaining stable holding around 46 to 47°. The Brown trout are spread out through the whole river. The more water you can fish, the more fish will see your fly. The real challenge is choosing what parts of the creek that you may need to fish a second pass through. On the first pass through a section of water, I will usually fish an egg fly under a strike indicator. The second pass through I will swing a streamer. Some days the fish want eggs or nymphs and some days the Brown trout want streamers. Today they wanted both.

Monday, November 27, 2006

They Can Be Anywhere

11/27/06 Sandy Creek - How things can change from one day to the next. Last night the air temperature did not fall off and the water temperature started the day at 42° and rose to 48°. Plus the water level at Sandy dropped a few inches, and cleared up a little more. The water flow at Sandy is still high, but the water levels are improving slowly.
Today we found Brown trout both in the pools and on the gravel beds. And of course, the Rainbow trout are just as spread out as the Brown trout and they can be anywhere in the creek. There is no real concentration of fish. Right now, you have to fish a lot of water to find fish. Today we caught all of our fish with egg flies. The best fly of the day was a nuclear row bug in Oregon cheese.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The End Of The Spawn

As of 11/24/06 Sandy Creek - The water flow at Sandy is still high due to water release from the canal. Even with the high water the water clarity is still very good. The big issue with Sandy now is the water temperature. The last few days the water temperature has been fluctuating from about as low as 35° to a high of 42°. These temperature fluctuations have slowed the fishing down considerably. The mornings have been fishing slowly until the water temperatures warm up a little in the afternoon.

The Brown trout spawn is for all practical purposes done. There are a few fish here and there trying to finish up, but not many. As long as river conditions continue to be good, these spawn out Browns trout will stay in the river and feed. With the end of the spawning the egg bite has slowed down. The Brown trout diet is starting to expand now. They will still take eggs, but now the Brown trout are starting to eat the ever abundant creek chubs. The fly box now needs to expand with large nymphs like stone flies and big hairs ears. Because of the creek chubs, streamers are now going to be big producers. Buggers (white and olive) and white zonkers are two of my favorite flies for the post-spawn Brown trout.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cold Water Fishing - Sandy Creek

Sandy Creek and all the surrounding creeks are experiencing the same conditions: high, off colored, and most noteworthy cold water temperature. Of the three, cold water is the biggest concern. With night time air temperatures dropping in to the low 20's, all the local creeks can experience big drops in water temperatures as much as 7-8°. The best way to deal with the constant water temperature fluctuation is to start fishing a little later in the mornings. Wait for the water temperatures to start to warm up.

Sandy still is fishing well but water flows are still high, (what's new). There is a mix of brown trout and rainbows spread out through the entire Creek. Egg flies are still the best fly patterns to use. However a few spawned out Brown trout are starting to take streamers(stick with white buggers).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tough Times For Sandy Creek

11/16/06 Sandy Creek --The rain still is falling and the creek is still rising. Sandy is about as high as even I can fish it, and I like fishing high water. The rainfall is only half of the problem. It is time to drain the canal. Normally, When the canal water hits Sandy, it will bring in new fish and make for good fishing. But, when you have all of this rainfall and canal water together, this will blow out Sandy. The second problem is going to be the water temperature. It is supposed to get cold once again and Sandy creek can easily drop 7 to 8 degrees over night. Big temperature drops like this will put the fish in a big temperature shock thus shutting down the whole creek for a few days. Once the water flow settles a little, try fishing in the afternoon when the water will be its warmest.
There is a lot of spawned out Brown trout. It may be time to start fishing buggers and streamers, both in size 6, and of course egg flies.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fear No Mud

Sandy Creek - 11/15/06 The water levels have dropped some from the day before, and the clarity has improved also. Fishing in muddy water can be intimidating. The river does not have it's normal look and when you're fishing these conditions you often wonder how a fish can see your fly, but they do. The trick is in knowing how the fish uses its habitat and understanding where they want to be during high water. Because of the off-color water that accompanies high water, fish are often more relaxed. Off-color water provides cover for the fish. As a result, when you do find a fish they often bite aggressively. As for the flies, I have been fishing a lot of chartreuse estaz flies lately in size 8.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sandy Creek - Surf's Up!

11/14/06 What more can I say that this photograph hasn't already said? With last night's rain, Sandy Creek rose over a foot overnight. We needed a little rain, and it would have been nice to add some color to the water, but we did not need this. Hopefully Sandy will settle down quickly, and we can get back to fishing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sandy Creek - Water Up a Little

11/13/06 Sandy Creek - The rain has raised the water level a few inches, and added just a little color back to the water. hopefully, this will help the Brown trout calm down and bite a little better. The last couple of days we have been catching a lot more Brown trout that are now spawned out. In the next few days, these fish should start to feed more aggressively. I have been finding these spawned out Browns mostly in the pools and the deeper runs. For now, with all the spawning still going on, these spawned out Browns will be feeding mostly on stray eggs dislodged from the spawning activity. The flies that I have been using are estaz eggs in butter rum and chartreuse. When I need to more closely imitate the natural eggs. I have been using Nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese. All of the flies are in size 8 and 10.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sandy Creek - Update

Well we are back to "normal" size Brown trout once again. If you can call 12 to 13 pound Brown trout "normal".

11/11/06 Sandy Creek -- We will have to see what the rain will do to the local rivers and creeks. Sandy can use a little rain, the water levels are still holding. However, the last few days Sandy has been getting a little on the clear side. The Brown trout are now starting to get a little spooky from both the clear water and the fishing pressure. We can now benefit from a increase in the water flow and little color to the water. The fish need a break from the fishing pressure. With the clear water and the fishing pressure from the past few days I have been trying to more closely imitate the natural eggs in the river. The fly patterns I've been using are Nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese and in size 8 and 10.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Sandy Creek - Big Brown Trout

One big Brown Trout, this one weighs 17 pounds. That's big!

11/9/06 Sandy Creek -- The water levels are still holding up well and the water is clearing a little each day. With the nice weather, water temperatures have continued to climb a little more each day. With the warm water, female Brown trout have moved on to the gravel beds and started to spawn. With the clearing water and warm water temperatures the site fishing has been good. As for the Steelhead, they are still being found in the pools. Some days this makes for a nice mix of fish. The flies have been the same as always. Nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese and estaz eggs in butter rum, all in size 8.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Sandy Creek - Brown Trout

11/6/06 Sandy Creek is back on schedule. The water flow is about where I like it, a little high and slightly off color. This water color makes the Brown trout hard to spot and provides cover that makes the fish more relaxed. Water temperatures have increased alot today, which has awakened the fish. With the temperature increase, this afternoon has fished well. The flies were nuclear roe bug's in Oregon cheese and estaz egg in butter rum. Both fly patterns in 8.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Sandy Creek - Cold Day

11/3/06 Sandy Creek. The water level has continued to level off nicely, but still has a tea stained color to it. Cold weather has cooled Sandy about 6 degrees, to a water temperature of 40 degrees. The cold water has slowed the fishing down considerably. As a result the fish were biting softly; making it hard to get good hook sets. We lost more fish than we landed today. Most of the fish are still staying in the pools. With this cold snap they will stay there.
As for the flies, we got a few bites with nuclear row bug's. Most of the fish that we caught today were taken with estaz eggs in butter rum, in size 8. If you do not know the fly pattern for the estaz egg here it is.

Coleman's Estaz Egg
HOOK: Daiichi 1530
THREAD: red or Orange waxed thread
BODY: Butter Rum, or chartreuse yellow estaz
WING: White glo-bug tarn [length of body] the tail
and wing is the same piece of yarn. Tied in
at tail and then used later for the wing.
TAIL: White glo-bug yarn

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Sandy Creek - Guide's Day Off

11/2/06 Sandy Creek, the water levels have dropped off from the past weekend rain storm. The water level is high and has a tea stained color to it, but Sandy is definitely fishable. I had a day off, and what do fishing guides do on their day off? Go fishing of course!
Most of the fish that I saw were still sitting in the pools. Most of the Brown trout are still just starting their run. I did catch a few female Brown trout but they were still not ready to spawn. There is very little spawning activity going on yet. All the male Brown trout that I landed were still in very good shape. They are not beaten up yet from fighting. The best surprise of the day was landing two steelheads. The only problem was that I did not have a photographer with me. Sorry no pictures. The flies are the same as before, Nuclear Roe Bug's in Oregon cheese and butter scotch estaz eggs, all in size 8. If you do not know the fly pattern for the Nuclear Roe Bug, here it is:

Nuclear Roe Bug
HOOK: Daiichi 5130
SIZE: 12 - 8
THREAD: white waxed thread
BODY: Oregon cheese dub with glo-bug yarn
WING: white glo-bug yarn tied as a veil

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sandy Creek - Brown Trout

10/27/06 was my first day of fishing Sandy Creek. The water Flow is High, fairly clear, but fishable. Most of the brown trout we found were males, but a few females browns were starting to work their way up river. With all the high water some of the browns are on the move early this year. Most of them are still holding down river. These fish will be slowly moving up river soon.
As for the fishing, the few browns, that we caught is typical for early in the run. We needed to fish to fish a few spots to find fish. Two of these brown trout weighed in at 15 and 14 pounds. Large fish, such as the 14 pound as shown, are typical of fishing early in the run. I saw very few salmon and the brown trout were hard to spot, do to high water. Flies are nuclear foe bugs in Oregon cheese and estaz egg in chartreuse.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

High Water Steelhead Fishing - Salmon River

On 10/26 the Salmon River in [Pulaski, NY] is still releasing 1800 units. With rain runoff the Pineville gauge is showing 2600 units. With all of this high water, the only pool I can effectively fish is paradise pool in the upper fly fishing zone. The pool is loaded with salmon, but we were able to catch a fow Steelhead with nuclear roe bugs fished behind the spawning salmon.
This was my last few days of guiding on the Salmon River for now. I will be moving my fishing back home, to Western New York. Where I will fish three different rivers. Sandy Creek, Genesee River and later in the month Oak Orchard River. Giant Brown trout will now be the main focus of my fishing. These can weigh as much as 16 to 18 pounds, but seven to 10 pounds is normal. Steelheads are also available in all three rivers along with the Brown trout. I will be making an occasional trip to the Salmon, and when I do I will report on what I see. For now I will be reporting on the Western tributaries and the Brown trout and steelhead fishing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Frank Zaffino's Big Steelhead, Salmon River

This is a 17 pound Steelhead, caught with a Nuclear roe bug in Oregon cheese size 8 and an 8 pound tippet.

The rain has returned and the Salmon River (Pulaski, NY) is rising once again. On 10/18 the water release was at 335 units and with rain run-off it was more like 1000 units down river. With this increase in water flow a few Salmon and Steelhead were running. Nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese and woolly buggers are the flies lately.

Because of all the rain on 10/19 the water flow has been increased to 1800 units plus runoff. This is really big water. Pools where you can effectively fish is now limited. These conditions may persist for the next few days or deteriorate if the rains does not clear up. Even with the tough conditions, the fishing is not all that bad.

The high water has run off most of the fishing pressure. A few locations are still fishing for both Steelhead and Salmon. At this time my fishing efforts are now concentrated mostly for Steelhead. What I have been doing with the high water is to look for groups of spawning salmon and then fish egg flies through and around them. If a steelhead is around the fish will quickly be all over the fly. With the present water flows most of the pools and slots are too deep and fast to effectively fish. Once the water drops I will go back to fishing the spots.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Salmon River Update

As of 10/17 the water flow is still at 335 units, normal for this time of year. The water temperatures have been fluctuating from a low of 46° to a high of 52°. The cool morning water temperatures have slowed the fishing down some, especially in the mornings.

The lower river is still producing a few salmon and decent numbers of steelhead. The fishing has been a little slow, because of the cool morning temperatures. However the afternoon fishing has been improving as the water temperatures rise. Morning fishing is best done with egg flies, fished under a strike indicator. In the afternoon you can go to a swinging fly and pick up a fish or two. As for the salmon, woolly buggers as usual.

The upper river is fishing right on track for this time of year. Because of the reservoir, the upper river is not experiencing the large temperature swing. The fishing has been consistent throughout the day. The spawn is right on track and fresh salmon arrive daily. Along with the new arriving salmon, steelhead numbers are improving.

As usual fish woolly buggers and the green death for salmon. With all the spawning, stick with egg flies or a black stone fly for the steelhead.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hot Steelhead Fishing On The Salmon River

As of 10/13/06 the water flow for the Salmon River in Pulaski, New York is running at 335 units. This is a normal flow for this time of year. The water temperature is at 58. However, with the weather that is supposed to be coming the next few days water temperatures may drop a little.

The steelhead fishing has been HOT the last few days and we have been catching several steelheads each day. I have been fishing mostly in the D.S.R [Douglaston Salmon Run]. This has been some of the best fall steelhead fishing I have seen in years. We have been catching steelhead by both dead drifting egg flies and swinging wet flies. Fresh salmon have still been working their way through the D.S.R. No heavy runs but a steady flow of salmon. The fly patterns for steelhead have been Oregon Cheese Nuclear Roe Bug in size 8, Woolly Bugger's size 6 and Green Butt Picket Pin in size 4. Flies for the salmon have been the same old stuff, woolly buggers and now we been catching a few salmon with egg flies.

The upper river is full of salmon, which is normal for this time of year. The salmon spawn is now in full swing. Look for active salmon moving up river and onto the gravel beds to spawn in the evenings. Steelhead will be found in the heads of the pools and the tail outs of the gravel beds where salmon are spawning. The steelhead will be keying in on stray salmon eggs. Fish to the steelheads with egg flies. For the salmon, fish with woolly buggers. The fishing on the Salmon River is very good right now for both Chinook Salmon and steelhead.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Salmon River - Columbus Day

Salmon River, Pulaski, New York: What can I say that this photograph doesn't say for me already? The photograph was taken at Ellis Cove, looking upstream through Freighters Run. Columbus Day weekend is the busiest for anglers on the Salmon River. From this point on, the fishing pressure will be slowly dropping off, however the river will continue to fish well for those targeting salmon for additional two or three weeks.

Water flows have dropped to 353 units and should remain at this level for the next week. This is a normal flow for this time of year, with plenty of fresh salmon and steelhead continuing to enter the river. I still expect a few more strong runs of salmon yet, however now I will be fishing a little more seriously for steelhead.

The salmon spawn will last most likely, about two weeks, the fly fishing zones continuing to have heavy concentrations of Chinook salmon, providing good action to those targeting them. If steelhead is your interest then consider fishing the D.S.R [Douglaston salmon run] in the mornings. As for flies, I have been using pretty much the same stuff as always. For the lower river I have been fishing a swinging wet fly. When I am looking for a steelhead in the upper river, I have been using egg flies because of all of the spawning activity. For those targeting the Chinook and Coho salmon, woolly buggers and big stone flies as always should continue to be the top producers.