Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Springbrook Brook Trout

About the photograph -- Springbrook does have a few native Brook trout. For many reasons, life for these Brook trout can be tough. However this particular trout is an excellent example of a Springcreek Brook trout.

We still need rain; even spring brook is getting a little low. There have been plenty of spinners, but the cool evenings have slowed the spinner falls. Remember, mayfly spinners need at least 60 degrees before they will return. These insects are so sensitive to temperature that any time during the return flight, if the air temperature drops below 60 degrees, the spinner fall will stall out and the bugs will dissipate back into the trees. Keep in mind, if we have had a few evenings with light spinner falls. Once we do have an evening that is above 60degrees, the spinner return for that evening is going to be very heavy. You will need to take this into consideration, if you plan to fish that evening. Remember Oatka Creek is one of those streams that can produce spinner falls so heavy that it can shut down the fishing down.

Spring brook sulphurs have been hatching on a regular basis for the last few days. If you have been fishing Springbrook, you would have noticed the size of the sulphurs, They are more of a size 14. I do not know precisely which yellow bug this is, most of the time we can get away with a standard size 16 sulphur. However, this is Springbrook and it wouldn't hurt to have a half a dozen of these flies tied in size 14.

Sulphurs are just like the rest of the mayflies. Before the actual hatch happens there is generally a nymph drift. These nymphs will be drifting out of the fast water and collecting in the throats of the pools. At times, this nymph drift can last for two to three hours and it is during this nymph drift we have had our best fishing. The nymphs that we are using are tied dark olive with a yellow wing case and tied on a size 16 nymph hook.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bugs And Trout

Despite the hot weather the bugs are off to a slow start. This is not all that bad as the hatches will last longer and there is less competition for your fly on the water. What has been surprising is the inconsistency of the spinner falls. One pool will have a few spinners and the next pool would not have any bugs. If the fish are not feeding in one pool, you need to move.
The dry weather is starting to have an effect on the Oatka and the Genesee River at Wellsville, N.Y. We need rain. Of course, Spring Brook is not affected by the dry weather and you can set your watch by the timing of the hatches. The fishing pressure on Spring Brook is high, but this is normal for this time of the year.

Productive fly patterns; The last few days I have had good success with a Hairs ear’s wet size 16. The Genesee and Oatka are the following Sulphurs dune, Sulphur spinners size 16, March Brown size 10, Gray Fox size 14, Blue Wing Olive size 18, light Caddis size 16. You can also try White Wolf size 12 in the evenings. Effective fly patterns for Spring Brook once again Sulphur dune and spinners, size 16 Blue Wing Olives, size 18 and Midgets. When there is nothing going on, try Pink Sucds size 16. For the nymph fishermen, Pheasant tail's size 16, Hairs ear's size 14 and 10.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We Get Bugs

All of our trout streams are fishing at their best. I described this as the magic two weeks. My only concern with the fishing conditions, at this moment, is that we have not had any significant rain in over two weeks. If this dry spell continues a few of our trout streams could start to suffer.

Starting with Oatka creek, there are several hatches going on at once. Depending on the time of the day you will see the following hatches; during the afternoons you will see Gray Foxes, March Browns. Late afternoon into the evening Sulphur and light Caddis and at last light expect to see a good Sulphur spinner fall. At Spring Brook we have Blue Wing Olives and Sulphurs in the afternoon and Midgets throughout most of the day. The Genesee River at Wellsville, New York on down River. -- This is a lot of river, so depending on where you are fishing will dictate what hatches you will see. You can expect to find the same hatches that I mentioned above. Expect to find strong daytime hatches of Caddis and Gray Fox as this section of the Genesee can have fantastic Gray Fox hatches. With the warm weather we are experiencing the last couple of days, there will be Sulphur spinner returns daring the evenings for all of the streams.

Productive fly patterns for the Genesee and Oatka, are the following Sulphurs dun, Sulphur spinners size 16, March Browns size 10, Gray Fox size 14, Blue Wing Olives size 18, light Caddis size 16. You can also try White Wolf size 12 in the evenings. Effective fly patterns for Spring Brook once again Sulphur dun and spinners, size 16 Blue Wing Olives, size 18 and Midges. When there is nothing going on try Pink Scuds size 16. For the nymph fishermen, Pheasant tails size 16, Hare's ears size 14 and 10.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Last Steelhead

Sorry about being slow on my up dates lately. The last few days we had some runs and the Salmon River water flow was increased to 750 CFS. At same time the Steelhead fishing has started to become quite spotty. I do not know if all the Steelhead rode the increased water back into the lake, or put the Steelhead off the bite. My suspicion is that both theories are correct. Most of the Steelhead are now back in the Lake and what does remain has been put off the bite. Anyway, I will be back home myself and will be fishing the local trout streams soon.

This year's Steelhead run was one of the best I have seen in over 10 years. It is encouraging to see such a strong run of Steelhead for a change. Hopefully we have turned a corner and our Steelhead runs will continue to improve. One good season does not mean a change. However, for once I'm hopeful. As always every season has it's challenges, this season is definitely no exception. As everyone is aware we had plenty of high water to deal with. There was not much I could do about the high water, however for those of you who had to fish through it with me, except try to make the best of it. Once the water flow settled down we were able to enjoy some excellent steelhead fishing. I am looking forward to this fall. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy these wonderful fish again once again.

As for Spring Brook and Oatka Creek, the blue wing olives are still hatching on cloudy days. Both Spring Brook and Oatka will have good olive hatches. The olives this time of the year are size 16. For Oatka Creek, look for Caddis during the day and there may still be a few Hendrickson spinner during the evenings. What is left of the Hendrickson spinner fall will last for maybe another week. (For the Caddis Hatch fish a size 14 light Caddis.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Is Going On With The Fishing?

I am still fishing for Steelhead while most everyone else is trout fishing. I can not give up the steelhead thing. I enjoy trout fishing has much as everyone else, but the trout are going nowhere and the Steelhead will be gone soon. The last couple of mornings we have been doing some videotaping and experiencing excellent Steelhead fishing. Hopefully we will be able to show you a little bit of our video in the near future.

So what has been going on with the fishing? Obviously we are having some good drop back steelhead fishing and we have had it all to ourselves. What I have been enjoying is watching the huge Caddis hatches, lots of bugs, but only a few trout are around. The drop back Steelhead are trying their best, but they can not eat all the bugs that are around. Maybe someday the state of New York will realize the value of stocking a few Brown trout in the Salmon River, and create a summer trout fishery.

As for Spring Brook and Oatka Creek, the Hendrickson Hatch is winding down - however blue wing olives are still hatching. On cloudy days both Spring Brook and Oatka will have good olive hatches. (The olives this time of the year are size 16.) For Oatka Creek, look for Caddis during the day and good Hendrickson spinner falls during the evenings. Spinner fall will last for at least another week or so. (For the Caddis Hatch fish a size 14 light Caddis.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

More Steelhead

5/13/7 - The Salmon River watershed has now gone over two weeks without any rain. As a result the water levels have been dropped to summer minimum flows, 185 CFS. After fishing the Salmon River with so much high water, the river is looking a little strange. So far the steelhead fishing is holding up very well. We are seeing and catching fish in every pool that we stop to fish. The nights continue to be cold and this helps to keep the water temperatures from getting too warm. I suspect we have at least one more good week of drop back fishing. With the low water we have gone from fishing with my custom super fast sink tips to fishing with sinking leaders.
As for the flies, the same collection of flies is still working. However, we had to make one adjustment: we have had to drop the size of the flies down about one hook size to adjust to the low water conditions. Otherwise not much has changed in my fly box; I am still fishing Brown woolly buggers, Royal Coachman wet and Mickey Finn streamers. Of course, all these flies are presented on a down and across swing.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Drop Back Steelhead

The last few days the water flow for the Salmon River has been down to 335 CFS. The lower water flows has allowed the temperature to rise to the upper 50s. This increase in water temperature has caused the steelhead to go on a major bite. We have been catching steelhead in just about every pool along the river, and have been experiencing what I refer to as classic drop back steelhead fishing.
The fly is presented with a down and across swing. We will fish the pools from the top right through to the tail outs of the pool and we are finding steelhead everywhere. This is where the guys that are fishing spey rods are enjoying the lions share of the catch-rate. The more water that we can cover, the more fish we will catch and spey rods certainly help us to do this.
To get the flies down we are using sink tips and sinking leaders that we loop to the end of our fly lines. Many of these sink tips I have personally made myself. These tips can best be described as type 6 to type 2 sink tips, ranging from 15 feet to 5 feet long, depending on the water flow in the protector pool we are fishing. When I am fishing drop back steelhead in these conditions, I like to have my fly about 2 foot off the river bottom, so the fly will be more visible to a hungry steelhead.
Always keep in mind that steelhead this time of the year are on the hunt and hungry. It is not unusual for steelhead to move over 10 feet to take a fly. When fishing steelhead that is this aggressive it is always wise to fish the fly all the way across the pool until it hangs down directly below you. I call this fishing the hang down. You will be surprised at how many bites you will get at this point.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Look what I found!

Here are a couple of photographs that I thought would be interesting. All the high water we have been experiencing the last couple weeks on the Salmon River has shifted the river bottom considerably. As some of you know, when this happens, especially for the Salmon River lots of food for the fish to feed on can be shaken loose. High water will not only wash a lot of bugs loose in a stream bottom, it will knock everything else loose that is hidden in the gravel. In certain sections of the river, where intense salmon spawning has occurred, large volumes of unfertilized eggs, and this time of the year freshly hatched sac fry. The first photograph is showing the unfertilized salmon eggs. I found these eggs washed up on a small island in the upper portion of the River. Look at the color of the eggs, and we can tell why peach colored glow bugs are so effective. Also, note the size of the eggs, about a size 8 or 10. Most interesting is the color of the egg in the upper right hand corner, note the light blue haze color to the egg. I have often wondered why the color blue has traditionally been a fact color for the Salmon River.

Second photograph -- I often talk about how productive the Salmon River is for producing both wild Chinook salmon and Steelhead. What I am showing here is called sac fry, or more precisely Chinook salmon sac fry. The Salmon River must produce millions of these little salmon fry and the mortality must be huge for these little guys, especially when you consider the millions that are lost due to wild water full fluctuations and predation. Obviously it is a numbers game in the survival of young fish. The more eggs the fish lays, the better chance of a few of their young surviving to come back and play with us in a few years.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Spey Rods Rule

5/6/07 -- It is amazing how much easier spey rods make fishing the Salmon River compared to using a single-handed rods. The catch rate between my fishermen using two-anded rods compared to single-handed rods is so lop-ided; you would think you were fishing totally different rivers.

The water flow is at 500 CFS. This is a great water flow for fly fishing. Enough water to keep the fish comfortable yet we can easily get our flies down to the depths we need to fish. Water temperatures the last couple of days has been fluctuating between the high 40s to low 50s. At this water temperature the steelhead are responding very good to flies fished on a swing. We are covering a lot of water and catching a lot of fish. The whole river has been fishing well the last couple of days.

Our productive flies have been: Mickey fin tied as a tube fly about 2 1/2 inches long, Brown Woolly buggers size 4, Royal Coachmans wet size 4 and Kevin’s black stone fly size 8.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Good Day On The River

5/02/07 --- It finally looks like the wild water flows are behind us, for at least a few weeks. Water flow on the Salmon River today, was 1800 CFS. The flow for tomorrow is predicted to drop down to 1100 CFS. After all this high water, fishing in 1100 CFS is going to be enjoyable. The last two days we took the drift boat out and floated from Altmar to Pineville. We have been finding and catching a lot of fish throughout the entire drift. We have been catching mostly spawned out Steelhead; however there still is plenty of Steelhead yet to finish spawning. Most of these spawn out Steelheads are in the upper river and are looking for something to eat. We are now spending more time swinging flies through the pools for these fish. Even though the water temperature is just starting to reach the 50 degree mark, we are starting to catch more steelhead on the swing. Our flies for today are black and brown woolly buggers in size 4 and a big ugly egg sucking Leach. If you have fished with me before, you know this fly.

One final note: I still have days open for steelhead fishing this month. This is one of the best runs of steelhead I have seen in about 10 years. Don't miss out, we're going into swing season my favorite time to steelhead fish.

If you are interested, e-mail me a note, or contact me at the fly shop number is 585-352-4775. Since I will be away from the shop and if you need to contact me directly, you may try my cell phone number 585-233-0436. You may need to be a little patient and consistent when trying to contact me on my cell phone. I am often out of cell phone service. The Salmon River has lousy cell coverage. You can always leave a message on my voicemail.