Monday, March 31, 2008

Warmer Weather

The warm spring weather has finally arrived. Hopefully we will be rid of all the snow and ice very quickly. Sandy Creek has finally been able to have an increase in water temperature. Sunday afternoon the water temperature finally made it to 40 degrees. Despite the warmer water temperatures, the fish at Sandy were a little off the bite. We had to fish hard for a few fish. Our productive flies were chartreuse estaz egg size 8 and Mark’s carpet fly in the same size. We had rainfall from Sunday night to Monday morning. This rainfall has caused the water flow at Sandy Creek to both rise and turned very muddy. As I always say conditions in the spring change constantly.
The weather forecast for Tuesday, April 1 is not going to be much help for our river conditions. The forecast is for proximally a half an inch of rain, this will most likely flood our rivers. The good news is for the Oak Orchard River, the forecast is also for approximately 40 mile an hour winds. I'm hoping these high winds will help to break up the ice on the Oak Orchard reservoir. Once the ice clears out water temperatures will quickly warm up, and so will steelhead fishing.
So far this spring has been a cold wet one. Wet springs like the one we are having now, our rivers and creeks will spend a lot of time high and off-color. If we wait for “ideal fishing conditions” you may miss the entire steelhead run. This is especially true for the Western end of Lake Ontario. Experiences have taught me that once the water temperature reaches into the low to mid-40 degree mark water clarity is not a big issue. I have had some of my best spring steelhead fishing in water with less than 12 inches of visibility.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snow Melt

The weather the last few days has not seemed all that warm. However air temperatures have been warm enough at least part of the day to keep the snow melting. Add to this help from a few rain showers, all of our rivers remain high. The Oak Orchard River is now falling as high as it can be and still be fishable. Right now the water clarity is about 21/2 feet, a stained look to the water but definitely fishable. For the Oak Orchard River this time of the year, this may be as clear as the Oak will get in until May. Water flow this high on the Oak, require great care when waiting. If you're on easy about waiting in high water then consider fishing from the road hole down River along the north wall. Even in this high water, if you're willing to work at you should be able to get a bite or two. Recommend flies for fishing down river from the north wall, are bunny flies and large buggers sizes 6 to size 2. Recommended colors are white, black and if you like mix in a little bit of fluorescent orange, yellow, chartreuse. Fishing from the road hole up river stray was large egg patterns, size 8 and 6. I recommend fishing these flies under a strike indicator and concentrate on current seems at the edges of the pools.

When fishing in high water conditions it is more important than ever to not wait too close to the pools. This is not just for safety reasons; often the fish are sitting right on the edge of the pool where the slow and fast water meets. Waiting to deep is not just, dangers but often that is where the fish are sitting. Once you chase these fish into the heavy water flow of the pool, these fish will often locked down and not bite.

Sandy Creek at this time is blown out, way to high to fish and totally muddy. Hopefully Sandy will come back into fishable condition by the weekend. That is if we do not get much more rain in the next day or two.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Brown Trout

Fishing for Brown trout during the spring can be unpredictable. Spring Browns are Brown trout that ran the previous fall, and wintered over. The quality of the spring fishing depends heavily on how good that falls run was. Winter river conditions, water flows and ice also plays a big role. We will often not know for sure what the fishing will be like until late winter or early spring.
We all know how low the rivers were last fall, at first I did not expect much for this spring. However late in the fall we got the rains we needed and we enjoyed some good fishing. Fortunately both the water flows and water temperatures held up long enough so enough Brown trout could disperse throughout the river. Despite all of this I was not sure if the Browns would spawn and leave, or if there will be enough water flow for the Browns to migrate far enough up river and be able to spend the winter.
During a normal year Brown trout will slowly work their way up river. This can take a typical Brown trout as long as two weeks to go just seven to 10 river miles. Once the Browns finish spawning, they will immediately go back to the feeding. For Brown trout this means simply to drop back into the pools and start feeding on stray eggs. As the spawning activity dies down the Brown trout diet will shift to minnows. What is happening now at this time is cooling water temperatures are sending minnows such as Creek chubs into there winter habitat. Ironically for both the Brown trout and the Creek chubs this is also the same pools. As a result many of the Browns that ran last fall will find plenty of food in the river and they end up staying for the winter. Like I have said foods good, comfortable commendations, why leave?
Next question is: how long do these Brown trout stay in the river? During a normal spring we will start back at fishing for the Browns once the ice clears out, and continue until late March. Normally by then water temperatures are starting to warm up and the minnows that the Browns were feeding on are starting to spread out. The warmer water temperatures also accelerate the Browns metabolism. I believe it is these two factors that will finally send the Browns back out to the Lake.
This spring is obviously not a normal spring. Spring weather is running at least two weeks behind normal, so much for global warming. Normally by now all of our ponds, lakes and reservoirs are ice free. By the way the weather is looking it is going to be at least one more week possibly two be for any of this ice melts. For comparisons normally by now water temperatures would be in the upper 30s for the Oak Orchard River, for Sandy Creek water temperatures would be in the lower to mid 40s. Right now both rivers are running at 31 to 32 degrees and the rivers still have snow melt runoff.

I have days still open in the first two weeks of April. This is prime time for Oak Orchard and Sandy Creek, if you are interested give me or the shop call at 585-352-4775

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March High Water

This is March, as I have said conditions can and do change fast. Here we go; the warm temperatures and approximately 30 hours of light to moderate rain fall, has flooded all of our rivers and creeks. Judging by how fast everything has flooded and the weather forecast for this weekend, my best guess Sandy should be coming back into fishing conditions by Monday or Tuesday. The Oak Orchard River should be coming back into fishing conditions by mid next week. March floods in the past, have always produced excellent fishing once the River settle back into fishing conditions. This should be a blast of high water we need to kick off the spring steelhead run.

Just before the high water hit we were able to get one last day of fishing in. The water flow at Oak Orchard River has been slowly rising over the past few days, but remained clear. We stayed with the same technique, that is long leaders a strike indicators and continue to catch a mix of Brown trout and steelhead. The Brown trout have been a pleasant surprise, because by now they are usually out of the River. The flies that we are using at Oak Orchard remained the same. Our best producer has been Mark’s carpet fly. Obviously once the Oak Orchard comes back into fishable conditions, the fly box may need to be modified slightly.

The water flow at Sandy Creek has been fluctuating slightly the last few days, depending on air temperature. However Sandy continues to produce good catches of Brown trout and steelhead. We have been pressuring Sandy hard last few days and the high water will give this Creek a needed break. The Brown trout fishing at Sandy has been way better than I expected. Hopefully we can get another two good weeks of Brown trout fishing before they all drop back out to the Lake

Saturday, March 15, 2008

March Steelhead And Brown Trout

March steelhead fishing can be tricky. You start the month out fishing in winter conditions and by the end of the month we are in spring Steelhead conditions. Fishing conditions can and do change fast. So what is going on with the Oak? The water flow is on the high side for now, the water color is clear for now. The way the weather is looking for this week, I suspect the water flows to increase and the water the color to go muddy. The Oak Orchard water shed is covered in water logged snow and we have some wet weather in the forecast.

Right now the water temper is cold 32 degrees. As far as the Steelhead are concerned it is still winter. We have been doing most of our fishing with egg flies, long leaders and strike indicators. Do to the clear water color the most productive fly is Mark’s carpet fly, butterscotch estaz egg, all in size 8 and 10. The water is cold and we had to fish slow and carefully. But we found Steelhead in all of the pools from the dam in down river.

Sandy Creek; The water flows are down to normal for this time of the year. The water color is starting to cloud up but it is still a good fishing color. The way the weather is looking this may change. For now Sandy is fishing well, with a mix of both Brown trout and steelhead. There is still good number of Brown trout still hanging around in Sandy. I suspect these fish will be back in the Lake in about two or three weeks. The steelhead fishing in Sandy Creek is typically spotty, some pools will have a steelhead while others will be empty. You will need to fish through several pools to find a few steelheads. Lately we have been finding a steelhead or two in most of the pools we have been fishing.

For now we are fishing the pools with a two step approach. We will fish the first pass through the pool with bunny streamers, [yes any color is good as long as it is white]. The second pass is with egg flies fished under a strike indicator. Here too the most productive egg fly has been Mark's carpet fly size 8 and 10. If the water becomes off color I like to use chartreuse estaz eggs size 8. The first pass with streamers is for the Brown trout. The second pass with the egg flies is for the steelhead. I do expect to find both fish holding in the same pool.

NOTE; I have March 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 open. Plus I have days still open in the first two weeks of April. This is prime time for Oak Orchard and Sandy Creek, if you are interested give me or the shop call at 585-352-4775

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Back At It Once Again

It is good to have our rivers back in to fishing condition. Starting with the Oak Orchard River; The water flow has come down to ideal fishing conditions even though the water may appear to be slightly high and off color. There is steelhead in all the pools from the dam all the way down river as far as you can fish. The fishing seems to be steadily improving; this would put the fishing on the Oak about on schedule. As for the Brown trout I have only seen a few of these fish being caught recently. For the Oak Orchard I suspect all the Browns have or will very soon return back to the Lake.
The water temperatures are still extremely cold so the takes from the fish are very soft. We have been doing most of our fishing with long leaders and strike indicators. Fly patterns have not changed much yet. We are still using glow bugs in size 8 and 10 in our favorite colors. Buggers and bunny streamers in size 8 and 4 the colors here are white, chartreuse and black.

Sandy Creek; last weekend's snowstorm did put a little ice back into Sandy Creek, however the ice will not last long. Sandy still has plenty of Brown trout hanging around and feeding along with fresh running steelhead. If you're interested in catching both steelheads in Browns at the same time, right now is the best time to do it. As soon and as the water temperatures start warm up Sandy Creek, the Brown trout will disappear. For now we are fishing the pools with a two step approach. We will fish the first pass through the pool with bunny streamers, [yes any color is good as long as it is white]. The second pass is with egg flies fished under a strike indicator. The first pass with streamers is for the Brown trout. The second pass with the egg flies is for the steelhead. I do expect to find both fish holding in the same pool.

This Saturday at Coleman's fly shop Scott will be tying flies with his favorite materials, that is C.D.C. Scott has developed some interesting may fly and Caddis patterns. The fly tying demonstration, as always, runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to all.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


This Saturday at Coleman's fly shop Gary Rose will be doing the fly tying demonstration. Gary is one of the top fishermen that fish our Spring Creek. He will be sharing a few of his favorite innovative fly patterns and talking about how he fishes the flies. The fly tying demonstration runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is free to all. Myself and Jason will be at The Rochester Dome Arena Convention Center for the sportsman's show. If you are attending the show please stop by and say hello, we sure could use the company.

The fishing – The Oak Orchard River is still high from last Monday's thaw. Right now the water visibility is about a foot and a half. This should improve over the next few days. I suspect Monday or Tuesday the Oak should be in good fishing conditions. This time we should see some good runs of fresh steelhead from the Lake. March is when we normally start to see more consistent runs of fresh steelhead. As for flies the same old stuff we been using all winter, glow bugs, black or white woolly buggers.

Sandy Creek is in good fishing condition the water flow is high, with a good fishing color to the water. The big issue for Sandy right now is the water temperature, and the piles of ice along the bank. Also the bottom and of Sandy has not cleared out of ice yet, I suspect this will happen within a week. The water is so cold that it is hard to tell if you have a fish or you have just touched bottom. I recommend using strike indicators even if you are fishing a streamer. Recommended flies are estaz eggs in colors orange and chartreuse, and of course white bunny streamers.

Looks like we are about through with winter and the steelhead fishing will be picking up very soon. It is finally time to get back to steelhead fishing. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spring Run Off

It looks like the spring run off has started on the Western end of the lake. The weather on Monday was on the warm side. The temperature got to 63 degrees with a good wind. As a result most of the snow cover melted that day. This is like getting 3 inches of rainfall in a single afternoon; you can imagine the effect this is having.

Starting with Oak Orchard River - For now the Oak is in good fishing condition that is clear water and a moderate flow. This is going to change soon; if not already. There is a lot of snow melt water running into the Oak Orchard reservoir at this time. Time will tell how much high water the Oak is going to receive, and how long it will last.

Sandy Creek is almost free of ice, with the exception bottom portion of the Creek at Route 19. As you could guess, the water flow is high and off color. The good news is the water is neither too high or too dirty. We can be on Sandy fishing in a day or two. I do not expect Sandy Creek to ice back up anymore this season.

A word of warning when fishing this time of the year, you need to keep watch upstream while you are fishing. Large chunks of ice can and often get dislodged from the shoreline. You wouldn't want one of these big pieces of ice to take your legs out from underneath you while you're standing hip deep 31 degree ice water. This can happen at both Sandy Creek and the Oak Orchard River.

Spring Steelhead Newsletter

Even though it may not look like it outside, spring is coming upon us very quickly. So will the spring steelhead run. The way the rivers have been fishing this winter, it is starting to look like the spring steelhead run is all ready getting underway. If you have been following the steelhead fishing since last fall, this is not news to you at all. Last fall we experienced one of the best fall runs of steelhead ever. The best part of this is that the fishing has continued to be far above average right through this winter. I see no reason not to expect the quality of the fishing to carry on into the spring.

The fishing access issues for the Oak Orchard River have been cleared up. It is going to be good to be back fishing the Oak once again this spring. The Oak Orchard River has a reputation of producing fantastic spring run steelhead fishing. As long as the Oak receives strong water flows I suspect we are going to have good steelhead fishing starting in March. The same goes for Sandy Creek. Once the ice clears out we will be able to enjoy a mixed bag of spring run Steelhead and winter holdover Brown trout.

I have high hopes this spring for steelhead fishing on the Salmon River. The Salmon has been receiving consistent strong runs of Steelhead since last October. What has really given me great hopes for the spring has been how well this river has fished all winter. I'm looking forward to fishing the Salmon River once the steelheads start their spawning cycle. Just think about it, for a minute. Steelheads have been piling in to the Salmon River sense mid-October, are now going to spawn and then drop out of the River. The Salmon River this spring should produce some of the best Steelhead fishing we have experienced in a long time.

My spring fishing schedule is as follows. I will be fishing the rivers in the Western end of like Ontario, Oak Orchard, Sandy Creek and when possible the Genesee River. I will start fishing these rivers as soon as the ice leaves and go until the 15th to the 20th of April, depending on fishing conditions. At this point I will move to the Salmon River at Pulaski New York. I will fish the Salmon River until mid to late May, depending on how well the Steelhead runs last. After this, I will be back home and fish the local trout streams.

Final note, if you're interested in fishing with me this spring, please consider getting in contact with me soon so you can ensure the dates that you would like to fish. My spring calendar is starting to fill so it would be wise not to wait too long.

For more information, contact:
JAY PECK 585-352-4710