Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Steelhead Fishing

We had heavy thunderstorms Friday night and a steady rain on Monday. This rainfall has brought the Salmon River back up to 1800 CFS. This high water will remain for a few more days. The cooler weather that is forecasted for this week will also help keep the water temperatures down in the low 50 degree mark. The steelheads have been spawning now for close to two weeks. I suspect we have at least one more, good week of spawning activity. The steelheads remain aggressive and more than willing to chase a fly swung across the gravel bars. Productive flies have been: pink and white bunny flies size 6, black and Brown buggers size 6 and during the middle of the day black stone flies, size 6 and 8.

We have started to catch a few steelheads in the drop back stage. So far most of these fish have been caught in the upper River. As long as water temperatures remained in the low 50s and the water flow high, these fish will not drop down through the river to fast for some time. I suspect the drop back steelhead fishing is going to be just as hot as the rest fishing has been. There is still a tremendously large amount of steelhead in the upper river hanging around the gravel beds, and all hatchery's holding tanks are full of steelhead. All these fish are going to eventually be heading back down River and out into the lake. As these fish head down river on their way to the lake they will go on the feed. We will be fishing for these steelhead by swinging flies through the pools using custom sink tips. These sink tips will help to get the fly down to the proper depth. This style of fishing is ideally suited for use of the two-handed rods. Spey rods are ideal tools for fishing through several pools a day and are far more efficient than using single-handed rods.

Oatka Creek – the cooler weather has temporarily slow down the fishing, even though the bugs continue to hatch. This will change very soon as the fish acclimate to the water temperature and air temperature warms back up. Until then, fish Hendrickson nymphs and hairs ear under a strike indicator and of course fish to rising trout as you find them. During cold snaps like this one the bugs will continue to hatch. However cool air temperatures will hold back the spinner return. Once the air temperature warms up to 60 degrees, you can expect a heavy spinner return.

At this time I have May 10, 11, 12 opened if you are interested in take advantage of the drop back fishing give me a call on my cell phone 585-233-0436 or the fly shop at 585-352-4775.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good Fishing Continues

The fishing on the Salmon River continues to be outstanding. Water flows continue to fluctuate slightly, however last few days these flows have been somewhat stable. The water flows for now are at 1200 CFS and hopefully the water flow will stay this way for a little while longer. As a result I am finding large groups of spawning steelheads all through the upper portion of the Salmon River. These fish have been in a consistent biting mood. We have been getting on the water around 7:30 a.m. and immediately into fish. The steelheads have been remaining cooperative until mid to late afternoon. The Steelheads has been spawning now for about a week now. Because of the warm water temperatures, in the 50 degree range, I suspect we have about one more week of intense spawning activity. I will be changing my fishing strategies soon, from swinging flies on the gravel beds to swinging flies on my custom sink tips in the pools for drop backs. This drop back fishing is kind of a new thing. With a one steelhead limit there is now more steelhead than ever that are able to make their way back to the lake. For now productive flies are: black and brown buggers, pink and white bunny streamers. Fish the pink bunny fly at first light before the sun hit the water and then go to white for the rest of the day. If your interest is to swing flies in the pools, stay with small to medium intruder style flies. With 1200 CFS of water flow you will need 10 to 15 feet off T-14 to get your fly deep enough in the pool to get a steelheads attention. This is where fishing with the spey rods is most effective.

Oatka Creek continues to fish very well, the Hendrickson Hatch continues to come off with spinner returns in the evening. Keep in mind when looking to fish a spinner return, the air temperature needs to be over 60 degrees for the spinner fall to happen. BWO are now part of the daily hatch cycle, keep in mind these are size 16 flies. Some days the olives will hatch right along with the Hendrickson's. You will need to take the time to study what is happening around you. Keep an eye on the bugs on the water and see which bug is getting eaten. It is not unusual to see a lot of Hendrickson's on the water and to trout feeding on the Blue Wing olives. It always seems to me that when the trout have a choice of some other bug and blue wing olives to eat. The trout seem to always choose the olives.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hope You Are Fishing

Salmon River -- Since the one-steelhead-limit has been in effect, there has been some very big fish around. The high water conditions have made it very tough to land some of these big fish. But we have managed to put a couple in the net. Hopefully we will continue to cross paths with some of these big steelhead. The water flows remained high but are now starting to moderate. The flows have come down from a high of 3600 CFS to a flow of 2230 CFS and then 1000 CFS. This is still a little high water flow but a lot more fishable than before. With the given weather conditions, I suspect water flows will continue to moderate. Water temperatures have also increased dramatically. Over the last few days water temperatures have risen sharply from 40 degrees to 50 degrees. This is an incredibly fast spike in water temperatures. I have personally never seen water temperatures on the Salmon River climb so quickly. Hopefully the water temperatures will stabilize in the low to mid 50s. As you can guess the spawning activity has ramped up accordingly. Despite the high water I have been finding active steelhead throughout the river. With the water temperature as warm as it is, we have been successful fishing a swinging fly. Productive fly patterns are: black and brown woolly buggers size 6 and 4, bunny streamers, colors white and pink size 6, black stone flies nymphs, size 6 and 8. Small intruder style fly patterns are still producing more than their share of the fish.

Oatka Creek -- The water flow is at 3.1 and holding this is ideal conditions for fish in the Oatka Creek. The Hendrickson Hatch is on fire! As I have said, if you want to fish the Hendrickson Hatch, fish now. The unusually warm and dry weather we're having has provided an ideal opportunity for fishing. The Hendrickson hatch has been coming off during the afternoon and then followed by a spinner return in the evening. At the rate that hatch is progressing, the blue wing olives should start showing up very soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Get Fishing

Salmon River -- Water flow the last few days on the salmon have been very high. Water release has been 3600 CFS + run off. As you can imagine the fishing has been a bit of a challenge the last few days. What has made the fishing possible is the water temperature. Water temperature in the upper no kill has finally reached the 40 degree mark. Further downstream the temperature at Pineville is 42 degrees. The combination of high water and warming water temperatures has drawn the steelhead into the back channels and gravel bars to spawn. Even in these locations the fishing is still tough due to the high water. High water conditions like what we are experiencing now is where the spey rods really shine. We have been using very heavy sink tips, 15 feet of T-14 and at times this is not enough. We have also been using very heavy flies tied on brass tubes with lead eyes to help keep the fly down. As for the flies patterns themselves, we have had our best success with small intruder style fly patterns. These flies are tied in colors of black, chartreuse and Charisse. With the dry weather that is in the forecast for this coming week, the water flow should be dropping soon.

Oak Orchard River -- Water flows are dropping and clearing quickly with the dry weather. There are groups of spawning steelhead spread out through the Oak. Look for these fish in the fast moving water. Water temperatures have been above 50 degrees for about a week now. Experience over the years has told me that once we have about two weeks of water temperatures above 50 degrees, the steelhead run will quickly wind down. Even still if you're willing to look sometimes you can find a few stragglers ready to spawn. My best guess is one more week of decent fishing and then stragglers after that.

Oatka Creek -- The water flow is at 3.1 this means if you are interested in fishing the Hendrickson Hatch, get fishing. Most spring's we may only be able to get a few days of fishing on this hatch. Water flows have been known to be stable this time of the year. All it takes is one good rainstorm and we will be done fishing for remainder of this Hatch. I always say the best time to fish is when you can. Right now Oatka creek is in prime fishing condition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Judging by the way the conditions are looking in the Oak Orchard River. My prediction is that the steelhead fishing will last about two more weeks. Right now the water temperature is holding around the 50 degrees. Water temperatures this warm it will not take long for the steelhead to finish spawning and then leave. The Oak does not hold what we call drop back steelhead for long. Once the steelheads spawn they will quickly leave. Until then, do not worry about the murky water color, these warm water temperatures make the steelhead very aggressive and they can see the fly good enough despite the water clarity. The best way to deal with the conditions on the Oak right now is to fish very systematically. The steelhead are trying to finish up their spawning, this means the most aggressive fish are in the fast water. The method I have been using last few days is to start at the top of a run and slowly work my way through. The technique that I have been using is a swinging fly. What I do is use just enough weight to periodically touch the bottom and a fairly large fly, such as a size 4 black woolly bugger. I will make a cast across the water and then make an immediate up-stream mend. What I am trying to do is to let the fly swim a crossed the bottom, without being pulled by the current.

It is time for me to move to the Salmon River. I will continue to make updates on the Oak Orchard River for the next couple weeks.

The Salmon River is fishing about three weeks behind the Oak Orchard River. There is still considerable amount of snow melt coming through. Today the water flow at the Pineville gauge is 1680 CFS. Water temperatures are still very cold. Today the water temperature was 37 degrees, compared to the Oak Orchard which is 52 degrees. What all of this means is that there is a lot of steelhead waiting for the water temperatures to warm up enough for spawning. There have been reports lately of drop back or spawned out steelheads being caught. These are fish from the fish hatchery. The hatchery has collected all their eggs and the steelhead are free to leave. The best steelhead fishing of the year has not yet started on the Salmon River.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More High Water

The rain from last Thursday night through Friday has left 1 1/4¼ of inches of rain. This has once again put all the rivers back up. We are back to fishing high muddy water, at least this time the water is warmer. The rain has caused Oak Orchard River to come up about 16 to 18 inches from where it was last Thursday. The way things are looking, this high water is not going to last too long. The water flow is already starting to come back down. The water temperature on the Oak has also dropped several degrees. Temperatures have dropped from a high of 52 degrees to 46 degrees. As long as water temperatures stay in the mid 40s steelhead should continue to trickle in. Remember once the water temperatures stay above the 50 degree mark for a week or more the steelhead run will quickly burn out. Despite the high muddy water, our biggest challenge has been all the suckers that have moved in amongst the steelhead. You can try swinging some of the larger steelhead patterns a little higher off the bottom to avoid constantly hooking all the suckers. Even though sometimes this does not work either, but for now avoid fishing egg fly and nymph patterns.

For now, Oatka Creek water flow has come back up and is not fishable for now. So much for being fishable by the weekend. Hopefully the water flows will settle down enough so we can enjoy some fishing during the Hendrickson hatch which should start in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fishing with Pete

A good friend of mine made the drive up to fish with me. Pete and I had to look for the fish but we found enough to make good day. We found most of our fish in the fast water today. The water flow is still running on the high side, the water color is murky. The water temp is 48 degrees, at this temp the steelheads are starting to get aggressive. We were able to catch most of our fish today by swinging flies. Today the productive flies are: little rainbow size 2, ugly egg sucking size 4, black woolly buggers size 6 and 4.

Oatka Creek; Rite now Oatka is still flowing high but improving, Oatka is at 3.55 as of today, on the USGS map. What this means is that you may be able to fish the section we call the trail. With this high water you will do best fishing nymphs and streamers. Possibly by the weekend all of Oatka may be in good fishing condition.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fishing The Oak

Oak Orchard River is coming into ideal fishing conditions. Right now water flows are still on the high side. Water temperature is at 45 degrees today 4/7/08 with good visibility for spring. The weather forecast for the coming week is for dry weather for the first part of the week and warm temperatures. This will improve the fishing conditions on the Oak. The warm water is drawing in a few new fish into the Oak every day. This week and the next two weeks could be the best steelhead fishing of the spring. From here on expect to find fish spread out all through the river not just the pools, but also in the riffs and runs. Look for spawning steelhead anywhere there is good spawning habitat. With these water temperatures steelhead will not be sitting in the pools for long. For those of you, who like to fish for steelhead with a swinging fly, now is the time. Productive flies are: little rainbow size 2, ugly egg sucking Leach size 4, black stone fly size 6, weight bunny streamer size 6 to size 2, marks carpet fly size 8, black woolly buggers size 6 and 4.

I have been taking to a lot of fishermen, wanting to fish Oatka creek. Rite now Oatka is running high, as of now Oatka is at 3.91 as of to day, on the USGS map. Good fishing level starts at 3.20, dry fly fishing starts at about 3.0. The way the weather forecast is looking for this coming week, Oatka Creek might be fishable buy the weekend. However do not expect to find a Hendrickson Hatch for another week or two.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Warming Water

Tuesday's warm weather and high winds get the job done clearing off the ice from the Oak Orchard reservoir. With the ice now gone, water temperatures on the oak is riseing quickly. All we need is for water temperatures to break into the low 40 degree mark. Once this happens the fishing on the Oak will turn on. Right now water flows on the Oak Orchard River are high and the water color is very muddy. These water conditions will not be such an issue in a couple of days. Once water temperatures makes it above 40 degrees steelhead will move from the pools to the shallower faster water to spawn. Once the fish are in these locations we will be able to both locate the fish and fish to them much easier. The best part of muddy water conditions is that fish do not spooked as easily.

Once the steelheads start to spawn, we can break out all the cool flies which we like to fish with. My fly box has now changed, productive flies are now; little rainbow streamer in size 2 ugly egg sucking Leach size 4, giant stone fly size 4, and of course spey flies. Egg fly still are a very productive pattern, however I personally have been fishing these flies since November. I am good and ready for a change in flies. Presentations also will change with the warmer water. Dead drifting egg flies and nymphs under a strike indicator is still effective. However now swinging flies is also becoming very productive