Monday, December 27, 2010

It looks like the lake effect snow guns have settle down for now. I have not spent much time recently on the water. However I can tell you that Oak Orchard River is in good fishing conditions and there is plenty of fish. All of our smaller streams and creeks are from now locked up in ice. Nothing new, just winter fishing conditions. The why the weather is looking later this week, we my have a break in the cold. Productive flies have been the standard egg patterns in size 8, white bunny streamers size 4 and 6.

The Salmon River water flow is down to 500 CFS. This a good flow for us fly fishermen, especially for winter fishing. Keep in mind water flow has been at the 500 CFS level for over a week now. This means the egg bite is temporarily shot down. Keep in mind all of the stray eggs that were a drift in the river are no longer available. When water flows stabilize or dropping for about a week, the egg bite is going to die off. Once the egg bite goes away, the fish start to key in on aquatic insects. Fortunately steelheads have a taste for stone flies. The Salmon River has become very productive producing aquatic insects such as stone flies. Once steelhead's keying in these insects, fly selection does become easier. Most days any size 6 to a 12 black or Brown stone fly will work just fine.
Every one of us is well aware of all the snow that we have received over last few weeks. Obviously the Salmon River area is no exception. In fact this region receives over twice the snow fall as the rest of us. Right now there is anywhere from two to 4 foot of snow along the rivers back. Looks like we are going to have a snowy winter, the new drift boat is going to get a work out this winter. Why struggles through the deep snow when you can float the River.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

True to form sooner or later old man winter is going to catch up with us. This time winter weather seems to have settled in for a prolonged stay. Depending on where you are in western New York snow depth range from 6 inches to a foot and a half. With all the snow fall and cold weather, the smaller streams and creeks such as Sandy Creek is starting to ice over. Even though water flows has been above average these creeks will often ice up quickly during heavy snow events. Do not be surprised if these creeks are open and fishing one day, locked up with ice the next day. For now the best choice for fishing is the Oak Orchard River. This is not a bad choice when it comes to fishing through winter weather. The fishable section of the Oak being in a gorge, gives us protection from the wind. Also being a tail water we do not have as big of an issue with ice. In fact water conditions this week have been almost ideal, for those who are not used to fishing high dirty water, these conditions may not be too confident with. However as long as you can see your feet in about a foot and a half of water you are good to fish. Because of the cold conditions we have been using strike indicators to both controller and extend the drift. Using this technique also hopes to minimize the amount fly line laying on the water, this also helps to reduce icing in the guides.
The Salmon River has not been spared from any of the winter weather fun. To start with last week water flows were still flowing over 2000 CFS. The flows are now back down to 750 CFS which is an ideal flow for winter fishing. However as you can imagine this area has not been spared from Lake Ontario's snow guns. As of today, there is approximately 3 to 4 feet of snow along the banks of the Salmon River. At this rate, if we do not receive some warm weather and melt off a bit of the snow cover, getting around is going to be a challenge. Looks like the new drift boat is going to get some work this winter. It is always easier to ride in the boat, then trying to crawl through waste plus deep snow to get to a spot to fish.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The fishing this week has been tricky or more accurately described as tough. There is no doubt that we had to be on top of our A game this week. The fish have been about as finicky as they can get. The fish have been fussy about flies size, color, and presentation. There are a few reasons for this behavior. The first is that, water temperatures has been extremely cold this week. For most of the week, water temperatures have been in the mid 30 degree mark. This is water temperatures that we would expect to see during the winter. This cold water drives the fish off the gravel beds and puts a stop to the spawning. This mends the flow of stray eggs slows down. Not to mention the cold fluctuating water temperatures put the fish in to a major funk.
Most of the time the fishing does not turn on until mid day, by then water temperatures have warmed up one or 2 degrees. However the fishing was still very difficult. By difficult I mean bites are very soft and often hard to detect. These soft bites often result in fish shaken us off during the hook set. This is bad enough on its own but when you add a Brown trout's ability of shaking the hook. You can imagine we have been having an a lot missed fish lately.
As always conditions do change quickly and dramatically when it comes to fishing the tributaries. This week is no exception. Over a 24-hour period we have received about two and half inches of rain and about 4 inches of wet snow to top the whole must off. This blew out all of our local streams and creeks, Oak Orchard is not far behind. The bad news is we will not be fishing for a few days. The good news is this will draw in a fresh group of fish. Looks like the fishing, is off to a good start for the month of December. This recent wet weather has also had a dramatic effect on the Salmon River, water flows peaked at 4800 CFS. Once again another round of big water flows for the Salmon River. Even though everything is very high at this moment, we will be able to be back fishing our streams and rivers within a few days.