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Guided and Hosted Fishing Trips with
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Happy New Year and Recent Pics

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)



Asa with a toad!


Well here's to a new year! Looking back over 2018, the fishing was all over the place. Ohio fished really well all spring, with consistent fishing as early as February and lasting until early May. As for fall, trying to find a single day to get out on the Catt was nearly impossible. There was a stretch for about a month an a half between October 1 and November 15 where it rained 38 days in that period. So naturally the Catt was offline for pretty much the entire fall season.The Erie creeks fished inconsistently during October and November, with some seeing decent but sporadic pushes of fish while others saw less dependable numbers. The really high point was the heavy numbers of lake run browns we found starting in November and lasting all the way to the present.

Over the past couple weeks we have still been finding high numbers of large brown trout, some of which were fresh run fish. I expect the fishing for lake run browns to remain very good so long as we don't see ice up. Looking ahead to the weather, I don't see ice being a real problem for the immediate future, as most days have highs above freezing. But we will likely see a cold spell at least at some point throughout the winter that will cause slush and ice.

As of now we are gearing up for the Ohio spring season. Ohio fishing has been picking up since we are seeing great temps and good water conditions. If you are looking to get out during the winter, the next couple weeks should offer very good fishing with the flows being right for a drift trip.

Also if you haven't already check out the new Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine for our article on the Chagrin River that we put together with Rick McNary!


Tight Lines,


 - D 





New Eastern Fly






Full Page!





Chagrin Article





28" Brown on the swing!






Craig with a nice brown






Eliot with his first brown trout!







Average brown swung up!











Silver and Gold

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)




Great brown on the swing!



The fishing is still great! There are lots of browns still in the rivers and creeks and steelhead are in the mix too! Look for browns to slowly work their way back out over the next couple weeks, though many will remain in the systems over winter. As most of the spawning has finished, watch for a transition from egg patterns to nymphs or streamers. Baitfish patterns will be very effective.



Tight Lines,


 - D




Awesome steelhead





Plenty of these guys still around





Chunker





Those colors though





Stout little trout












Swinging for Browns

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)





Catching a brown such as this on the swing is a reward many anglers desire



Catching a brown trout over 30 inches. That is many fly anglers' answer to the question of "if they had one wish to be granted during their fly fishing career, what would it be?" Catching a brown trout over 30 inches. And to a select few of the anglers that answered that question that way, it may even be qualifed to "catching a brown trout over 30 inches on the swing." Swinging for browns approaching or easily exceeding the double-digit pound mark is truly an experience that leaves us weak in the knees. It is at times incredibly frustrating, outright overwhelming, and just every once in a while so god damn good that it both haunts your memories and completely and totally ensares you into lifelong obsession.

This year we've been spending a lot of time chasing lake run browns. The steelhead run has been less consistent as it has in years past. But fishing for lake runs has been very good. Though many consider lake runs caught on the swung fly as by-catches for anglers targeting steelhead- and indeed many are- lake run browns can be specifically targeted with spey rods and the swung fly by knowing a few habits of the fish and making small adjustments to technique. We are not talking about complete overhall of the system here. We are talking about tweeks. 

First thing to know is a bit about the brown cycle. For steelhead in general, and fall steelhead especially, spawning can be months away. The fish adjust to their river habitats. Many have not fully sexually matured to the point that spawning is an urgent matter, and in the tiime between arriving to natal rivers and actually spawning, steelhead maintain curiosity towards their surroundings, including things such as flies swimming around in the currents. For this reason, steelhead are the usual targets of anglers wielding two-handers looking to swing.

Browns on the other hand are fall spawners. Many fish are sexually mature enough to spawn the very day they enter the river, should they arrive at suitable habitat. For this reason, the predator instict in even fresh run browns is often diminished. As a result, most of my success for fresh arrivals has been with smaller, drabber flies such as olive, brown, or black woolly buggers or brown hairwings such as brown trout fry.






A fresh 27" hen taken on a brown trout fry hairwing  


To browns actively spawning, males especially can remain responsive to those same small flies, though the ethics of fishing to spawning fish must be determined by each individual angler. Locating spawning fish in the riffles, and fishing below in gravel drop-offs or in the first main pool downstream is usually the better option anyways. Both pre-spawn and newly finished post-spawn fish will usually hang out around the spawners in the first available holding water, and are better targets in terms of receptiveness and in the fight of the fish.

In these deeper pools and runs where pre or post-spawn browns congregate below spawning fish, concentrate specifically hard in the slowest water available. Browns generally hold in slower water than steelhead. When swinging for steelhead, even in colder temperatures, many fish are found "falling into the bucket"- meaning as you transition from the head of the run into what would be considered the gut. Brown trout are usually found "falling out of the bucket"- meaning as you transition from the slowest part of the gut of a run into the tailout. On small creeks, this might only be a matter of a few feet difference, but on larger rivers this can be a difference of fifty feet or more. Though it is obviously a good idea to swing the entire run, as trout are first and foremost unpredictable, pay specific attention to the point where the current slows dramatically in the gut before dispersing over the tailout.





Jeff fighting a good lake run brown taken on the swing from the slow gut of a run



As more fish finish the spawning process, and the numbers of spawned out browns grows, baitfish and attractor streamers become the most effective flies to swing. Spawned out browns are eating machines. Lying in the slower pools and runs, they await to ambush anything small enough to fish in their large mouths. When I'm swinging to high numbers of spawned out fish, again in the slower water, I like to fish a floating line, leader down to 8 or 10 pound fluoro and a weighted fly. The cast isn't usually as pretty as fishing a weighted fly on that lighter tippet doesn't turn over great, but the swing is nice. In the slow water, any sink tip will usually ground out. Fishing without a tip and using a weighted fly usually does not. And at times, even in very cold water, browns can just go on a tear and be willing to eat anywhere from just below the surface to substrate of the pool. Most times, however, browns will be caught fishing a streamer weighted heavily enough to keep it near the bottom.

Pump the rod. I'll say it again. Pump the rod the entire time during the swing. Use the kind of pump that most steelhead anglers do on the hangdown and pump it throughout the swing. This will cause a jigging action, and the fly to drop back towards the bottom before it starts to swing again. Browns absolutely love to eat a streamer on the drop. And the take will be noticeably different. It will happen after one pump and as you pump again. There will just be weight there. That is a brown eat. It is not a turn on the fly the way a steelhead normally does. It is a brown that followed the jigging streamer, caught up to it, and, as the streamer drops toward the river bottom from a pump, inhaled it without turning. That is the way that most browns eat during the swing. They swim up and inhale it without turning back. If you were not pumping the rod, the fish might still take it. But that is a fish that can easily be missed in the slow water because the swing is slow, therefore the bite transfer to the rod is slow. By the time you notice something has happened, that fish could have spit you already. So I will say it one more time. Pump the rod the entire time from the start of the swing until the hangdown. If you feel any resistance, set low and to the downstream bank.






Smaller lake run taken on a bait fish streamer pumped through the slow water



So if you guys and gals have your eyes set on a trophy lake run brown trout on the swing, using these tips can be the difference between a successful day and spending an afternoon flogging the water. Browns are a beautiful species to target with spey rods and the swung streamer. Many remain in the rivers and creeks all winter long, and swinging or stripping streamers in the slower "estuary" sections in the cattails can help fire up even the coldest winter day. Browns put up determined battles when hooked, full of headshaking fury and sometimes acrobatics that will cause you to question whether the fish mistakenly thinks it's a steelhead. In short, lake runs are a ton of fun. And they readily eat a swung fly.


Tight Lines,


 - D












From the past few weeks

Posted on November 27, 2018 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)




An absolute stunner brown



Just got the photos from the past few weeks from Matt and wanted to get some of them up on the site! The fishing remains good, though conditions can be challenging at times. The Erie creeks are more hit or miss and continue to see some pretty wild fluctuations in flows. The Ontario creeks are fishing very well, with good numbers and size of the lake run brown trout. This week we have snow and rain in the forecast. Will probably muddy some things up a bit. Next week it looks like the bottom drops out of the temperature, with nightly lows into the low 20's. This will likely start the ice up process on the smaller creeks over the next week and a half.


Tight Lines


 - D




Sleek steelhead





Nice brown on the swing





We've been seeing a lot in this size range





First trip out our way




Close up





Jeff with a good fish





Nice steelhead

More fun with the lake runs

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)



Me and Dad with a good one



Well, I had a couple cancellations, but it all ended up working out alright. I got to take my Dad up to chase lake run browns! Matt came with and his buddy Jeff, and between the four of us we lit them up. In a half day fishing, we netted 12, including a double with an 8 pounder and a 10 pounder in the net at the same time! Of the fish we landed, we even swung 4 up on the big stuff (the hangover strikes again!), with the rest coming under indicators. And I got to break in my 3 wt. trout spey on a couple of really nice fish (they were small- only about 6 pounds each, which was a good thing as they were all I could handle on a 3 haha). 

Tight Lines,


 - D




Jeff with a toad





Matt with a really beautiful buck






Hangover victim!





Another nice fish





Another on the swing




Browns, browns, and more browns

Posted on November 4, 2018 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)


This is a legit monster



Well spent the last few days fishing with Justin and Chris, and man did we knock them dead. 38 lake run browns in two days of which 13 or 14 were 28" or better, including the giant above. Yesterday things started slow. One fish off the bat then nothing until about 11 in the morning. Then it was non-stop until quitting time, with many, many thick trout. Today things started red hot, and the fishing remained on fire until about 10 or so. By that time we already had about 16 in the net. Not as many of the larger fish as we saw the day before. Once the sun really started hitting the water, though, things got tougher. We still managed to pick a few more. But it was already an epic day.


Tight Lines,


 - D





Giant male 





Justin with a stunner





Another good one for Chris





Close up




Fall Fishing Update

Posted on October 21, 2018 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Nice chromer!


Both Matt and I have been out hitting the water over recently. Matt has been hitting the Erie creeks well I spent the last couple days fishing salmon. And we've even got a couple floats done as well. There are fish in all the creeks and rivers now, but last night we got hit pretty hard by another weather system. The smaller creeks have been on the lower side all fall so far, with most fish predominantly found in the lower reaches. The Catt has been pretty much flooded since October 1, with the exception of a couple windows where fishable conditions existed though none for longer than a few hours. Pretty bummed about that because it means we're probably not gonna get a floating line season this year on the Catt. But I wouldn't be surprised if we have a lot of fish to play with swinging tips when she drops down.

Hopefully things will start to dry out now as even the small creeks are high and muddy now. This should bring in a lot of fish into the rivers and creeks! Look for good fishing as the water drops!


Tight Lines and enjoy the pics!


 - D




Pretty little coho buck 




There are some good sized kings around!





Fun with the raft






Matt with a fresh fish





Another big king



Pre-Season Scouting

Posted on September 18, 2018 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Beautiful stretch



Well spent a little time a few days ago looking around on some of the local creeks and rivers. It's starting to get to my favorite time year, and the best time to be outside as far as I'm concerned. Didn't spot any fish in any of the smaller creeks, which was a bit surprising to me. Though we've had hot weather over the last week, before that we had three cool rainy days that I'm sure pushed in some fish. The nice thing is that all the smaller creeks I checked had at least decent flow so any fish that entered a week and a half ago may have been able to make it up a little higher than I'd normally expect. 

Then I jetted over to take a peek at how things looked over on the Catt. Despite air temperatures above 80 and water temps reading in the low seventies people were out fishing low on the river. I feel like a broken record for saying this, but it's just too hot right now. Looking ahead, though we had been forcasted to drop down into the 60's for highs, that has changed. On Thursday the high is in the mid-80's, and low 80's today and tomorrow. By Friday though that all is supposed to change. Again, hopefully this will be the last bout of hot weather until spring. But only time will tell.

In the meantime, tie some flies.



Tight Lines,


 - D 

Wyoming and Utah Trip and Fall Forecast

Posted on September 10, 2018 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Matt with a really nice brown trout


Well we're at that time of year again. Steelhead season! But before I get into what this fall has in store, Matt and a couple of his buddies just finished up a few weeks of trout fishing out west in Wyoming and Utah. From the pics he sent me, it looks like they had a blast with browns, rainbows, and cutthroat all captured, photographed and safely released! 

Back to business. Last week was miserable with temps in the mid nineties. But what a change happened on Friday! Temps started dropping and by Saturday morning we had temps in the low sixties with rain, and it hasn't stopped raining or dropping temps since! As I write this, it is 57 degrees and drizzly. This front is sure to draw in the first small push of fish, though larger systems are all high and dirty and will remain so for a few days at least. Even the smaller creeks will be off line for a day or two with all the rain we've received.

Looking ahead the rain is supposed to taper off today, and the temps are going to be bouncing back up. By the middle of the week the forecasters are calling for highs in the low to mid-eighties. Water temps will trend with air temps, so if you are planning on getting out and looking around on the creeks and rivers as they drop back into shape over the next few days, please be mindful and bring a stream thermometer. Concentrate fishing efforts during the first few hours of the morning, and if you get a water reading over 65 degrees as the day progresses remember to call it quits.

As for this fall season, last year we had a really consistent run starting about the first week of October. The two week forecast has the temps dropping back down after next weekend into the sixties with consistent rain. Hopefully this next heat wave will be the last real warm spell of eighty or more of the season, but you never really know. If the weather does pan out as called for, we should be in store for another consistent early fall season- which we'd love to see.

Can't wait to swing the floating lines.


Tight Lines,

 - D





Beautiful cutty




Another great brown





Clean rainbow





Matt with a well-fed cutthroat



Defining success

Posted on August 5, 2018 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)




What is success when fishing steelhead? That's a loaded question and the answer varies with the individual asked. As fly anglers for steelhead, success obviously does not mean hooking the most fish. If that was it, there are many more productive methods to catch steelhead. Same with spey fishing. In that facet of thinking, spey fishing is not the most productive method of fly fishing, and fishing a dry line is not usually the most effective method of spey fishing. So there must be something more.

To me the answer is personal satisfaction. Spending the day fishing the way I want to my favorite type of water. Each day I get to do so, I have succeeded, regardless of the outcome. With that attitude I never have a bad day on the river.

Go out there and succeed.


Tight Lines,

 - D 

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