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Guided and Hosted Fishing Trips with
Fish Lake Run Outfitters  

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Trout and Smallmouth

Posted on July 2, 2019 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)




Kyle with a nice 23" wild Pennsylvania brown trout!



Well the fishing remains very good! Central PA wild trout are still fishing very well with all the water. Fishing streamers to undercut banks and overhanging vegetation is producing great fish up over twenty inches, and we're moving much bigger ones. Lake run smallmouth have slowed down over the last week or two. Prior to that the fishing was very good when the rivers were dropping and clearing. Looking ahead, if we keep having intermittent thunderstorms to keep the flows up we probably have another 3 weeks or so of good streamer fishing. I expect the smallies to be finishing up here fairly quickly.



Tight Lines,


 - D






Nice smallie





Jeff with a pretty brown





Matt with a nice upper teens fish






Pennsylvanian Trout

Posted on May 21, 2019 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)




Jeff with a nice wild streamer eating brown



Spent the last few days hitting the wild browns in Pennsylvania and man it was too much fun! A good day streamer fishing is moving ten quality fish and hooking maybe three or four. On our float we moved somewhere around thirty up to around 25", hooked nine or ten and landed six- unreal! Jeff's fish above took a double white streamer literally as it hit the water looking exactly like a take on a mouse pattern- DID YOU SEE THAT!!!! Too much fun!

With steelhead in the rearview mirror, were hoping to get another few trout trips with the streamers before the water drops low for summer. When that happens big trout tend to stay deep, though terrestrials can tempt some up. 



Tight Lines,


 - D





Matt with the prettiest fish of the trip ( I don't know why this pic will only load upside down)






Jeff with another 



 




2018-19 Season Review

Posted on May 14, 2019 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Our big trout of the season!



Well it's getting to be that time of year again. Though there are still decent numbers of steelhead around, particularly in the Grand River, and that we still have decent temperatures due to the cool rainy beginning of May that we've had, steelhead season is coming to an end. So it's time to look back at what the '18-'19 season had to offer.

Starting with last fall, the end of September was very hot, something that we are starting to see frequently. When I first started fly fishing for steelhead twenty some years ago, we used to really see decent numbers of fish in our New York rivers by mid-September, sometimes even earlier. My earliest steelhead I can remember catching was August 27. This was due to the fact that twenty years ago, mid-September was what early October is now weather-wise. Going forward, it looks like the season shift that has been noticably occurring over the past decade or so with warmer early fall temperatures will become the new normal, and that's a shame because early fall before the main run gets in is my favorite time.

Then by the first or second day of October the rains came. And it didn't stop for two months. There was a stretch of 45 days or so right in the middle of peak fall season where it rained 39 days. Despite the flows the overall numbers of steelhead throughout the New York Erie creeks was lower than normal, with most fish running between 20 and 24 inches. It was as though a year class was missing. In recent years, New York has struggled with smolt size due to cold flows at the hatchery. This combined with the very high populations of walleye and cormorants likely has had an effect on adult steelhead numbers. 

Whereas Lake Erie creeks and rivers were inconsistent, the Lake Ontario brown trout run was unreal. Beginning in earnest the first week of November and continuining all through the winter into the spring, the lake run brown fishing was the best I've seen it in years. Average days were double digit hookups, with many, many brown trout between 28 and 32" taken. Swinging streamers for the browns was just too much fun. This year our biggest trout of the entire season was a 32" lake run brown with about a 20" girth. The big hen went 15 maybe 16 pounds!

As for spring in Ohio, we had very good and consistent fishing. I'd say the run was right about average numbers and size wise. It was good fishing with the average day spey fishing being 2 or 3 hookups per rod. We did have some banner days, particularly in mid-April when spey fishing hookups approached or exceeded double digits, though the Grand started to get less consistent flows due to significant amounts of rain the last two weeks of April which is the timeframe we usually see the best spey fishing.

As is normal for the first week of May, the smallmouth have started making a strong showing. Those guys should stick around for the next month or so, providing good fishing. If this cool wet weather keeps up, there may even be a steelhead or two still in the Grand or the Catt in June, but it wont take them long to drop out to the lake if there is a prolonged heat spell.

If there was one factor that determined success all season long, I'd say it would have to be adaptability. Being able to recognize and react to changing and inconsistent conditions was key to consistently finding success, whether it be finding new spots that were holding fish, fishing different rivers more frequently, or even targeting different species such as lake run browns. We found success by keeping an open mind and not falling into the rhythm of complacency. I guess in steelhead fishing, that's about as good as you can strive for- the ability to meet the challenges that present themselves and hopefully find a fish or two along the way.

We're already excited for next fall.




Until we meet again, tight lines.


 - D 

Spring Steelhead Update- April 15

Posted on April 15, 2019 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (2)



There are still good numbers of fresh steelhead running the Ohio rivers




Ohio has been fishing very well over the last two weeks. We had a decent amount of rain the last day of March that pushed in a good run of fresh fish into all major tributaries, then again last night we had another system move through with rain and low temps. This should extend the season an extra week or two. I expect good fishing as the water drops again, with what will probably be the last significant push of fresh fish of the spring. Based on what I'm seeing, I'd expect all but the largest tributaries to be wrapping things up by the end of the month, as these late runners are usually quick in the rivers. The biggest rivers in the area will probably continue to fish until about the second week of May, water temperatures permitting. This is based on the ratio of fresh fish to drop backs that we're seeing. On the big river that ratio is about 60/40 dropbacks to fresh, while everywhere else is more like 80/20. We still have some excellent fishing ahead, but the '18-'19 steelhead season is nearing the end. Going forward it will be important to keep a thermometer for taking water temperatures on those warmer afternoons. Get out there and enjoy it while you can. Won't be long till it's the smallie show.




Tight Lines,


 - D
























Float Trip

Posted on March 31, 2019 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Tim and me with a nice fish!




Got out to do a float in the drift boat before things blew out. Before we got rain the past few days things we very low. The Grand had the best flow and also the most people fishing as a result. Everything else was at flows we'd expect to see late in the summer or early in the fall. The rain we got blew everything out for the next three days or so, but we need it. The fishing has been pretty good despite the low water, and we tangled with more than a few, catching some nice fish up to around eight pounds or so and losing one that probably went closer to ten. So far this spring haven't hooked or landed anything that I could tell was better than ten, but it won't be long now. April is usually the month we hit the biggest spring fish, and once this water drops down again in the next three or four days, we should be set with a fresh push of fish!


Tight Lines

 - D





Funny pic of taking a pic




Bruce with a good steelhead!











Spring Steelhead Update

Posted on March 26, 2019 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)



John with a really nice swing fish


Spent the weekend fishing with John again, and we just had too much fun. This '18-'19 steelhead season has been weird. In the fall it was all water. Everyday was rainy, the Catt was out of the pic. Now in the spring, when we usually see the most water due to rain and snowmelt, everything is super low. Go figure! But it isn't preclusive of success, and we caught our fair share of fish. In fact judging by the looks of the people we saw fishing around us, we might have caught their fair share of fish too haha.

The focus, as it usually is when fishing with me, was spey fishing. Towards the end of the trip on the last morning John's casting was really coming together, and he had a good couple hours were most of his casts were tight loops out to 60 feet or so. Impressive for a guy with only a couple days time working a two hander! As a result of his progress he landed an absolute stunner of a buck. Not big but beautiful. We fished both the Chagrin and the Grand. The Chagrin is gin clear and if we don't get meaningful rain it may fall below 100 CFS. The Grand has some flow right now but again it's still very low considering what is normal this time of year. All in all, John landed four swinging and lost about as many. We did a little indicator fishing too, and he picked up another half dozen or so, and hooked many more. Not bad for a weekend of fishing!



Tight Lines,


 - D




Gorgeous little buck




John working a run




Another pretty swing fish

 







Spring is around the corner!

Posted on March 5, 2019 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Swinging a good run on the Grand!



Got out with John for some spey fishing a few days ago on the Grand. John drove in from PA to get his feet wet in the spey game, and he picked it up really quickly. Our first stop of the morning was over on the Chagrin, but it was slush central. I figured there would be some, but it was coming through pretty heavy and there was just no way to get a line in until it burned off. So we jetted over to the Grand to fish the big water, and the upper river was slush free!

Spent the rest of the morning working some really good runs. About an hour into it we had a great grab but the fish simply didnt connect, then about an hour later we hooked a nice fish but lost it during the fight. I didn't take a water temperature, but I can tell you it would have been around 33 degrees or so. The two fish that grabbed were both in the slow winter water, though the fish we lost looked like a fresher fish when it came up. Nice to see the spring fish getting up that high.

After that we went to a mid river run that has changed quite a bit recently. The wind picked up and the sun went away making it really cold and blustery. Iced guides became a problem again. Kept at it until about 5 in the afternoon but didn't get a third chance. All in all though for winter swinging on the Grand two grabs and one hookup is a good day! Won't be long now until we start really seeing numbers!  



Tight Lines,

 - D





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













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