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'19-'20 Season in Review

Posted on April 30, 2020 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)



Old man from the sea



It's hard to believe that it's April 30 and we have another season in the books. Like every year, this past season had its highlights and challenges, it's peaks and low points. So like we do, as we reach the end of steelhead season, we like to look back and offer a critical analysis of what we saw, our observations both on and off the water. On the whole, '19-'20 was what we expect fishing-wise. There were not any significant anomalies we saw in fish trends or numbers across the board.

Early in the fall, the Catt fished decently. The flows throughout the month of October were very stable, if a tad low at times. Fish numbers built throughout the month, being sparse in the beginning and growing to numbers I'd say were on the lower side of average, but not alarmingly so. Most days by the second half of October and through November we were finding between a couple and a handful of fish swinging streamers. As usually, the whiskey hangover took most our fish. I don't recall any lights out days where our hookups approached double digits on the swung fly, but it seemed like working water well lead to consistent success.

Honestly I'll take that every time. Those years where we seem to see a handful of crazy days spey fishing in the fall also seem to have more days where we work hard to scratch out a single fish, and maybe not even that. I think this is because to have those crazy fishing days means a higher percentage of the run is entering the system at once. When you find that ball of fish, it's a blast. But they move on, and perhaps there are fewer fish following them up over the next few days or week. A slow and steady stream of fresh fish pushing in seems to lead to more consistency in the long view. All in all, and comparing to how the Catt fished (or didn't fish for that matter) for almost the entire 2018 fall season, 2019 was a blessing.

Whereas fall 2018 was the year of the lake run brown, 2019 was the general mixed bag. Like always, we spent a portion of our time up on the Ontario creeks. Brown numbers were nowhere near what they were in 2018, but the fish were there. It seems like every 5-7 years we just get a mega run of browns. Before 2018, the last year I can remember with a comparable run was 2011, though 2011 if I remember correctly even exceeded it. 2019 was the same steady flow and consistent fishing, most days hooking around a handful of lake runs between two people with steelhead and domestic rainbows in the mix as well.

One thing I did notice on the Ontario creeks was the lower numbers of Pacific Salmon but the higher numbers of Atlantics. Though I don't often fish the Oak, the boys made it over there a few times in late October and early November. Some days they had multiple Atlantic hookups, and I saw a handful on the other creeks throughout the fall as well. I really hope that program continues to develop. The lakes are changing. The forage base is shifting and likely will have a disparaging and disproportionate effect on king salmon. Atlantics and trout are more adaptable than kings, which are nearly solely reliant on alewife as a food source.

Over the winter, we had good fishing. The rivers never really froze up, and many times in January and February there were pleasant days of above average temperatures, great flows, and good fishing. By late February, the bulk of the spring run started. Before then we were finding late fall and winter fish, fish darkened from time in the river. By the end of February we started seeing more chrome, fresh run spring fish. Then the virus hit, almost exactly coinciding with the start of peak spring steelhead. And it was a shame. We had a beautiful spring with very consistent conditions and great numbers of fish. Particularly in the second half of April, I was seeing fish between about 28 and 32 inches fairly consistently in the mix on the big river. Most of the large fish were fresh run hens, a bit of a trend that I've noticed over seasons past- a final push of large female fish.

So here it is the last day of April, and we're turning our focus away from steelhead. I do the first trout trip this weekend to the cabin to scout things out. We will be running trips in May and June, and probably throw some smallmouth in the mix too. Here's hoping that the worst is past us now and we have nothing but good fishing ahead.


Tight Lines,

 - D  


End of Steelhead Season

Posted on April 27, 2020 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)



Still some beautiful chrome, pre-spawn fish around


Hard to believe it's gonna be May in a few days. Seems like each year the season passes by quicker and quicker. I might sneak out one more day sometime in the next week or two for steelhead, but we're mostly geared up to do PA trout trips now. For anglers still wanting to catch steelhead, there are still quite a few around. The cold temps recently and decent water flows have kept them in the rivers. By now most fish are spawning or downriver fish. If you're looking for pre-spawn fish, look in the upper half of rivers. Most fish down low are downriver fish. 

Was out a couple days ago. Swung up four, of which two were dime bright, prespawn fish, including one that went 31". Was nice to see some larger fish around, as is usual this time of year. Two of the others were between 27-29". Both fresh, prespawn fish were does. Seems like a trend I've noticed that signals the end of the season is quickly approaching- a last shot of larger female fish that push quickly upriver. The two bucks were colored up and battle scarred. I was about 28 miles upriver. Also swung up a big smallmouth, somewhere around 5 pounds. By the size I'd say was a lake run fish, but usually they don't make it up that far.

I still think my projection last week will hold up. We probably have a couple weeks of decent-good steelheading, and it looks like water levels and temps aren't gonna be an issue. If we start seeing 70's soon, keep an eye out. If the first half of May is like the second half of April, with days fluctuating between the 40's and 60's and intermittent rain, there may even be a decent number of fish around by the third week of the month, though I doubt very many will be fresh, and tired fish and warm water aren't the greatest combination.


Check out some more pics.




This bright upriver fish was too hot to touch. Easily cleared the water half a dozen times! I just reached down with the hemos and unbuttoned her.





Colored up warhorse of a buck that went airborne with the take. Super cool!


Destroyer Fly Tying Demo

Posted on March 22, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)



Finished product


We simply call this pattern the Destroyer. And for good reason. It catches everything. It is my go-to lake run brown pattern, a great clear water steelhead pattern, catches the shit out of the lake run smallmouth, loved by stream trout here in the lower 48, and is an excellent AK trout pattern fished either on the swing during the smolt emigration or dead-drifted during the flesh hatch due to the tan and peachy color scheme. That's why we call it the Destroyer. It destroys.


Check out what's hanging out of this lake run brown's mouth. Yep, you guessed it. Same fly tied with a bit heavier eyes.




And this one.




Need I say more?



This pattern is tied out of a string leech template. However I've made some tweaks to the system that really shine. Most string leeches tied with rabbit strips tie the stinger hook directly to the end of the rabbit strip. This creates great movement in the water, but means that you can't change out the hook when it gets bent out or dull. The fly is done. How can this be overcome? You want the movement, but also the ability to trade the hook out. When I tie string leeches, I tie about 1/8" of tubing on the back of the bunny strip and pass the dacron loop through it. I can change out the stinger and still have the weight of the stinger hook adding movement to the bunny strip. Check out the fly tying instructions for the Destroyer below.


Step 1: Start with about a 3" strip of barred tan and olive or tan and brown bunny strip. Tie in a small piece of junction tubing all the way at the back.













Step 2: Set up your hook. Tie a dacron loop onto a cutter hook (one that you will cut just above the bend when the fly is done). Tie in your weighted eyes.




Step 3: Tie your bunny strip in just above the bend.




Step 4: Tie in a 4" strip of polar chenille and 4" strip of peach cactus chenille.




Step 5: Wrap the peach cactus chenille up to the weighted eyes, tie off and clip any extra. Palmer the polar chenille up to the weighted eyes, tie off and clip any extra.




Step 6: Fold the bunny strip forward over top of the chenille, tie off just behind the eyes and clip off any extra.



Step 7: Wrap a collar just behind the weighted eyes of bunny fur spun in a dubbing loop in the same color as the strip and tie off.






Step 8: Tie in a head of tan UV ice dubbing and tie the fly off.




Step 9: Pass the dacron loop through the tubing at the end and pass through the eye of the stinger hook, snug the eye of the stinger hook into place inside the tubing to hold it and clip the cutter hook off just above the bend.







Step 10: Catch all the fish anywhere.


Swinging the cold and dirty

Posted on February 24, 2020 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)



Jeff swings to highly stained water




Everybody has "those days." You walk to a river that glistens that perfect color, and flowing with ideal temperature. Your passes through the runs are rewarded, sometimes heavily. It seems that you can do no wrong, and you catch fish seemingly at will. Those are the days you talk about, the ones you tell your buddies about over beers or glasses of whiskey. If you haven't yet experienced a day like that swinging, you just haven't been at the game long enough. It will happen. But most of the time the fish gods aren't quite so generous, and just as often as not you walk down to a river with the simple goal of determining whether or not the color falls within your own range of fishability.

The steelhead in our rivers here are present through the seasons that also coincide with some of the worst weather of the year, and rain, sleet and snow can all spike and stain the flows. For the lucky few of us, a day or two of dirty water is just that- something to wait out and hit as it's dropping and clearing. But for most of us, time is a valuable resource, so the game becomes making the best of the time you have. So before you walk back up from a muddy river, dejected at the sight of chocolate stained and cold water, here are some things that can help you overcome the obstacles and maybe even put a fish on the board.

FIND YOUR OWN CUT OFF. My cut-off for fishability might be different from yours. Determining your bottomline should be the first thing you do, and it can even be done for specific rivers. What I like to do is try to remember what the approximate visibility for the fish I caught out of the system at the dirtiest flows and then subtract an inch or two. This usually leads me to making a cut-off of between 8 and 10 inches. Why I like to fish water dirtier than what I've ever caught a fish in? Two reasons. It keeps me learning, and I have the genuine belief that fish really do see much better, even in highly stained water, than we give them credit for.



THESE BOULDERS DEMONSTRATE WHAT AN ACTUAL 10 INCHES OF VISIBILITY IS (I MEASURED)

Remember, steelhead will be near the bottom looking up through the water towards a light background. This means that our perspective of standing looking down into the river is obviously not the perspective the fish get. Water with 10-12 inches of visibility can fish surprisingly well when fish are present.

CONTRASTING COLORS. Everybody has their own thoughts on color schemes to match the day's conditions- bright colors for bright days, dark colors for dark water, natural colors for clear water, the list goes on. I don't know of a single rule in steelhead fishing that never fails, fly schemes included. But there are certainly some trends that have proven productive over the long term. In cold and heavily stained water, I like big profile with contrasting colors. For anyone who has ever pulled plugs for salmon, a fire-tiger in heavy sediment is a producer. Translate that to steelhead on the swung fly. Color schemes of black, chartreuse, and orange are some of my most productive flies in heavily stained water.




MY DIRTY WATER RIG

A good indication that a fly is a hunter is when you drop it in the water near your feet and it just glows. I don't know how else to put it other than that, but when you see it you'll know. Start messing around with heavily contrasting colors with brights and darks, keep the profiles big but the fly sparse enough that it sinks well. I like reverse tied craft fur with the under fibers stripped out. It cuts through the water but the reverse tie puffs it out and makes it pulsate in the water.

FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE. It's cool as hell to send bombs across the river and touch a fish way out there. As spey anglers, the casting is very much a large part of the process. But casts don't catch fish. Proper presentation matched to the right water does. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid? Well kind of. Keep inside and short. Don't overthink it. If there's ten inches of visibility, then any depth more than that is adequate to cover and conceal a fish, plus shallower water offers better light penetration. Fish see better.




WE LITERALLY HOOKED FISH WITHIN FIVE FEET OF WHERE THE GRAVEL BECOMES UN-VISIBLE IN THIS SPOT

If there's one piece of information that I think is key, it is concentrate hard on the inside. When I fish dirty water like over the weekend, I find the casts I make are roughly half the distance as those I'd make if I were fishing the same water in clearer conditions, and we hook good numbers in water between 1.5 and 2.5 feet of depth.The inside of runs, the soft water shoulders, the casts that might only put you out the distance of the shooting head or less are the money spots. Fish them well.




JEFF SWINGING SHORT ON THE INSIDE

Fish use these softer water places. In dirty water, they pull off to the side, plus these are the running lanes. If someone forced me to swim up a river, particularly in cold and dirty flows you can bet your boots I'm going to be swimming up it as close to shore as I possibly can. It saves energy. Fish do the same thing, and stained water is migrating water. If you're casting to those mid-river buckets that fish well in ideal conditions then you probably are casting, and fishing, beyond the fish.

DREDGE THE SHIT OUT OF IT. Steelhead hug near the bottom under most conditions, and in clearer high water fishing a light tip on the inside is effective. But in cold, dirty water, the fish might as well be in contact with it and you should be bumping it a little more frequently too. How do I know this? The grabs we get when swinging in those conditions. Over the past couple days, most of our takes came after we found somewhat regular contact with the bottom. And this is normal for high, dirty and cold flows. If you aren't hanging up on the bottom with more regularity than when you're fishing that inside seam in better clarity, you might not be fishing right.

Why does it matter if you know that your tip gets the fly to just above the rocks? It is not that the flies are necessarily fishing different depths. It's that they're fishing at vastly different speeds during the swing. Having your sink tip roll along the bottom during that second half of the swing in cold, dirty water gives you the slowest presentation through the best water. The ticks and taps on the bottom will grind your swing to almost a hault. Throw those big, inside mends and even pull it along with the rod tip if you have to to get it moving again, but just know that your dog's out there hunting. Control your swing. Find the bottom, then get it moving again. Lift the rod tip slowly after an inside mend. Fish it well.




SUCCESS

So get out there. Don't be afraid to swing, even when you think the water's a bit dirty. Remember, the worst you can do is not catch a fish. And even that's not so bad, especially if you're spending the day with a good buddy or two. But keep these pointers in mind, and hopefully you can put a fish or two on the board on a tougher day.




THESE GUYS ARE STILL OUT THERE



Tight Lines,



 - D  

2019 Year in Review and Recent Fishing

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)



Love the colors this time of year



Hard to believe it's already 2020! I know this is a few weeks late, but as we roll into the new year, I like to take a look at what the old one had to offer. All in all, 2019 was a great year! Spring fishing was consistent on the Ohio rivers, starting very early on with good runs coming in during warmer periods of January and February, and fishing very well all the way through early may. It seemed like the overall size of the fish was slightly down, most the fish we found were between four and six pounds, but there were some bruisers in the mix like always.

One really nice thing about 2019 were the late spring and early summer wild browns in central PA. It had been quite some time since I had given any of the wild browns any love. But starting in early May and continuing all through June, we were having great streamer fishing for trout up to around 24", and saw some much bigger ones! I'm already thinking about trout season haha.

Like most years, from July-September, we quieted down as we started planning and preparing for the upcoming fall season. It was a time spent tying, scouting, and juggling multiple other engagements. But soon enough October rolled around. Early on, the Catt was low though not troublingly so. She still had enough water for fish to move through, but the lower flows definitely resulted in a bit of a delay. Until about the third week of the month, fish were spread out and working the water well was key. By the end of the month, however, we were finding good numbers and that continued on throughout the rest of the season. The nice thing was that on the whole, we had a lot of days to fish the Catt this fall, which is such a relief compared to the essential blank that was the year before.

The Ontario creeks fished moderately well in the fall as well. We did not have as strong a brown run as the year before. Most days were somewhere between two and four fish swinging, which is still very good. Just last year spoiled us for sure. One really nice thing about the Ontario creeks this year was the number of Atlantic salmon around. There's usually a few that we see in the mix of fish, but last year was the best numbers I think I've ever seen. I really hope that program keeps evolving and progressing. It would be nice to see Ontario develop a good Atlantic fishery like the ones in the upper lakes.

Looking ahead to 2020, we are already having great fishing. Fresh steelhead are running the Ohio rivers as we speak, and their numbers will build as winter turns to spring. Based on what I'm seeing, I'm pretty excited for peak season. Matt and Jeff will be back out here working with me from late March through late April. Right now Matt is out in Park City, Utah fishing the Provo, and Jeff is back on the east coast chasing stipers. Check out the pics they sent me.

In addition, in a couple months Flyfishers Guide to Steelhead Alley, a book I was asked to write, comes out. Pretty excited to see the finished product. It's part technique guide and part stream guide, so I think it has something for everyone. And I've decided to donate any of my author royalties to Trout Unlimited for the Snake River Dam Removal efforts. So pick up a book and check it out! Should be available end of February/early March-ish.


Tight Lines,


 - D




Matt's recent Provo River brown





A striper Jeff caught fishing jetties in the surf


Kicking off the season

Posted on October 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)



Jeff with a beauty



The last week was the start of the guiding season for us in New York. Early in the week, the water everywehre was very low with low numbers of fish in the smaller creeks and better numbers in the Catt. Due to how low the flow was, we resorted to swinging smaller flies on scandi heads with floating and light sinking polyleaders and tapered tippets down to 3x. It's a beautiful way to fish steelhead, but the light tippets mean lost fish. Before the mid-week rain hit most days yielded between two and four good grabs with about half resulting in hookups, though the fish we hooked broke us off due to the light line. Regardless, it was really nice to be able to fish the floating line for a while, and we even had a really great take on a riffle hitched muddler and landed a good sized resident smallmouth!

Mid last week, we got some very much needed rain in the area. The creeks spiked up and stayed high for enough time to spur on fish movement and really kick off the fall run. As the smaller creeks were dropping and clearing towards the end of last week, we were seeing decent numbers of fresh fish moving through. Not the big push of fall run fish by any means, but a nice little run with enough numbers that each decent pool held at least a couple fish and sometimes more. Covering all the water well resulted in multiple hookups from both indicator and swing techniques.

Then the Catt dropped back into shape and we were able to get one really nice day out in the mid river. With the water still being good temperature wise, swinging a scandi and a light or medium sinking polyleader was the key. Due to where fish were holding, primarily in the drop-off behind riffles, having the ability to mend well over multiple current seams was key. This is difficult to do well with a skagit due to how heavy the head is. The fish we landed were chrome fish that looked like they hadn't been in the river long. I expect that many of the fish that were holding from Gowanda down due to the low water have now pushed up into the middle river and will continue working up as the conditions allow.

Looking ahead, we have rain in the forecast today. They're calling for half an inch or more. This will likely dirty the Catt up for a few days, and might stain up the smaller creeks for a day as well. But it will mean that fresh fish should push in again, and that fish that entered last week will have the chance to push up higher into the creeks. All in all, pretty excited for how things are shaping up.


Tight Lines



 

























 

Starting to think about fall steelhead!

Posted on August 29, 2019 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)



Won't be long until we start seeing some of these around!




It's quickly approaching my favorite time of year! You can just feel it in the cool air in the mornings, and the reasonably temperate days we've been seeing recently. Fall is definitely on the way. And with fall comes fall steelheading! With how things have been going over the past week (cooler with periodic spurts of rain) I wouldn't be surprised if a fish or two is hanging around the river mouths, perhaps even nosing their way in. But we are still likely some three or four weeks away from the first real push of the fall, again weather conditions dependent.

For those just getting into the sport of steelhead fishing, the early runners of fall are a totally different animal than spring run fish or even fish returning to the rivers later in the fall in colder water temperatures. To successfully target them over the course of first weeks of the run and not simply luck into a fish or two here and there, you must be willing to adjust your techniques, focus on different water conditions and river structures, and be willing to adapt and overcome the obstacles of fishing to a run that has just started presents. Having the ability to do so by recognizing trends and habits will make you a better steelheader in general, and will increase your early fall success rate. This post is really focused on the larger watersheds, as usually in early fall they have better numbers of fish running, and in the smaller watersheds you can likely spot and stalk steelhead which is a completely different game and success is usually determined by the stealth of the approach and not reading water, recognizing habits, and overall knowledge of the quarry.

First and foremost, as I've said numerous times in the past, if there is enough water (like there is most years on the Catt) early run fall fish can migrate up a river quickly. A key to finding success early in the fall may not be to necessarily fish low in the river. Most people assume that the lower river holds the most fish early on, and this can be true in times of lower and clearer water, where fish may be more hesitant to push upward. However even in lower conditions on rivers like the Catt or Conneaut, fish can and do push upward. The first arrivals of fall are generally smaller fish of one or two summers in the lake and run between 15 and 25 inches or so. These sized fish can easily run through shallow riffles, and frequently hold in water as shallow as a foot, at least temporarily, if certain conditions are met- mostly if there is a broken surface to distort their appearance to predators above and a current seam to make holding easier. If you come to the river early in the season with the expectation that the lower river holds the most fish, it may be true on any given day, but know that because everyone else thinks so you will be fishing to pressured fish. Targeting the portion that has passed this pressure and is now scattered throughout the middle of the river can be more rewarding, and offer an angler better success as unpressured steelhead are a joy to fish to and can be taken on any given method of fly fishing.

So now that you've taken my first piece of advice and find yourself wandering around the middle section of a river, you may think what next? My best answer is to find the shade. In September and the first part of October, days are generally still mild and sunny, and the water this time of year is usually lower and clearer. Finding the shade can mean finding the fish. In the lake, steelhead can and will occupy every zone of water from the surface to the substrate, however steelhead can prefer deeper water in bright sun. As these fish are pushing into the river, they are adjusting to a completely new environment where even the deepest pools have significant light penetration, and warmer river temperatures force a need for greater dissolved oxygen content. The oxygen is frequently found in a riffle. My go to location for finding early fall steelhead is a shallow riffle and run with a broken bottom and canopy that keeps shade on the water most of the day. This may not mean that there are any greater numbers of fish present in this type of run than any other section of good, riffly habitat, but in high sun shaded fish will feel more comfortable and therefore more likely to bite than those exposed diretly to the light. This can even hold true if decent deeper holding pools are located nearby. 

The final tip I'd offer is go small and stealthy when swinging. Over the past few years I've written a fair amount about fishing floating lines and dry flies, and fishing from the surface down. Those are very exciting ways to target fall steelhead, and in my opinion taking a decent early fall fish on a floating line and riffle hitched wet fly or true dry fly is about as good as it gets. But that requires quite a bit of confidence that can only come with a significant amount of trial and error. The more productive method is fishing lightly weighted small streamers on a long leader, things like beadhead woolly buggers, small zonkers with light dumbell or bead chain eyes, or traditional steelhead patterns with wire ribbing. All of those will get somewhere around a foot below the surface even in faster water, and if you're fishing the right water a foot below the surface is right in the strike zone. And the neat thing is that fishing this way is the transition from swinging streamers on a sink tip to skating or waking dry flies on the surface. You use the long leader and weighed small streamer approach to form confidence in fishing to certain types of water that eventually will show you how and where to fish those dries. Then when you make the transition to dries, if that is something you want to do, you can do so with a bit of earned confidence built up along the way.

So hopefully you all are getting as fired up as I am, and that this little bit helps in finding success with those early run fall fish. As always be mindful of water temperature so as not to increase the risk of harm. But good luck, and perhaps you will see me wandering around the middle of the river sometime this fall enjoying a day of fall steelheading.


Tight Lines,


 - D 

Fly Fishing in Scotland

Posted on August 20, 2019 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)



My dad with a beautiful wild atlantic salmon!



Went to visit my sister over in Scotland last week with my family. Not really a fishing trip but you better believe I was going to bring a few rods. Fished the Tay one day and a smaller Western Highlands river another morning. Boy what a place! Where we fished the Tay it was big wide salmon river, with long pools and tailouts that fished a floating line and small spey flies well. We watched anglers fishing from the boats with ghillies catch a few but from the shore we didn't have any luck with the salmon. After a good bit of no action, I put on a tip and a whiskey hangover and did manage to swing up a small pike which I was told on the way out was very rare on the river. Surprise surprise the hangover found another victim.

But then one other morning we had a few hours to kill before a falconry demonstration (which was unreal by the way) and we snuck out to a river close to where we were staying. When we met up with the ghillie, I told him we only had like two hours and he put us in the spot. Right off the bat I found a beautiful little wild brown trout. Then a while later I saw a fish roll on the inside of a seam where my dad was working his way through the head of. A short while later his rod bent under the weight of a fish that was not a pike or brown trout. After a bit of a battle, he played the fish in close enough where I could tail it for him. It was what would be considered a grilse in ballpark of five or six pounds, but it was a wild atlantic that passed over no less than three waterfalls up to about eight feet tall to meet us in the pool. And it was magnificent.

Looking ahead, with the end of summer nearing our headlights, we're now well into fall bookings for what should be a good season. There are lots of big browns being caught in Lake O right now, and it wont be long until steelhead start finding their way into the Catt and other Lake Erie creeks. Should be a great season!


Tight Lines

 - D






Dad fighting his atlantic






Tailing the salmon






My brown trout





Pretty pike from the Tay






The money pool



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
























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