Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where Are the Keys?

Having such high expectations for our first trip north to the Lake Ontario tributaries, we invariably set ourselves up for a huge let down. By no means did we have a horrible trip, we just didn't catch as many fish as we intended to. Over four days of fishing, the number of fish hooked outnumbered those landed nearly 5 to 1. The fish were strong, acrobatic, and incredibly efficient at throwing hooks. So, the first few days presented us with a learning curve before fish could come to hand. When the fish did come to hand, our self esteem was restored, and much needed fuel was added to ensure continued enthusiasm.

Adam's Weapon of Choice
Loop Opti Dry Fly

Adam & A Nice Brown


About to Land a Small Steelhead
Amidst the Fall Foliage

Day one saw us head north to the Salmon River where conditions proved to be unfavorable. Arriving around 7:30, we pulled into the upper fly zone parking lot to the tune of 30 degrees, ice, and six inches of snow on the ground. This being our first stop of the trip, we were pumped to say the least. So pumped, that rigging up proved to be quite the fiasco. When we did finally reach the stream, we were awestruck at the intensity of the flow. Twice the average, the river was roaring at 1,449 cfs. There would be no crossing of the river nor attaining better positioning to reach the best lies. We were stuck with one side, and about a 5-10 ft range of water along the bank to work with. After a few hours of fishing, all we had to show for our efforts were 4 brown trout 8-14 inches. After this, we headed to the lower fly zone where our luck yielded a zero percent change. Leaving the Salmon River, we had a positive outlook because we had caught some fish, while other fisherman around us had not. We decided to spend the last few hours of daylight exploring the little and south sandy creeks nearby. We ended up fishing little sandy for around an hour where I landed two small native rainbows and saw zero steelhead or brown trout.

My First Fish @ Oak
Coho Salmon

My, What Big Teeth You Have

Landed Two, Lost Many

Days two-four saw us head southwest to Orleans county and the Oak Orchard River, Marsh Creek, and Sandy Creek. We combat fished the Oak Orchard River for three days along the first half mile below the reservoir. Here we battled with fellow anglers, overhanging branches, a killer muddy slippery single track trail on a vertical cliff, and feisty browns eager to teach us a lesson. Adam hooked and landed three nice browns between 4-6 pounds while I had no luck on my particular lie. Joining Adam, I hooked into a massive steelhead that promptly broke me off after five minutes and a 100 yard joyride downstream. Later, Adam too lost a similar epic struggle. Several smaller steelhead were caught between 16-20 inches and my first salmon, a nice female coho. I also lost several monster browns whose head thrashes easily threw my hooks in the fast water. I managed only one brown at the Oak, a below average female, that would be a trophy at any other water. Adam and I later landed our first nice steelhead of the trip.

Pig Steelhead on the 5wt Helios Opti Combo
Get Optimized.

Bruiser Male Steelhead Put a Nice Bend in the 6wt.


Overall, the trip was an absolute blast. Anytime you escape the rigors of daily life and are free to fulfill your passion, is a day worthwhile. Traveling across New York fishing for huge fish while living out of your car only heightens this sense of freedom. The weather, conditions, and crazy people you come across provide endless opportunities for laughter and fun stories in the future. Looking back on these experiences will always bring a smile and a thought of the life a trout bum leads. Although we didn't land many fish, the ones that got away have made us eager to return and seek revenge on those that lurk beneath. This revenge won't have to wait long because in three weeks, we will be doing it all again. This time however, I am sure it will be even colder and crazier than ever before.

A Nice Female Brown

She's A Beauty


Home = Riley and Sophie

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