Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dreary Erie.

Where To?

Erie this year presented us with its fair share of challenges not only for us, but also for our fathers. Arriving in Erie, meeting up with our dads and heading out to the water, we knew that the water was extremely low, and the fish were far and few between. However, we were optimistic and decided to fish near the mouth of Elk. It being the largest tributary, we felt it would have the most water and most likely the largest crowds. We were correct. Elk was packed, men and boys shoulder to shoulder in every deep hole, leaving the skinny water left, completely devoid of any steelhead. To add to the misery of the shallow unmoving water we had to contend with 20-30 mph winds which seemed more like 40-50 mph on the lake shore. Rain was also in the forecast and when it did rain it came down as sleet and due to the wind, almost parallel to the ground. It was awesome. We made the best of the situation, everyone in our party receiving hookups, Adam and his father successfully landing steelhead.

The highlights of the day came fishing the mouth of Elk where Adam and I used our Washboard Willie streamers to entice a few fresh fish. Much of the water was sheltered by a large cliff blocking the wind coming off the lake. However, if you stepped a few yards closer to the lake you were in the midst of a hurricane that took the placid water and made chop Sui out of it. The waves crashing along the mouth resembled the waves I see on many of my vacations to mid-Atlantic beaches. It was like stepping into a whole new environment. I set up shop with the wind at my back and I barely had to make any effort casting my large streamer. The only thing I worried about was knocking myself unconscious with the tungsten conehead from an errant wind gust. I slowly worked the mouth when as always, the strike came out of nowhere. I tied into an impressive piece of chrome and while enjoying my few seconds the 2x tippet shattered taking with it not only my steel but also my prized fly. Adam then began working the opposite bank carefully chucking a much heavier fly directly into the gusts when BAM, a steelie pounced. I took some video of the feat and below are the captured stills. The sleet was coming down hard providing quite the backdrop and one memorable fish.

The Calamity of Day One.
Shooting One Into A Stiff 30-40 mph.

Breaking In The New Switch Rod.

Major Winds & Parallel Sleet in the Face.


Day two presented the complete opposite situation. The rain overnight added a lot of water to the streams raising and muddying the water. We (I) made the mistake of deciding to fish farther upstream, once again at Elk. The stretch of water we fished was operating at normal flows but seemed to once again lack any number of steelhead. This time, it was difficult to sight fish to them because of the water clarity so we decided to fish a lot of water. As the day progressed the water level started dropping tremendously. At the end of the day, we each had our hookups and a few steelhead to show for our efforts.

Working the Tail Out.

One Beautiful Fish.

Two Days Worth of Effort.

Losing a Battle To a Large Buck.

My Lone Producer.

Leaving Erie, I contemplated my last two years on this body of water. I struggled on both trips landing only a few fish. Next year, I will have to think long and hard before trekking out West to Erie while much larger, more productive, and less crowded waters lay closer to home. In all likelihood I will find myself once again in Erie battling the crowds and accepting the challenges it poses. Bring it.

Lake Shore on a Calm Day.

One Beer...

& the Old Guys Are Done For.

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