Friday, April 12, 2013

Boy, it's been a long time.  The Winter in WNY is finally over and time to start inland trouting.  Rain over the past 4 days has all creeks well above normal, and some to flood stage.  If you are thinking of fishing this weekend around here, just tie some flies and stay in.  once the waters drop, fishing will be back on.  Early season here means murky water, and baetis nymphs.  Pheasant tails do the job nicely.  For the big fish, large streamers swung slowly or even stripped can produce.  Not as many, but when you get one, it will likely be a show stopper.  Can't wait to get out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Niagara River Steelhead

Ever hook onto the back of small car with your flyrod? That's about equal to steelhead from the mighty Niagara. Big minnow/smelt imitations and egg patterns work well off the shore, as well as oddly enough, Caddis nymphs. A 7 weight is rod is a little arrogant, while an 8 to 9 is more adept at casting big weighted flys and heavy split shot. You have to get down to the fish and weighting your flies or your line or both is a must. A 15 foot leader with shot about 16 inches from the fly is a good start, while the new skagit heads and sinking leaders are even better in some cases. I use an 8-10 foot lead core section/ skagit head to get the floating line down and then a couple shot as well. It's heavy, but the 10' 8wt will get it out there. You don't have to cast far since the ledge drops off out about 5-8 feet to 12-15 feet deep. The fish hang right against the rocks down about 8 feet so depth is your biggest concern. Fish the eddies and inlets along the shoreline for controlled drifts. Roll casting is the norm, with little room behind for a back cast and either dead drifting with the current, or adding some strips for action gets the fish's attention. It's BIG water, so utmost care is needed when walking the very slippery rocks. Do NOT wade in the Niagara River. You are just asking for trouble. The Power Authority releases water every day in the early morning that can raise the water 6-8 feet very quickly. I have been caught out on the rocks at Devil's Hole and had to wet wade back to shore, fighting a heavy current. I thought that was kidding. Anyway, you don't usually get a second chance to screw up on safety down there, so be careful. The best access points are Artpark in Lewiston, NY and the Devil's Hole and Whirlool Park access points in Niagara Falls, NY. It's rugged, but worth the walk. Big, Strong, Nasty fish that head for Canada when you hook them.

Getting ready for Spring Trout

The weather is starting to break around the WNY area, and the opener is just around the corner. I don't typically go out that day, because I tend to avoid crowds. Isn't that the real reason behind our sport in the first place...solitude? Don't get me wrong,,,I love hanging out with one or two fishing buddies, but not the whole population of a small town. Anyhow, the water will be cold and most likely, the fish will be feeding under the surface. Small GR Hares ears, Pheasant Tails, Early Black Stones, and small Olive Wooly Buggers will be our primary flies of choice. Can't Wait!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plans to hit Artpark

Well, I figured on going to Artpark for Steelhead today, only to wake up to 11 degree temps. Bummer. No fun slipping around down there and risking your life in the Niagara River, or icing up the guides. We will have to look at it as someone saying "you have more flies to tie". Maybe next week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This coming Saturday 3/19/2011

This Saturday at Orvis in the Eastern Hills Mall, I will be tying and speaking on some good patterns for fishing riffles and runs in the Genny. I will tie a variety of sculpins, muddlers, and really good nymph I call the Genny Screamer. It starts at 11am and runs through 12 or a little later. All are welcome and it's always a good time seeing the regulars as well.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Black and Purple Spey

Spey flies are elegant and effective lures for steelhead and salmon. Originally tied for the waters of the Spey River in Scotland, they have been adopted here in the US. They were first seen out West for Pacific Steelhead in the 1950's. Since then, they found their way to the northeast for tempting the various salmonids in the rivers and tributaries spilling into the Great Lakes. Originally, Heron hackles were used for the long flowing fibres that truly identify this style of fly, however heron is not available in the US legally. Fine replacements are Blue-eared pheasant, which is expensive, or even ringneck pheasant. Schlappen feathers are commonly used for the hackle as well, since they so have long fibres and long stems. Prepackaged spey hackles are also available by spirit river. Make sure you soak them for 20 minutes or so to keep the stems from splitting. Most spey flys have 2-3 ribs as well. 1-2 ribs and a counter rib to lock down the hackles. Lastly, the wing is usually made of 2 slips of bronze mallard flank from opposite feathers. They arent the easiest to handle and mount. A small, neat head and 2-3 coats of varnish finish the fly off nicely. Fished on the swing, they are very effective for enticing steelhead and salmon here in our Great Lakes rivers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Big Eyed Bunny fly

I'm sure this looks pretty similar to a lot of flies out there. It is put together matuka style with the bunny strip and then collar wrapped with a zonker strip around and through the dumbell eyes for a neat looking leech type presentation. This is a good one when the water starts to warm and the steedhead get more active, especially during the melt and early spring rains. Focus on the inside of creek bends where the water is a little calmer and fish don't have to work so hard in the current. They will be tight to the banks during that time too, so they can have some relation to the creek structure. The Niagara River steelies and lakers like this one too in White and Charteuse. Add a pink head for a little contrast. The steelhead really respond.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time to get back into it

It has been a looooonnnnnng time since I did anything on here. I will be upating over the next couple weeks and adding a lot of useful content. Thanks

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recession Tip - Take Care of Your Fly Rods by: Michael Gracie

If you still have a few bucks around, I’m certain there are deals to be had. If you don’t, there’s no better time to take extra-special care of your gems.
I’ve always been the type to give my rods a quick wipe-down after use; if they’re saltwater jobs, a warm, wet rag works overtime. Waxing the ferrules (tea-light candle wax is fine) after every couple of outings is also part of the repertoire. And my latest discovery was cork cleaning (with emphasis on ‘late’).
I have some rods that I’ve owned for a dozen years, and I’d never cleaned the handles. A friend said it was probably a bad time to start trying, particular since some of the corks were downright black - the suggestion was to start using the cheapo backups/loaners (the ones I’m loathed to cast myself - I call them my “guest handicappers”). But, a little warm water and some Soft Scrub with Bleach did the trick - here are the corks on the rods I’ve gotten wet in the last couple of years, after tidying them up…

The one at the top is the oldest in the quiver. I’ve had all the pure saltwater rods at least seven years, and they’ve all felt heavy use (i.e. lots of sunscreen) albeit prior to my move to Colorado. The second, third and fourth (from the top) have seen the most recent workouts - the second was bought early last season (’07) and the fourth was bought in late September (’08). All the corks now look the same - like I just pulled plastic wrappers off them.Note: Your fishing buddies might already be getting stingy about sharing the single malt, and they’re going to be hard pressed to loan you their new S4 if your own rods look shabby too. So get scrubbing

Flies for Early Season Trout

There are a lot of flies to choose from when we go into the fly shop or when we sit down to the bench to get some work done. The key to having the flies for early season is to tie based on priority. If you need early season flies, you shouldn't be tying Green Drakes that you won't need until late June. You need to focus on what is needed short term, and then if you want to stock up ahead of time, then bust out the giant hooks and tie the drakes!

The first ones on your list should be the Early Stones, G.R. Hare's Ear, Blue Wing Olives, and Woolly Buggers.

Early Black Stone

The stones start showing up when the water hits about 40 degrees consistently. They don't swim well, so a dead drift through a riffle or the head of a pool is a good place to start.

Hook: Size#14-16
Thread:Black 8/0
Tail:Black goose biot
Rib:Black Larva Lace "Soft Midge Body Material"
Abdomen:Dyed-brown squirrel, blended with black rabbit
Thorax:Same as abdomen
Wing Case:Turkey tail, slips pre-treated with Dave’s Flexament.
Antennae:Black goose biot


Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
This is another very popular worldwide fly that every fly box should have. It imitates all sorts of aquatic insects from stoneflies to cased caddis. Definitely one you don't want to be without. y favorite is with a beadhead.

Size: #20-12
Thread: Black 8/0
Tail: Hare's guard hairs
Rib: Gold Tinsel/Wire
Body: Hare's Mask Dubbing - picked out spikey when complete
Wingcase: Turkey tail fibers

Blue Wing Olive

When the weather is drizzly and gray, be on the lookout for a hatch of Blue Wing Olives (baetis). There are a bunch of species of this mayfly, and the differences so the fly tyer is size. For early spring though they range from 16-20.

Hook: #16-20.
Thread: 8/0 tan
Tail and Legs: Light olive dyed pheasant tail.
Abdomen: "Baetis" dyed turkey wing biot
Thorax: Light Olive dubbing
Wingcase: Natural dark goose quill.


Woolly Bugger

The Woolly Bugger, it is said has accounted for more fish than any other pattern, but doesn't imitate anything in particular. Some argue that it imitates a stonefly. Others say it could be taken as a leech, small fish, or crayfish. I don't really care what the fish think it is as long as they like it.

Hook: 3x long #4-10
Thread: Black 8/0
Tail: Marabou to match body color (add 3-5 strands crystal flash if desired)
Rib: Gold wire (counter wrapped)
Body: Chenille in choice of Black, Olive, Brown, Tan, WhiteHackle: Palmered saddle hackle to match body

Getting ready for the trout opener

April 1st will once again mark the beginning of another year for our trout season here in WNY. It's typically a lousy weather day with 20mph winds that can make wind knot in a clothesline, however a few hardy souls venture out to try their hand and use the new rods, reels and other Christmas presents they aquired for just such an occasion.

Opening day is not usually the best time for fly fishing only because the water remains cold, and fish, like people move a little slower when they are cold.

The typical presentation will be deep and slow, dredging the bottom for fish. The best flies I have used in such case is a hares ear nymph, a brown all purpose nymph, or a beadhead green caddis larva. Either one seems to do ok in a size 16 to 14. Another option is fishing the tail of a riffle just before it slowly enters a pool. Swing a small streamer through there like a sculpin patterm or muddler. You could be pleasantly surprised with the weight of a fish.