Saturday, February 14, 2015

Western NY

After the close of trout season, the salmon fishing had slowed, but not by much.  November is usually a month when salmon search out gravel bars, suitable for spawning.  But this also means the males and even females are very very aggressive towards almost anything, even a tiny nymph!

Since the days are shorter in the Fall, I wasn't able to get out after work anymore, so my fishing was limited to weekends.  Kenny and I had made plans to go to NY for the middle of November, just for a weekend.  I fished for salmon for a total of 3 days before Kenny and I took off to NY to chase some truly monstrous browns, and then steelhead. 

The fish were much harder to find than usual, but I found a few that were willing to play, including one of the biggest for the year, and probably the fattest salmon for its length I've ever landed. 

It was around 27", a very respectable fish for Champlain, but the girth on it was ridiculous as you can see. 

Over the few days I fished, I'd seemed to have lost more fish than landed, but was happy with the outcome!

A perfect example of a salmon in disguise.  It looks very similar to a brown trout!
After getting into more salmon, I was ready to rumble for NY!  I met Kenny at his house in NH after work on a Friday, and we spent the night driving over 8 hours to NY.  When we got there, we met up with his friend, "Steelhead Steve" and a friend of his.  Steve was an awesome guy, and very easy to get along with.  He lived just as far away from the rivers out there as we did, but probably spent more time on them than most!  He really knew his stuff, and I'm very grateful he could share his valuable information with us.  Huge browns and steelhead are not uncommon for Great Lakes tributaries, and that's what we were after!

Kenny and I had an incredible experience, and while the weather wasn't very cooperative for mid-November (it was below freezing for two of the mornings) we landed a TON of fish!  We started at sunrise, and I immediately hooked up into a huge resident rainbow on a small tributary of Ontario. On the first day, we fished this particular river pretty hard, walking upstream quite a ways.  We found fish at almost every pool and slot.  The best thing?  Compared to the Salmon River in Pulaski, this river was getting barely any pressure.  Sure, there were guys out there fishing, but we ended up stopping at a stretch of river where we barely even saw anyone.  We caught fish after fish, and it was just amazing.  I don't know how many times Steve caught a fish in water that I would walk by! 

The second day, we hopped around all of the place, trying to find BIG steelhead.  We probably visited over a dozen rivers, fishing almost all of them.  It seemed like the big Fall run of steelies hadn't quite come in yet, and we struck out.  Kenny did hook into a big steelie on an Erie trib, but it quickly popped off.  We were on the move constantly, trying to find which river had the most fish.  Towards the end of the day, was clear that the steelhead fishing was very slow, and we actually headed back to the Ontario trib where we'd caught all of the browns, resident bows and steelhead on the first day.  While we didn't find any 12+ lbers that we were looking for, the numbers easily made up for that!  I have no clue how many fish all of us landed, probably well over 50!  We fished until sunset, changed clothes and grabbed a bite to eat before making the 8 hour journey back home. 

One thing is for sure, Kenny and I are definitely planning for a Spring trip out there, along with a week-long Fall trip next year.  The fishing was amazing, and I can't wait to feel the pull of a 20 lb steelie. 

Fish on within the first 5 minutes!  A fat resident rainbow!

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