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Salmon season has come to an end and what a season it was. With a horribly dry summer we found ourselves facing very low water conditions. How’s that old saying go? When life gives you lemons make bull frogs or something like that.

I have to give a huge thank you to all my awesome customers. You are the reason I do what I do. In less than ideal conditions everyone was more than willing to change things up which equalled smiling faces and fish in the net. Some days where better than others but everyone was happy.

Another thank you to those who have already booked next year’s trips or steelhead trips. It’s a great feeling having most of your next season booked as this season is ending. That being said if you want to salmon fish with me next year I wouldn’t wait too long to start planning.

With the low water I never fished the Salmon River this fall. I stayed on the lake as much as possible and fished other locations when I couldn’t get on the lake. Next weekend that changes and I will be steelheading on the Salmon River come hell or low water. The reservoir is slowly filling and I expect 335 cfs base flow to return in the near future as long as it keeps raining. My Smithfly raft floats no problem at 185 cfs so I am not concerned either way.

Steelhead season is looking like it is going to be a good one. Some very nice steelhead have been caught already along with some impressive brown trout. I do have a couple December dates open that I would like to fill if anyone is interested give me a call.

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This weekend I had 3 trips on Cauyga lake. I decided I would camp near the lake rather then drive back and forth each day.

I stayed at Sned-Acres Family Campground. If you are looking for a campground in the Finger Lakes region I would recommend this one. It is a family run clean quiet campground. The owners are very nice and accommodating

The fishing was not easy this weekend. We had to work hard for what we got. The weather was not in our favor as it was far from stable. Friday I took Adam and Chrissy out for a four hour afternoon charter. We trolled a variety of depths and baits looking for silver fish. We no luck after 2 hours I switch baits around and we managed to land four lake trout before their trip was over.

Saturday morning Walt and Brooks joined me. We started where I had found the lakers the day before. Only to find they were not willing to bite. Weather was nasty at times but we fished through it trolling north. We found one good laker that wanted to play. They were fishing with me the next day and staying at the same campground so I offered to take a break and go back out in the afternoon. They decided that sounded like a good idea.

We headed back out in the afternoon and caught another laker and two rainbows in about 2 hours of fishing in some less than desirable weather. We probably could’ve caught more but the steaks back at the campground were calling our names.

Sunday morning the weather was supposed to be good and we found a good pile of fish and bait the night before. We were excited to get back out in the morning. Well the weather man was wrong and the fish had moved. We worked very hard fishing everywhere from 60 to 325 feet of water. We found 3 atlantics and one big lake trout that wanted to play before it was time to go.

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This afternoon I had the pleasure of taking Ken and Gerry out on Onieda Lake walleye fishing. Ken won the trip I donated for the Redfield Fish and Game Club kids fishing derby raffle.

When we launched the boat it looked like it might be a little bumpy out in the deeper water. That turned out to be an understatement. When we got out to the area I wanted to fish we had 3 to 4 foot waves. We were there so we set up and trolled with them. I was hoping it was going to lay down but the waves coming over the back of the boat as we trolled didn’t give me much confidence. The marks on the fish finder gave me plenty of confidence we were going to catch fish though.

We finished one pass landing three keeper walleye. I gave them the choice of running back west and making another pass or giving it a try another afternoon. They decided it was time to head back to the dock and I didn’t blame them as the waves were not letting up and actually still building.

All things considered it was a good hour on Oneida Lake. Hopefully next time we will have calmer water. I have some date available for October walleye fishing before I put the boat away for the winter. Book them now as it’s also salmon season so dates are filling quickly.

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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of flying to Oregon for two days of steelhead fishing on the Siletz River. Fishing on the west coast is something I have wanted to do for a long time so when a friend called and asked me to go I had to jump on the offer. He told me we would be fishing with an awesome guide and he wasn’t lying. Originally I was going to write a story about my trip. As I tried to write it I realized I needed it to be two parts. Part one a review of our guide. Part two, which will come at a later date, the entire story of the trip. Our guide was Nolan Davis who owns and operates Northwest Connection Sportfishing.Day one we had high but fishable beautiful green water. The night before Nolan had told us the water was dropping but still on the high side but would have great color. We arrived at the boat launch to see he was spot on. We rigged our rods and launched the boat. As soon as we left the launch Nolan was telling us where to cast and how to run our drifts. We weren’t on the water 20 minutes and Craig was hooked up with a gorgeous hatchery fish which ended up in the net.As we drifted down stream and motored around some of the pools Nolan would tell us to cast to this spot, move the float over to this spot, reel in and recast. The entire time he is talking about slots, buckets, and troughs. I am listening and doing my best to hit the spots he is calling out. It wasn’t long before I was hooked up too but the whole time I am thinking what is this guy talking about? I can’t see any structure everything looks the same in this water. I kept hooking fish though and ended up hooking 6 before the day was over with a couple others that I felt just long enough to know it was a fish that made the bobber drop.Nolan is a lot like me in the fact he doesn’t like to fish around other people and boats if he can help it. There were a good number of boats on the river the first day and he did a great job to make sure we didn’t have to fish around many of them. He told us he liked to fish small spots others don’t know or just don’t bother to fish. Again with the water conditions everything looked the same to me. We managed to hook fish in multiple places after others had fished them though. This told me we were doing exactly that, hitting the little overlooked pockets.Day two the water had dropped about a half a foot. What a difference that made for me. Now as Nolan called out the spots I could see them. It was amazing that the day before I was fishing these same spots but couldn’t see them. Nolan knows this river so well he had Craig and I casting to micro spots all based on memory. Day two absolutely proved to me we were with the right guide.There were even more boats on the river the second day as it was at a level more people are comfortable floating it. Nolan knew that would be the case and decided to pull a somewhat secret move of his. I am not going to elaborate on what that was but I will just say we fished the first part of the day in water that no one else had fished yet and the rest of the day behind the fleet of drift boats.We only saw two boats on the river all day. One was a raft we saw at the launch which we motored up past and proceeded to catch a nice wild steelhead out of the hole they had just been fishing and the second was one of Nolan’s friends at the take out. Day 2 Craig and I hooked and landed 7 steelhead. I also caught my first and second cutthroat trout. Craig caught one or two cutthroat as well. Overall it was an awesome day on the river where we didn’t have to fish around other boats. Nolan might have been second guessing his move in the morning but by the end of the day it was very clear he had made the right call.If you want to head to Oregon and fish the Siletz, I highly recommend doing so, get a hold of Nolan Davis with Northwest Connection Sportfishing. His knowledge of the Siletz River and it’s steelhead is second to none. He is by far one of the best guides I have ever fished with. His boat is clean and comfortable. His gear is top notch as he works closely with some great manufactures. I learned a lot in my two days on the river with him and I know you will too.www.nwcfishing.com

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That’s it I am done. Yesterday was my last steelhead trip for the season. My season is over but your doesn’t have to be. There are still a lot of fish in the river. They are dropping back to the lake but the lower parts of the river should fish well for at least the next 2 weeks if not longer.

Yesterday there were still plenty of fish to be caught from Altmar to Pineville but not as many as I saw on Sunday. The water bump definitely spread them out.  That being said those fish still have 14 miles of river to go before the enter Lake Ontario.  If you want to catch a steelhead there is still time on the Salmon River.  Covering water finding the pods of drop backs will be key. This time of year one of my favorite techniques is throwing spinners for them.  This allows you to cover water while not requiring you to carry a lot of gear.

Now that I am done with steelhead it is time to move onto walleye. The next two weeks I’ll be chasing Lake Ontario Walleye from the Oswego to the Black River.  These are trophy size fish averaging 6 to 8 pounds with some tipping the scale at over 10 pounds. If trophy walleye fishing interests you I still have a couple week nights available. These trips are 6 pm to midnight.

After walleye the focus changes to trout and bass. I will be fishing all over the Tug Hill region for rainbow, brown, and brook trout.  These trips are either wading or from my Smith Fly raft. This raft allows me float streams that no one else is floating. It gives my guests the chance to cast to fish that have seen very few if any other anglers.  I will be floating the raft for smallmouth and largemouth bass as well. Smallmouth on the Salmon River and Tug Hill Region streams. Largemouth on back country ponds.

I will also be offering Oneida Lake walleye charters all summer long. Either with myself or my good friend Mike Tankersly of Full Tank Charters.  Last summer when everyone was saying the walleye bite had slowed and was tough Mike was still getting limits. He has spent more time on Oneida Lake than anyone I know.

If any of these trips interest you give me a call @ 315-529-3886 to set up a trip you won’t forget.

Shelby’s first great lakes steelhead fishing on the Salmon River

Pavati drift boat

Bobby with his first Salmon River steelhead

This one crushed a Maglip 2.5

Louie’s first ever steelhead fishing the Salmon River

Louie senior with his first Salmon River steelhead

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Leaves, leaves, leaves, and more leaves. Everyone we talked to today had something to say about the leaves. The leaf hatch is in full swing for sure. With high winds and some snow hopefully it won’t be long before they are all off the trees and washed down stream.

Even with all the leaves we had a great day. It wasn’t tons of bites at each stop. It was actually only 8 fish hooked all day. However, out of those 8 we landed 3 and they were all very good fish. One was actually the personal best for the Pavati and possibly for any guided trip I have done. We didn’t get a weight on him just a quick picture and he was released to fight another day.

Today it was strictly a bead bite for us while we were float fishing. We also tried egg sacks but they wanted nothing to do with them. Our hot bead was a Great Lake Steelhead Company bead that I had doctored up a bit. We also took one fish on a chrome hotshot while back trolling one hole. That same hot shot took a good rip after that but didn’t hook up. Due to high winds we didn’t do much plug fishing today.

It is not lights out fishing but it there are plenty of fish around and most of the fish we saw were big. I have some open dates in December if anyone wants to get in on the action. I will also be offering $50 off for the Months of January and February.

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The fishing is very good for brown trout, king salmon, and steelhead.  The lake has been producing good numbers of browns and kings out of Oswego. From what we are seeing so far the fishing this fall is going to be excellent on the river again.  Charter captains are seeing good numbers of fish hitting the deck each trip out.  The Walleye fishing at night has been excellent as well. I have some openings for Walleye trips.

The Salmon River is still running at 350 cfs and has steelhead top to bottom.  I floated Altmar to Pineville Monday evening and couldn’t believe the number of steelhead up that high still. There are also large numbers of small stocked trout.  Try not to abuse these fish as they are the future of this fishery.  We made a couple moves Monday because in some spots we couldn’t keep them off the hook.  The smallies are starting to enter the river as well.  A few very nice ones have been caught so far and it is only going to get better. I will be offering Smallmouth Bass float trips all summer. These are spin or fly fishing trips.

Salmon season dates are almost full if you want to get on the river with me this fall you better call with a deposit very soon.  I have September 8th and 9th open. Last year we were getting them up river with no one around on this weekend.  This year if they aren’t in the river yet we can troll the lake or fish the estuary in my recently purchased Lund. This boat opens up a lot of options for the early season. These dates won’t last so call soon if you want them.

 

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There really isn’t a lot to report other than the fishing is good and getting even better. Everyone is catching fish right now. With a good number of fish left in the hatchery this is going to be an extended season for sure. I believe the colder temperatures have caused the fish to trickle out of the hatchery rather than come in large groups. Add these fish to the fish that spawn in the river and it makes for a great season that will last into mid May for sure.

There are also still fish spawning and fish that haven’t started to spawn yet. This past weekend one of my customers caught a dime bright hen that’s eggs were still tight. Check her out on my Facebook or Instagram page.

The best baits seem to change from day to day but for me it has been beads and egg sacs over anything else. All fished under a float. The plug bite has been inconsistent with some guys getting them on plugs but most not doing any real numbers yet. With this weeks warmer temperatures I expect the plug bite to really turn on if the water temperature goes over 40 degrees.

If you haven’t made it up yet the time is now. I am fully booked with the exception of doing an afternoon trip but I likely can find someone who has an opening if needed.

I will be posting a lot more as we transition into summer. Well at least I think we are going to transition into summer. Either way after this weekend it is on to Walleye and Pike then it will be Brook Trout and Black Bass. I still have some openings for the summer trips. I will be offering float trips on the Tug Hill area streams with my new Smith Fly Raft.

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Today was the first day I was able to get on the ice this year. I have been trying to get out but it seems like there has been something going on every nice weekend.  The weekends nothing was going on the weather was so cold I didn’t want to leave the house.  I don’t mind ice fishing when its zero or less outside as long as I am already on fish. I don’t want to be scouting in that weather.

Today I had to sign my son up for baseball at 11 so I figured I would get out for the afternoon.  I stopped by the tackle shop for a couple new jigs and some bait. The lady behind the counter told me good luck I hear they got a foot of snow up that way.   This was not encouraging but I was going ice fishing so off I went.

I pulled into the parking lot at the Elm’s golf course where I planned to walk out from. However, when I got there I realized I couldn’t even see the ice from the parking lot. The wind was ripping and blowing snow all over.  After a few minutes of contemplating braving it I decided to go check Green Point. I pulled there and it was better but still not very good so it was off the Lake View.  I arrived at Lake View at the same time as a couple other guys that were heading out and there was once shanty out there already.  Again the wind was ripping but I had made up my mind I was going to give it a try. I unloaded the 2 man shanty from the truck bed and filled it with gear. I have a single man as well but the plan is to fish with my oldest son and wife tomorrow so I figured I would just deal with dragging it so I was ready for tomorrow.  This tuned out to be a mistake.

As I drug the shanty to the ice I realized I never put my ice cleats in the truck. The ice was snow covered so I didn’t think it was going to be too bad.  As I started out onto the ice I realized I was wrong. The ice was smooth as silk underneath 3 to 4 inches of snow making dragging the shanty very difficult. With no other choice, well besides going home, I pressed on.  I tried multiple techniques to move myself and the shanty with out falling.  No of which worked all that well. The third time I fell I decided that was where I was going to fish.  I cut two holes and set up the shanty.

Anyone who has set up a shanty in high winds by themselves know what kind of shit show that quickly turns into.  After a brief fight I was inside somewhat out of the wind. I cleaned out the hole and dropped in the Vexilar. I saw I was in six feet of water and there were fish down there.  It took a couple tries to figure out what they wanted but then I had my first blue gill hooked. It was a decent one around 8 inches. I say around because it fell off the hook and managed to land right back in the 6 inch hole which it more than covered before it flipped and swam away.  I wasn’t happy about that but hey at least there were fish there and they were what I wanted.  The next few minutes when well as I landed a few nice gills and placed them in my bucket.

Then a gust of wind came up that almost flipped the shanty. I fought to keep it held down as a few things fell off the seat next to me. Luckily not landing in the other hole I had cut that I was now realizing would not be used.  As it settled down I moved my seat position further back as to keep more weight on the back of the sled. I caught a couple more gills all keeper except one. The wind was blowing snow under the sides of the shanty but I was on fish and that was all that mattered. Then it happened, a wind gust so hard it flipped the shanty up on it’s side with me in it. I struggled and managed to hold it from flying away on me. As I got it back onto its bottom I realized it was time to pack up the shanty.  Why didn’t I bring that single man shanty again?

After It was packed up I decided I would fish with out it as long as I could. This was interesting as the snow was being blow into the hole and the Vexilar screen.  I lasted about 15 minutes landing a couple more gills and losing a really nice one that got caught on the transducer.  If I was using a heavier jig I could have lasted longer but the snow in the hole and ice on the line got to be too much of a pain.  When it was all over I had 11 gills in the bucket. Considering this was a complete shit show that only lasted about an hour or so I didn’t think that was too bad. I am hoping for lighter winds tomorrow.

 

 

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As I look back on this years salmon season I can’t help but think about how blessed I am to have such great customers.  This year was with out a doubt my best year as far as guests go.  I sent out a few messages to past customers in August and filled most of my open dates in just a few days. It is a great feeling to have people come back year after year.  The remaining dates were filled by September by new customers some of which are now repeat customers as they have already booked future dates.  In this business you never know who you are going to get. Every guide has stories of people they couldn’t wait to get off the boat.  This year I never had a trip where I felt that way and it was great.

We spent the season casting or trolling lures and baits even when others said it was to warm to get them to snap. Day after day we proved them wrong taking plug bites on 70 plus degree days with water temps in the high 60’s.  When we got to the ramp we may not have had as many fish on ropes as others but we didn’t snag ours.  The only way the snagging mentality is going to change is if it starts with the guides.  I know for a fact I changed a few peoples outlook on salmon fishing this season and I am happy I could do that.

Overall the Salmon River was crowded most of the season but 99% off the people were friendly and moved out of the way of the boat. There are always going to be the guys who hate the drift boats but I think the number of them is getting smaller.  Most people are realizing that it’s not that big of a deal to wait or take a few steps back while the drift boat goes through. They are also realizing that many times the boat gets fish moving around and they hook up right after the boat passes.

2017 Salmon Season was my most fun season by far.  The only problem I had was that my son is now old enough to realize that dad is gone all the time.  This really hit me hard when he told my mom that dad couldn’t play with him because he works all the time.  There will be some changes next fall continuing until the boys are old enough to understand why dad is working 7 days a week for 2 months.  I will be running less trips and spending a few more days with family.   That being said I have already been booking 2018 salmon trips so if you have dates you want to fish with me I would recommend getting them booked soon.  I will be blocking off dates on my calendar on http://www.fisherguiding.com as they are booked if you want to see what is available. This should be done by the end of the week.

If you were a guest of mine for the 2017 Salmon Season thank you for making it awesome and I hope to see you again in 2018.

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