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Most years I hope for a wet spring. A wet spring normally extends the good fishing by a few weeks or more. However, this is getting ridiculous. 

The lake is flooding and people are losing lots of money. Businesses that habe been waiting all winter to start making money are under water. Even worse are the memories lost when a family camp or home is washed into the lake or flooded beyond repair. My heart goes out to these people.  

Enough with the doom and gloom. Let’s get to the good points of all this rain

  1. Trout were stocked in many places just before it started. This means those fish were able to spread out in the streams before the poachers got them.
  2. We will have good flows and cool water through June and maybe into July for the Tug Hill trout streams. Trout fishing on Tug Hill is going to be good this year. 
  3. Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River will extend well into mid May. 
  4. Back country bass ponds should remain full of water and fish we’ll through the entire summer this year. 

Now let’s all just hope the rain stops soon. While you are sitting at home hoping make sure your gear is ready. When the water receeds it’s going to be on in a big way. 

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I had a few free hours this afternoon so I decided to head to the DSR thinking it was the last day my season pass was good. I was wrong it had expired yesterday but summer afternoon rate is only $15 so I bought a pass and headed to the river.

The temperature was about 40 degrees and the wind was gusting somewhere in the 30 mph range. Perfect fishing weather, ok maybe not but I had time to fish so that’s what I was going to do. I chose a 9 foot light action spinning rod and a watermelon FLT spinner.

After fishing the wall hole and having a small trout get off the hook I decided to walk up to the Little Black Hole. I figured I would fish my way back down. Just below the Little Black I hooked a nice 2 pound smallie that I landed. Then in the Glide I connected with a beautiful dime bright steelhead. Both fish slammed the Finger Lakes Tackle spinner and both fought awesome on the light rod I was using.

I continued fishing my way back to the stairs where I stopped to write this report as the sun came back out.

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It is only March 5th and I have already been on Lake Ontario. This is the earliest I have been trolling the lake by about 10 days.  It was a great deal of work to break up the ice at the launch to get the boat in the water. Then we broke through the ice to get to the river and more ice on the river to get to the lake. Even though we only fished for about a hour and a half after it was all worth it when we landed a nice brown trout that weighed in at 10 pounds on the boga grip. The fish was brought home for dinner tomorrow.

Over the next week we are supposed to see some warmer weather which will take care of the ice and should kick the brown trout fishing along the shoreline into full gear.  Today there was very little colored up water due to the lack of run of at the moment. The warmer weather will change that as the remaining snow melts.  I am guessing next weekend will be an excellent time to be on the water.  I will not be on the water Saturday as I will be selling tackle at the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association flee market at the fire hall in Brewerton.  I am available for a trip on Sunday though.

The tough part of booking a drift boat trip trolling along the lake is it is very wind dependent.  If the wind is blowing hard we can’t fish the lake with a drift boat. However there is always a plan b and c.  We can go to Oswego and troll the harbor or go to the Salmon River or Black River and fish for steelhead.

If you are set on trolling the lake I recommend hiring a charter boat such as Irish Knots Sport fishing or High Adventure Sport fishing.  The benefit of going on a charter boat is that the wind is not as big of a factor. They are able to fish in a fair amount of wind and waves.  The cost will be more but you can also split that cost between 4 to 6 people instead of 2.

Spring brown trout fishing is a trolling trip most of the time. If you are fishing on a charter boat it will definitely be trolling. If you are on a drift boat most of the time we troll but if you wanted to cast that is an option. We could even try fly fishing for them. Trolling will produce the most fish though. I also have two trolling fly rods that can be deployed if you wanted to catch them on the fly.

With warmer weather right around the corner now is the time to think about booking a spring brown trout trip. I will be having my gallbladder removed on the 14th of March so I am not booking any trips until April but I have other guides that I work with that I will gladly set you up with if you wanted to go before April. If you would like to book a charter boat give Chris Yard (Irish Knots Sport Fishing) or Troy Creasy (High Adventure Sport Fishing)  a call and they will set you up for sure.

 

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I had the pleasure of guiding Tom and Joe today. I decided yesterday I was tired of playing the who can get on the river earliest game. Last Saturday I pulled in to the Launch at 3:50 am and was not the first boat in the river. This morning we launched the boat at 5:30. I knew we wouldn’t get the spot I wanted but I also knew we could still get a good spot. We anchored up in a spot I like, started the heater and waited for day light.

Once it became legal fishing time we started casting Finger Lakes Tackle spinners. On Tom’s third cast the spinner stopped dead then took off upstream in the mouth of a nice 6 pound steelhead. Tom did an excellent job fighting the fish and it wasn’t long before it was in the net. They had decided they wanted to keep one to eat so this one went into the box. It was a good thing it did because the rest of the day we had a lot of trouble getting them to the hoop. We did land a nice little brown trout later in the morning though.

Spinners and egg sacks took all the hits today. Talking to people as we made our way down the river it seemed that most people were having a slow day. There were a few drift boats that had a pretty good day though. I know Tom and Joe thought it was an excellent day, as did I. We battled snow, wind, and cold all day yet still managed to hook multiple fish and land a couple. That is a good day in my mind.

Tom and Joe also enjoyed the comfortable seats and the warmth of the heater. Multiple times they complimented the Pavati especially using the doors to get in and out of the boat. I am definitely looking forward to fishing out of it this winter.

Finger Lakes Tackle Spinners doing work

Finger Lakes Tackle Spinners doing work

Happy Customers

Brown Trout and Cigars

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I am a bit late posting but Saturday I set up and ran a 2 boat trip. The fishing wasn’t hot and heavy but we had some action and managed to get one into the net. The guys were very happy as they had struck out on their trip the day before. (It wasn’t with me) The one that came to the net smashed a Finger Lakes Tackle Blades of Steel spinner. We also took hits on beads. Overall it was a great day. The weather was good and we all had a good time.

Sunday I had the chance to be guided rather than be the guide. It was great. I set up the trip for my friend Steve’s bachelor party and we had a blast. We landed 4 steelhead and lost many others. A big thanks to Mike Kerstetter and James Kirkland for taking us down the river.

This is a short report as I am tired but I will say fishing has been a lot like it used to be. You have to work for them but they are there and if you put in a bit of effort you will be rewarded. Spinners and beads have been the hot baits the last couple weeks. Fly guys that know what they are doing are getting them too.

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I had the pleasure of fishing with Jeff and Brandon on Friday and Mark and Corey on Saturday. We had a great time both days however the fishing wasn’t that great. We fished Altmar to Pineville both days. There were a good number of fish in the top of the river we just had some trouble getting them going.

Friday we only managed to get one to the boat and the best part is we didn’t even hook the fish. We somehow managed to hook into the swivel at the end of a leader someone had broke off while fighting this fish. It was tough to get to into the net as I had to pull it in by hand at the end. We did hook a few others that came unglued.

Saturday we put two fish in the net and lost about 8 others. It probably would have been a much better day if a group of people hadn’t waded out into the river right down from us causing all the fish to scatter. We had anchored up in a good spot with a lot of fish around us and about an hour into day light the people walked right into where they should have been fishing. Many people seem to not understand that you don’t need to go chase these fish around. You can sit back and wait for them to come to you. They want to go upstream if you just let them.

Overall river report:
Fishing is still not great but it’s not bad. If you put some time in you will be rewarded. There are good numbers of salmon spread out through the entire river. The majority being in the upper sections. More steelhead and browns are being caught each day. Again they are throughout the river however more are being caught down low. Egg sacks and beads have been the best bet for the trout. Salmon have been caught on a variety of flies, egg sacks, and lures. Remember it is still single hooks only on the Salmon River for floating lures.
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Phil has fished with me the past 2 years. The first year was a great trip. We had 2 kings in the boat by 6:30 in the morning and put the 3rd in the boat about 10:30. Last year was not so great. Actually it was horrible. It rained the entire time we were on the river. To make it worse we never landed a fish. We only hooked one fish that turned out to be a very large brown trout that got off just inches from the net.
This year Phil and I debated where to fish when he came up. After looking at our options I told him I felt fishing the evening into the night in the river mouth would be our best bet. Turned out I was right. We started fishing about 4:30 pm and the boat was back on the trailer with a limit of King Salmon in the fish box by 8:30. Phil was obviously a very happy customer. Phil’s fish weighed in at 24,19,and 17 pounds. All very nice Salmon. The only problem he had was that he brought a cooler for Maryland fish to NY. As we say here we measure our fish in pounds not inches.

Phil should've brought a bigger cooler.

Phil should’ve brought a bigger cooler.

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Team Pavati. I love this boat and so did Phil.

Team Pavati. I love this boat and so did Phil.

Built in fish box. Team Pavati

Built in fish box.
Team Pavati

24 pounds of King Salmon. Gotta love "the truth" scale. Pavati has it all.

24 pounds of King Salmon. Gotta love “the truth” scale. Pavati has it all.

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Everyone is waiting for the run to turn on and be in full swing. I wish I could report that it was. However, there are fish in the river from top to bottom. More fish and more fishing pressure in the lower half of the river. If you are willing to work for your fish you will catch some. You will also enjoy a few less people on the river than normal for this time of year.

The trick is to get on the river early and pick a spot you believe the fish will be in that morning. If when day light comes the fish are there then game on. If they are not give it an hour or so to make sure they aren’t just down stream of you and headed your way. If they don’t show get in the truck and head to a new spot. Keep moving until you find them. Don’t necessarily follow the crowds. During my trip on Friday we moved to a section of the river that we had to ourselves and we found more than enough fish to keep us busy.

The other option is to hire a drift boat guide that will cover water until you find fish or take you out in mouth of the river at night. I will say as of lately the night fishing still hasn’t been what it should be. I have a feeling by this weekend the run will be on but if it isn’t follow these steps and you will find enough fish to keep you happy.

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I had the pleasure of taking Jimmy and his nephew Timmy fishing yesterday. We met at All Seasons Sports at 6 am and headed out hoping to catch some bass, rainbow trout, and walleye.

The fishing was slow and it seemed like every time we has the fish figured out the bite would stop. We did manage to put 17 fish in the boat by the end of our trip. The trout eluded us but we did get 2 walleye, a few smallmouth bass, a bluegill and a bunch of perch.

We were fishing from the drift boat and most of on fish came on crawler harnesses or Berkley Flicker Shads.

Salmon season is quickly approaching but if you want to get out and fish an area with the opportunity to catch multiple tasty species give me a call. We can even fly fish. Both casting and trolling flies.

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I am offering an afternoon trip fishing from 4 pm until dark for just $225 for 2 people.

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