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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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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about fishing and how I got started. I think back to the days spend rowing the wooden row boat in front of camp from sunrise until I heard the call that breakfast was ready or the days spent fishing for whatever would bite in the creek next to the house.  Those were simpler slower times.  I didn’t have a truck so I had to fish wherever I could walk or ride my bike to.

Most days were spent fishing the creek by the house.  These days I live on the other side of that same creek but rarely fish it. To tell the truth fishing the creek took a big down turn when I got my drivers license. There was no longer a reason to fish that little creek. I could drive to bigger “better” waters.  Never mind the fact that I had caught bass, pike, fall fish, chubs, suckers, bullhead, rockbass, and steelhead from that creek. Now I could drive and I was going to fish other places.

One place I spent a lot of time even before I could drive was Mexico Point. We fished from the break walls mostly. That was except the nights my friends and I camped out in the yard so we could sneak out and ride our bikes down there to fish at night. Yup we snuck out to go fishing and there wasn’t even any beer involved. I am not sure why we thought the fishing was going to be better at night. We never really caught much. I do remember catching a large eel one night though. Man that thing put up a fight.

Today I took a drive to Mexico Point to look for some perch but mostly to enjoy this warm afternoon before tomorrow’s cold gets here. I remembered spending hours out on the break wall casting lures into the lake and dropping curly tail grubs down in between the rocks. I am going to slow things down a bit this summer and go do exactly that a few days. We always caught fish back then so there is no reason why I wouldn’t now.

I am also going to spend more time on my creek. I know the fish are there.  I see them when I walk along it yet I am always rushing off to fish some place else.  I only have an hour and it’s a half hour drive but away I go. That is going to change this year. If I have a hour to fish I can spend 55 minutes of it on the creek rather than 30 some place else.  I am looking forward to teaching my oldest son to fish too. The creek is a perfect spot for kids.

I feel the world has become so fast pace that we don’t even escape it on our fishing adventures most of the time. I know I don’t at least. It’s always rush to the spot, fish later than I should, and rush back home.  People need to slow down and get back to where they started once in awhile. This summer that is exactly what I am going to do. Don’t get me wrong I have a whole list of new places to try and new people to fish with. However, at least a few days are going to be spent on the waters I fished as a kid and at least one day a week will be right on my own property.

Do yourself a favor. Slow down a few days this summer and relax fishing for sunfish, creek chubs, or whatever it was that got you started. 20170301_161036

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It was a cool fall morning when we launched the boats in the dark.  This was my first time rowing down the river in the dark and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to let me first ever customers know that though. I was lucky enough to have a veteran guide let me follow him down river.  We were the first ones in the river so we had our choice of spots.

At 5:15 am we dropped anchor at tail of the School House Pool. We only had about a hour and a half to sit in the dark and wait for legal fishing hours.  We hadn’t been sitting there 5 minutes when one of my guests cracked his first beer.  They had brought a 30 pack with them so this had me concerned.  I started rigging up the plug rods we would put out at daylight. Once the plug rods were set I made sure our bottom bouncing rods were ready then I drank my coffee while they drank their beer.

When I put out the plug rods at day light there were at least 6 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat and fish all around us. I was praying we would hit a few fish on the plugs and get them to the net first thing. That was not the case. We had 3 hard hits that doubled the rod over but never hooked up. At that time you couldn’t run bead chains unless you had a special lures permit and being new I didn’t have one.

Now it was plenty light out and we could see the fish constantly moving through the current around us. You could also now see at least 10 empty beer cans in the front of the boat. I pulled in the plug rods and hand them the bottom bouncers. I am not going to lie and tell you we were trying to get the fish to bite. We were trying to line them just like almost everyone else on the river at that time.  I explained to them how to cast just up stream of the fish so as not to spook them and then drift the line back into them. They kept casting right at the fish. I would tell them to cast ahead of the fish and they would cast way upstream and get snagged. I retied and they cast directly at the fish again. I was in trouble and I knew it. After about 2 hours of this and a few more beers the fish were gone and it was time to pull anchor.

When we dropped anchor again there were about 50 in the current right along side the boat. I though we were safe because it was a bit deeper water so they could get away with casting a little too far upstream. They were having trouble seeing the fish so their casts were even farther off target. It seemed no matter what I told them they did the opposite. It wasn’t long before another guide came through saw the fish and purposely splashed his oars through the hole sending them fleeing. I was not happy and never forgot this moment. I didn’t say a word as I was the new guy on the river and I had customers with me. I let them cast for a few more minutes while I regrouped and made a plan. I knew something had to change if I was going to get these guys at least one fish.

We made a big move down stream where I could pull plugs in some deeper water. I knew this was our only chance as they were never going to get one casting.  We fished through the first hole with out a strike. There were a few shots from a liquor bottle taken though. As I was setting rods in the second hole I noticed there were at least 20 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat. I could tell the guys were far from sober. The second hole was money or at least it should have been. I watched the right rod double over and saw the fish thrashing on the surface. As I yelled “right rod right rod right rod” I rowed upstream as hard as I could to keep the line tight. Of course both guys tried to grab the left rod. By the time they got to the right rod the fish got slack line and came off.

There was only one spot left to try plugging before the boat launch. It was now or never and I was far from optimistic. I put the lures out again and started working them in the current. We were almost to the tail of the pool when the middle rod slammed down into the bow of the boat. I pulled hard on the oars and yelled “middle rod get it and reel”. I told them in the beginning you don’t have to set the hook, the fish will do it for you, just keep the line tight.  When he grabbed the rod out of the holder not only did he set the hook like Bill Dance but he dropped the rod right back down giving the fish the slack it needed. The fish was gone and so was all hope of saving the day.

Back at the lodge they told a bit different story to the owner who they had booked the trip through. They were not happy to pay all that money and not catch a fish. I was given the chance to tell my side  of the story when I stopped in later that evening. I learned a lot in that first trip. First and foremost I needed a special lure permit. Second there would be a limit on how much alcohol was allowed on my boat from there on out. This was when I decided if someone is just looking to catch a buzz they can hire someone else.

 

 

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It was how it all started I think. I’m not sure if I actually went fishing or not but from what I can remember it was the start of this crazy obsession. I know it sounds crazy that I don’t know if I went fishing but claim it was the day I got hooked on fishing. 

I do know I was no older than 5 years old. At the age of 5 my parents bought the house I lived in most of my childhood and we hadn’t moved yet.  That means it was possibly the summer I turned five but no later. 

It was a beautiful summer day some time in the morning or maybe it was afternoon. It was 30 years ago cut me some slack. My grandfather, Papa, had pulled up infront of the house with his boat in tow. The boat was a beautiful white and blue Conroy cuddy cabin. At 19 foot it was huge to a young child. Realistically it was on the smaller side for fishing Lake Ontario but that didn’t matter to me. 

Unfortunately I don’t really know if I went fishing that summer day. For all I know he might have picked my dad up and I might have stayed home. I highly doubt that. I wish I remembered going out on the water. Although it doesn’t matter because I will always remember that day as the day it all started. I blame and thank Papa for causing my fishing obsession. 

I spent many days on the water throughout my childhood on that boat most of them with Papa and as I got older many of them with friends. I will always cherish that time. Last year I was given the chance to buy that very boat and there was no way I was going to say no. It needs some cleaning and tuning but next summer I will be taking my wife and sons out on Lake Ontario and I can’t wait. Of course Papa will be invited on the first trip out. 

I have to say a big thank you to Papa for my fishing addiction. With out it who knows what I would have done. I might have become addicted to something else and ruined my life. I might have invested the 100’s of thousands of dollars in have spent on fishing and been rich.  What would I do with all that money? There is no way it could make me as happy as fishing and guiding does. My fishing addiction has made me rich in other ways…better ways. 

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I spent the majority of the day inside watching it rain. I did take the time to spool up a reel with new 10 weight line and mount it on a 10 weight rod I had forgotten I bought last fall.

That might be the first sign of a problem. I was thinking about buying a 10 weight for fishing bass in heavy cover and for pike fishing. As I was shopping around trying to figure out if I could spend the money at the moment for something of decent quality I realized there was a fly rod in my garage I bought last year. I went out to take a look at it and sure enough it was a 9/10 weight. I bought it from a snagger that needed money so it had a 7/8 weight reel that was spooled up with monofilament.

I started looking for a reel on ebay hoping to maybe find one spooled with line already. Then it clicked. I have a 2 handed 5 weight rod and reel in the garage that I don’t use and the reel is too big. Again there might be signs of a problem developing here but I am just going to ignore that.

So today I swapped reels put the 10 weight line on the larger reel and spooled the other with a brand new switch line that I had forgotten about in my office. Perfect 2 fly rods all ready to go and both new to me in one way or another.

It was still raining when I sent my friend Jamie a text asking if he wanted to go fishing in the rain. I knew he would say yes. He is always up for fishing in the worst weather at the worst time of day.

I told him where to meet me and put the rods in the truck. I was excited to try out this 10 weight and hoped to find larger bass in a pond I just started fishing last week. My first trip to the pond I only had small poppers and a 5 weight. Today I had bigger flies and a heavier rod.

It was still raining as we strung up the rods. I gave Jamie the 5 weight with a smaller foam bug that I knew would catch something. As I tied on a fly that was given to me by a fellow guide and friend I pointed out how, well let’s just say not pretty it was. We had a little laugh but I said what my friend always says “It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to have the right shape and

size.

” In the case of top water bass flies the right movement is also very important.

It only took two casts to prove that statement true. I soon was releasing a Largemouth. I didn’t end up landing any big ones but I did see one that was over 2 pounds caught by a guy with a spinning rod. That gave me more hope that there may be some true lunkers in this water. After only fishing a short time I caught 3 bass and Jamie caught 2 crappie. We missed a bunch more strikes and will be back there with a boat in the near future.

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of guiding Cherie, her son Ben, and his friend Luke. The boys are both 11 years old. They fished with me back in the fall for salmon and the boys worked together to land the one salmon we managed to hook that night.  This time they wanted to catch lots of fish even if they weren’t all that big.

I took them to one of my favorite spots to go just catch fish. I knew they wanted to take fish home for dinner so I hoped we would get into some Crappie and Rock bass which we did. I also knew that the smallies would keep them very busy.

Keeping kids busy is the most important part of taking them fishing. If kids get bored they won’t stay interested in fishing for long.  Don’t take young kids to a body of water that doesn’t hold a lot of fish or holds fish that are difficult to to catch. Find some place that holds panfish that can be caught with a worm or minnow and a bobber.

I chose minnows and bobbers for our trip. I also had night crawlers and wax worms just in case. As an added bonus my minnows were a split of fat heads and rosy reds. The red/orange minnows not only caught fish but the boys thought they were really cool.

Though out the afternoon we landed 7 crappie, 4 rock bass, a big blue gill, and over 20 smallmouth bass. We kept the crappie, the 2 bigger rock bass and the blue gill which provided them a delicious dinner the next night.  This is another way to get kids interested and keep them interested in fishing. If they like to eat fish take them fishing for a species they can keep and eat. Catch and release can come later in life for them.  Keeping what they catch allows them to show off more than just a picture and it is rewarded for them to eat fish they caught.

If you notice the kids getting bored or restless it may be time to switch it up. Skip rocks, look for frogs, or even call it a day. I can’t stress enough you must pay attention to how they are acting and if it is time to call it a day call it a day. Don’t keep them out there when they don’t want to be there just because you aren’t ready to go home.

If you want to take your kid fishing but don’t know where to start or have the equipment give me a call. I offer discounts for take a kid fishing trips. I will provide all the gear and bait. I have the patience to help teach how to cast and to untangle lines all day if needed. I am willing to bet your kid will not be the worst fisherman that has been on my boat. I have a few good spots weather your want fish to take home for dinner or just want to catch and release a lot of fish. We will have a good time and your kid or kids will go home with stories to tell all their friends.

 

 

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