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Posts Tagged ‘Oswego County fishing’

Last year my oldest son came home from school upset that his classmates had been off for take your kid to work day. We explained to him that kids aren’t allowed into the aluminum factory that my wife and I work in. Then it dawned on me that he could come to “fish work” as he calls my guide business. He was so excited that could come to fish work with me next year.

Well next year came and I had it all set up. Customers to take that understood the plan and how our trip could be cut short as Gunnar would be with us. Then the Corona virus shutdown school and guiding. This left me with one very disappointed 6 year old. It was time to come up with a new plan.

Plan B was to “guide” my father and wife for crappie and/or rainbow trout. Gunnar was very concerned that we would get in trouble for guiding when it was shut down. I told him mom and grandpa would just pay us at home where no one would see as he made sure they both knew they were going to have to pay him.

That morning Gunnar helped me get the gear and boat ready. Then he packed snacks while I went and bought subs for us for lunch. When we arrived at the reservoir he helped to launch the boat.

Unfortunately we tried about everything we had and couldn’t get anything going on the reservoir. We decided we would head back home and try fishing in the creek that separates our property from my parents. In the truck on the way home my dad gave Gunnar $4 which made his day.

Back at my parents house Gunnar wanted to ride his bike before fishing. I headed down to the creek with his fishing rod and a container of worms. As I made my way across the lawn I saw a fish splash on the surface. It was a good size steelhead. I called to Gunnar, who had just put on his bike helmet, telling him there was a steelhead in the creek. He came running down very excited to try to catch it. I explained we needed to be very careful not to spook it. I took the bobber off and hooked a whole night crawler on. I told him I would cast it for him becuase it needed to be a precise cast. Not sure if the spin cast rod would even make the cast I made a test cast in the yard.

We then snuck down the bank into position. After multiple bad casts I landed one the drifted perfectly to the fish. I was shocked to see it grab the worm. I set the hook as I handed the rod to Gunnar. The fish turned downstream splashing in the surface. Gunnar struggled to fight the fish as he laughed at the way it took line and splashed. After a couple minutes he managed to get it to the shoreline. I ran down the bank and grabbed it for him. He was ecstatic to have caught the biggest fish of his life and be the first person in our family to catch a steelhead from the creek.

He ran up to the house to get his mom so she could take our picture. After a quick picture we returned it to the water and watched it swim away.

We then returned the bobber to the line and proceeded to catch multiple shinners and horned dace. After all they were our target species when we headed to the creek. Gunnar later told me he had a great day at “fish work” and wanted to do it again next year. Given the circumstances take your kid to work day couldn’t have gone better.

Gunnar’s first steelhead and the rod he caught it on.
Gunnar even let Beckett catch a couple

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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 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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Yesterday I learned a lesson that I already knew.  When fishing a new water you never really know what you are going to catch or in my case break off. It could be a species you didn’t know exist in the new water or it could be a fish much larger that expected.

I left work and headed to check out some thin blue lines I had located on Google maps running through public land not far from my house. Living in the area for 29 years I had never been down this road but the Google Street view looked like one or more of these small streams might hold trout. I knew they would at least hold chubs and fall fish so there would be some action. The first stream was a dead end as it was very shallow and was only about 3 feet wide. The second stream looked much better.

I pulled to the side of the road where it was obvious others had parked before me. From the truck I could tell I was going to be making a few casts so I grabbed my St . Croix 8 foot 4 weight and my vest from the back of the truck. I climbed down onto the culvert pipe that dumped water into a nice wide pool. Watching for a couple minutes I noticed a few bugs coming off the water but nothing rising. I decided to tie on my go to size 12 elk hair caddis.

As my first cast landed on the water I purposely piled fly line in front of me allowing the fly to drift straight away from me drag free. The fly drifted the length of the pool untouched so I started to strip it back to me. As the fly started to move upstream what I believe to be a very large brown trout attacked the flie on the surface coming partially out of the water. Now is where the problem starts.

For the last 6 months I have been fishing steelhead with 10 to 13 foot float rods. When the float drops you reach for the sky fast and as hard as you can. I always tell clients you can’t set hard enough. You have a lot of line out and a long very flexible rod all of which you have to transfer the hook setting power though. I had not given thought to the fact that I needed to remind myself that was no longer the case.

I had thought about tying on a new leader or at least new tippet but I didn’t. After all I was only expecting to catch 6 to 8 inch chubs or if I was lucky brook trout of the same size. That leader from last summer would surely hold up to those little fish.

As the fish I estimate to be between 1 to 2 pounds attacked my fly I slammed that hook home. The rod bent just long enough to feel the weight of the fish as the tippet broke and my heart sank. All of my mistakes ran though my head immediately. I knew better. I retied and began casting again even though I knew that fish still had my fly stuck in it’s mouth and wasn’t going to bite again.

I did manage 2 fall fish in my next dozen or so casts. I kept trying to convince myself it was a big fall fish and wasn’t a big deal it broke off. The problem was and still is I saw too much of the fish. It was definitely a trout.

There was some good that came from this day. I now have a new spot to fish that is close enough to fish when  I only have a couple hours. I also will never forget when trying new water you never know what you may catch. Always prepare for the best or the worst depending on how you look at it.

If you haven’t already, change the line or leaders before you head out with gear you haven’t used in a while. 

Today i went to another stream I hadn’t been to in many years but I know is full of rainbow trout.  I was prepared this time for a big fish but unfortunately only found little ones.  That was okay though. In about an hour I landed 5 fish and missed or lost more.

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First off I would like to say good luck to all of those headed out for opening day tomorrow. As I write this I am sure on some streams there are people already lined up waiting for midnight to start casting.

Opening day is a holiday for many. For those that have to work they will most likely spend the day doing their job while secretly planning their attack for Saturday.  I am sure there are some that will even call in sick if they haven’t already.

I am going back to work tomorrow after being out for 3 weeks due to having my gallbladder removed. I know going back to work on opening day is crazy but I have guide trips Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so I needed to be back to work before I can be guiding.  Also there is the fact that my home water, the Salmon River, is open for trout fishing all year. We have been chasing giant rainbow trout, steelhead, all winter long and will continue to do so through April. In fact the bite just started to really get good while I have been out of work and unable to fish so I am really looking forward to this weekend. I do still have a couple dates open but my April is close to being fully booked.

In between working and guiding for steelhead this month I will be organizing my fly vest and tying more flies. Just waiting for May when I will hang up the steelhead gear and start chasing brookies, rainbows, and browns. I have already been following the line blue lines on my topo map and searching for new places to try. There is a beaver pond I have been meaning to hike to for two years now and this is going to be the year I finally do it. I have never been a still water fly fisherman but that is going to change this year.

I am also planning a trip to my favorite trout stream the West Branch of the Ausable river. I introduced my friend Jamie to it last year and he had a blast even though we were only able to fish one evening. This year we are planning a 4 day trip filled with trout and craft beer which happen to be two of my favorite things.

I am looking forward to seeing the Facebook and Instagram posts tomorrow as the mild winter has left most streams in prime condition for the opener.  Even the Tug Hill streams that normally have snow lined banks are in great shape as all the snow has already melted and run off.  Again good luck to everyone that is fishing tomorrow or this weekend.

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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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