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Posts Tagged ‘Steelhead’

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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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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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 didn’t fish today but I did take a ride around the upper half of the river after having an amazing brunch at the Tailwater Lodge. There were not many people on the river but those who were did well. There is a good amount of snow in Altmar and it didn’t look like people were traveling far from the parking lots.

Fish were being caught on both egg sacs and beads. The drift boats were also getting fish on plugs. With more snow in the forecast walking won’t get any easier. This is an excellent time of year to hire a guide with a heated drift boat.

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