Managing Expectations in a Changing Fishery

Well folks, the fall 2016 tributary season is behind us.  The same conditions emblematic of the last few seasons returned to us once again.  Low water, above average temperatures, and dwindling returns have become the norm.  The dynamics of our fishery have steelhead anglers at an impasse.  Learn to adapt to the present state of things, or stew over “how it used to be” and be constantly disappointed.  No one can make it rain, trigger a run, stock more fish, or make it get cooler earlier.  These are factors beyond our control.

Fish Hunting on the Delaware System

I am proud to announce that I have joined the staff at the West Branch Angler & Resort for the spring season.  West Branch features the premier location for lodging and dining in the area, as well as the most respected guide service.  Accommodations range from rooms in the lodge to one of thirty cabins.  A wonderful restaurant and bar is located on the 300 acre property as well.  Two miles of possibly the best stretch of the river are available for guests to wade.

Big Rains Refresh the Run

Well folks, better late than never.  A flood level rain event has finally fallen on the drought stricken Erie tributaries.  Fresh runs have occurred and many of the older fish have been redistributed, or have dropped out altogether.  Fishing has hit the reset button, just in time for cooler temperatures and winter weather.  This is what we have all waited for during what will be remembered as the warmest and driest fall to date.

Angling Tactics for Low Water Steelhead

steelhead size 22 midge

In our previous article, we discussed how to approach the problem of a dry fall from a geographical approach.  Often, the best tactic to overcome low water conditions is to simply target a bigger river.  This is not always practical, or even possible.  When forced to deal with the challenge that extreme low and clear water presents, the angler must adjust.

Warm, Dry Fall Tactics and Strategies

Early Fall on the Great Lakes tributaries has once again brought unseasonably warm temperatures and a complete absence of rain.  Around Erie, low and clear conditions are everywhere, and the fish seem to be nowhere.  Fishing has so far been limited to overcrowded creek mouths; and to the off and on, shot in the dark world of shore angling.  Better options abound to the traveling angler, and now is the time to go explore before the fishing in our own backyard becomes too good to leave.  Not everywhere within a half a day's drive is worth the trip, but here's a rundown on a few options.

Christmas Island Bonefish

We beleive that Christmas Island represents the finest bonefish destination in the world.  Situated 1,200 miles south of Hawaii, Christmas is safe and offers dependable conditions.  Today's bonefish numbers are reminiscent of early visits in the 80's, with 10-, 20-, even 30 fish days being reported by staff and clients. Giant trevally, barracuda, and other salt water species are also present.  Taylor Creek Fly Shop has been running trips twice a year since the 80's, and has two rare openings available for October 20-27.

Pennsylvania by Drift Boat or Raft

The opportunity to hop in a drift boat or a raft is something that every fly fisher should take advantage of any time it presents itself.  Pennsylvania has wonderful venues for said craft, yet one rarely sees watercraft of this variety.  The Clarion River, near Ridgway is an outstanding trout fishery that is best accessed by raft.  The Little Juniata River, near State College, offers fantastic hatches and perfect flows for a drift boat or raft under normal water conditions.

Sage Pro Staff

We are proud to announce that head guide and owner, Matt Ippoliti, has been selected to the 2015 Sage Pro Staff.  Sage has always been our rod and reel of choice for all of our fly fishing pursuits.  After years of loyalty and product feedback, uber-rep and world record fly caster Van Rollo, and head honcho Eric Johnson made the nomination.  With the support of the world's premier fly rod manufacturer we hope that our guide service will continue to grow.

Colorado Trout in the Roaring Fork Valley

How many places can boast having an incredible medium sized tailwater, a world class larger freestone, and big, brawling mix of both; all within thirty minutes of each other?   The Roaring Fork Valley, which spans from Aspen downstream to Glenwood Springs, represents a trout fisherman’s paradise, float or wade.  Small creeks to the massive Colorado River, technical Frying Pan River trout, plus year round fishing at its finest!

Early Michigan Summer Steelhead and Brown Trout

How about getting in a drift boat or a raft, and floating down what looks like a giant spring creek looking for pods of massive torpedoes on gravel bars?   Floating through stands of northern hardwoods too dense to push through on foot.  Pulling off to the side and stalking the sly beneficiaries of spawning salmon; giant marauding brown trout and the biggest steelhead that live in all of the Great Lakes.  Ignoring groups of 20-30 pound salmon, in search of the real prize…

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