Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fresh Steelhead and Chunky Browns (part 1)

Fresh Steelhead and Chunky Browns (Part 1)
 I got a call from my friend Donny, from up near Erie, that the snow melt brought in a fresh run of fish into the Lake Erie tributaries. I had the day off Wednesday and told him I’d be able to fish Wednesday and Thanksgiving morning. I met him at 7:30 am in the morning and we drove up to the creek. We parked the vehicles about a mile apart and fished down stream to one of the waiting vehicle. We had about 6 hours to fish.
  It was a chilly morning, maybe 35 degrees at tops. It wasn’t a summer picnic! The water was lightly cloudy so no fish were visible but the water was up for ideal conditions for those who like fishing in slightly stained water.
  Donny was simply amazing. He’s a guide on the Erie tribs as well as a charter captain out on the lake. It was fun watching him steelhead fish. He knows where the fish hold in the water conditions, high or low, and finds the color they prefer. He caught steelhead and a brown trout through the stretch of water, almost at every place he cast into.

 We met up with a young man named Mario whom we come across quite often. He hooked into quite a few also as we fished down towards my van.
I on the other hand?….
  I’m not sure if it’s the pressure fishing with others, stubbornness to maybe not use the same fly as the others are catching fish on hoping I got a better offering, or not staying in one spot long enough to adjust my weight, length of tippet out or indicator distance correctly not knowing the water level. I’m always afraid of breaking off going too deep and having to retie the frustrating tandem flies. I did hook up a number of times but didn’t bring any to hand. The leader snapped or the tippet broke, unraveled or the hook just came loose. I had some fish that felt heavy but never even got them to the surface to see them.
  We split up around 3:00 as Donny had to leave. Mario and I drove up creek and kind of went our own separate ways along the creek section we just fished.
There are many train tracks that run through Erie. Where they cross the tributaries they are built on cement block foundations which are arched tunnels over the creeks. These tunnels run long enough that the center gets fairly dark enough that a flashlight is handy to have if you need to retie a hook to the tippet. There is a narrow walkway on each side to fish off of. The tunnels got to be nicknamed tubes by the fishermen. The depth isn’t overly deep but one only knows. Fish hold in these tubes quite heavy at times depending on water conditions.
 I got to the tubes and the two fellows that were there earlier, when we passed by earlier, were gone. I tied on the flies I wanted to use before entering the tubes. I made my way almost half way through and cast out the tandem sucker spawns into the dark waters. I was able to see my indicator, with the light coming in from both sides of the tubes, but couldn’t tell the depth.
  Throughout the next couple of hours, fishing inside the tubes, I managed at least 8 hook ups only getting three to hand. If I would have had a net I would have gotten more. The walkway inside is above the water level so it’s awkward trying to get a hold of the squirming big fish and lift him to the walkway before the hook comes loose or the tippet hit’s the cement walkway, frays and breaks.
 Mario stopped back before he left and let me know he hooked up four times down creek but didn’t get any to hand. I fished another half hour before it was too difficult to see my indicator in the tubes. I cast out a few times down from the tubes without a strike so I called it quits and headed to the van.
Tomorrow was another day. I figured the water should clear up more though the depth should stay pretty much the same to make it perfect conditions for me.
Thanksgiving morning I was right…..
(To be continued)

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