Sunday, November 9, 2014

Zombies, Chrome and Browns

Zombies, Chromes and Browns
Halloween Weekend 2014

 When a friend asks me if I want to go fishing out of state and I can get the time off I’ll consider it. When he tells me the cost is fair, the drive is less than 4 hours from home and the fishing should be great for big brown trout, I’m in!

 Being that I’ve been cut back to 4 days a week I took a vacation day to coincide with my day off and weekend which gave me a 4 day vacation. We headed to New York from Erie Pa. thursday morning about 2:00 am expecting to arrive at Oak Orchard River NY around 5:45 am.

  Standing in a cold river knee to thigh deep in the pitch darkness waiting for the first signs of daylight plays with my sanity. The only reason to do such a thing is to claim a section so other fishermen don’t take it. We ended up arriving a little later than expected and there wasn’t enough space, between other fishermen, to fit in so we separated. Out of six, four of us waded up river through the darkness.
  Some may wonder what we do or what goes on in our brain as we stand there waiting for daybreak. Like I said it plays with my sanity.
  Small red and white lights glow out in the water from headlamps or along the shore line like evil eyes in the darkness. There is nothing to fear though as they are just other humans waiting in the darkness for the same reasoning. Time tics on as small conversations stir up, muffled by the distance that carries the chatter along the river. A flicker of a cigarette or cigar is seen as more car headlights appear moving down the dirt road that leads to the parking area along the water.
  As daylight appears you can hear rustling in coat pockets, vests and fishing packs. There’s splashing of folks wading from the bank to ’their’ spot in the river. Soon after you can hear the plops from heavy lead bell sinkers hitting the water surface being used to get the offerings down to the bottom of the river bed.
  My target, with my 8 weight fly rod, is the big brown trout that hug the bottom. Fishing for these, in the river, is like trying to find a hidden treasure in a dungeon. The biggest threats are the Zombies, the sharp toothed creature that inhibit the river cistern.
 What Zombies you might ask? The King Salmon that roam the waters. You find them dead along the banks and shallows rotting as their flesh peal away, some putrid white from decay. Occasionally you’ll see a ’floater’. One bloated drifting with the current, buggy eyed and helpless, and a sure sign of death. The ones to watch out for are the ’living’, unless you like spending lots of time battling these 26” to 40” and up ogres, disrupting other fishermen, along the river. These Zombies that still have enough strength to survive. Those that will take you into your backing by sure weight than bully strength. Sores upon their skin like open festered wounds. These sharp toothed creatures I try to avoid as they waver in the current, wallow in the shallows or swim in small groups causing havoc if caught. More than likely it will be by accident than by their hunger. Even this late in the season there are still odds you might bring in a decent one.

Gary with a big King Salmon
 If you’re in the right place at the right time you might hook into a river Steelhead or even a Coho Salmon. It will rip line off the reel faster and longer than any freshwater fish I have caught. They may torpedo out of the water at any time exposing their shiny chrome sides before splashing down through the surface water. They will give you a run for your money with incomparable maneuvers trying to free themselves from the hook.
Donny with a Coho Salmon

 Than there are the New York Brown trout, the treasures of the river. They come in many different sizes and colors. This time of the season they appear to be plentiful but hooking into one isn’t as easy as one might think. I don’t think they attack out of curiosity or playfulness like a rainbow or brook trout. I believe it’s more out of hunger. They come to the river, I’m told, for dropped eggs of the spawning Kings and Steelhead. If you just so happen to be in their area during their hunger spell and have the right food offering, be it natural or imitation, you should have some fun.

 I find they battle deep, avoiding the surface, with pure force and might than agility or speed. The bigger ones tend to alligator roll soon after they are caught sometimes causing tangled lines around their fins or even broken tippets. They battle and never willing to give up. When you think you have one tired out they’ll be looking for some logs, submerged branches or a sharp angled rock to brush against. If everything goes right, you outplay him, out maneuver him and outsmart him, you will relish the rewards!

 Randy with his Brown Trout

 Out of the four days we spent fishing the river Saturday was my best outing of number of fish. We had been fishing for at least a couple of hours in the early morning with only Donny hooking up a couple of times. I lit a short cigar and verbally told myself when I finish it I was going to move. It was about ¾ the way smoked when I got my first bump. After that it was hook up after hook up with challenging battles which ended with some nice fish to hand as well as some missed opportunities.

 Sunday, by the time we cleaned up the cottage and got to the river, was miserably crowded. People were lined up within rod lengths of each other. The 4 of us split up and searched for a spot to wet a line without breathing down some ones neck. The only claim to fame I can report was a nice steelhead that gave me a heck of a fight.

A great weekend was had by all.




  1. Holy cow! Those are some incredible fish! I wish I had a weekend like that!

    1. last year we were a couple of weeks early for the brown trout. this year we hit it at a good time.

  2. Those are some beautiful looking fish , I especially like the browns as I have a certain fondness for them (I might like the steelhead even more but I'll have to catch one to find out!).
    A nice little cottage , some good friends and a river full of large fish to play with....that's gotta be a little slice of heaven!!

    1. a slice of heaven it was!! the weather wasn't the best. notice the rain gear. when you're catching big fish the weather didn't matter much.