So it began a few weeks back. I made an early season jaunt up to the Erie Tribs as some chrome had pushed up despite water still being low. If I ever needed a reminder as to why I hate fishing for trout/steelhead in PA this was it. I got up to the creek before first light. By the time the sun started to come up, there were close to 40 guys stacked up in 50 yards of creek. It looked a bit like…. well exactly like this….
At one point, I hooked into a small buck and brought him to hand. The water was low and clear and not many fish were being caught. Next thing I know a guy decked out head to to camo chucks a bobber right in front of me. (literally) I gave him a sideways dirty look. 30 seconds later, he does it again. I turn to him and let him know that I understood that the creek was crowded but that he still needed to give a guy his fishing space within reason. He grins at me and reveals that he did not have a single tooth in his head… not a one. So a minute later… PLUNK…. the bobber splashes right in front of me as I am about to lay my line down. I had had it. I turn to the toothless moron and tell him that if he does it again I am going to cut his line. He walked away looking at me like I was some kind of jerk, which at that point I was but every man has his breaking point and that was mine.
My fly fishing time is my sanctuary and is supposed to be relaxing and this was anything but. In stark contrast was an evening I was able to spend on the Milwaukee River. The run of Kings was well underway and the weather was pretty nasty…. cold… spitting rain… in other words, PERFECT! Well perfect for me because it virtually assured a relatively uncrowded river. To my surprise I had it basically to myself. I was working a pod of Kings in a riffle and two guys come marching down the river and I am thinking “here we go again”. Much to my surprise they stop above me and say, “Hey, do you mind if we work down river from you about 40 yards?” It was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me on a river. Stream courtesy is not dead! Comatose maybe but not dead! So thanks guys for taking a pic for me as well as being a couple all around good guys on the water.
The super cool part of the day was catching my first salmon on a swung fly. I bought my first switch rod this year and am slowly learning the two handed art. Still a Padawan and far from a Jedi but I love the art of it and have even started to bring some of it into my single handed strategies. I snagged quite a few fish and lost a few others but I finally got one to eat and managed to bring it to hand. It was probably the smallest one of the bunch but I could care less…. If you have never tangled with a salmon, I highly recommend it. Damn strong fish to say the least!
As the evening wore on, the rains started to come down in buckets but I was in a zone. By the time I actually noticed anything the river was a blown out mess and the only thing that brought me back to reality was the good sized log that smacked my upstream hip as it sped down stream. It was time to go and I could feel my feet getting pushed down stream as I attempted to make my way towards shallow water. Luckily that is about as interesting as the story got but it was a reminder to pay attention to river conditions especially when you are on waters unfamiliar to you and wading by yourself.
A big thank you to any of you that have stream courtesy, fish courtesy, and love chasing fish with the long rod! Hopefully I will see one or two of you on those Erie tribs once the weather turns super nasty and the temps drop below freezing! 🙂
So I found myself recently on The Grand River in Ohio. It was the first time I had ever fished it and after working a run that produced nothing I made my way to the car searching for answers. It was still pretty early for much in the way of Chrome to be in but it was worth having a go.
As I walked up past the bank to my car there was a guy observing the run and he looked like he knew what he was up to so I asked…. “Hey, I’m not from around here, would you be willing to help a guy out?” Now most would shrug and maybe point you to the one or two areas that I had already fished which were too obvious not to. As luck would have it I was asking the question to Nate Miller who is a guide at Chagrin River Outfitters. Now mind you, I had not hired Nate for the day, nor had we ever met yet he was helpful, informative and helped me try and salvage my evening with a few creative spots to go fish. If you happen to be in the Ohio/PA area and are looking for a guy to help you get on some chrome, look up Nate Miller over at www.chagrinriveroutfitters.com and thanks again Nate for helping out a newbie on The Grand!