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Wbranch has attached these 7 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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Nicely colored up hen, probably has been in the creek a few weeks. Very strong fish, jumped repeatedly and almost put me in the backing.
Nicely colored up hen, probably has been in the creek a few weeks. Very strong fish, jumped repeatedly and almost put me in the backing.
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An example of a very bright and fresh fish.  May have come up from the lake the day before.
An example of a very bright and fresh fish. May have come up from the lake the day before.
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Lovely pool with great green water, deep slots, and many fish.  We caught many fish from this pool.
Lovely pool with great green water, deep slots, and many fish. We caught many fish from this pool.
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You can see the deeper colored areas - that is where the steelhead like to lie - I have no idea why I look like such a doofus in this picture.
You can see the deeper colored areas - that is where the steelhead like to lie - I have no idea why I look like such a doofus in this picture.
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Exact same piece of water as the prior fish except this one is a minnow.
Exact same piece of water as the prior fish except this one is a minnow.
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Great shot of a steelhead throwing water and flicking it's tail!
Great shot of a steelhead throwing water and flicking it's tail!
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Nicely colored up cheeks on this buck.  I'll be going back in about a week.
Nicely colored up cheeks on this buck. I'll be going back in about a week.

Report at a Glance

General RegionErie County
Specific LocationGirard, PA
Time of Day8:00 - noon & 1:00 - 5:00
Fish CaughtMostly fresh fish with a couple colored fish
Conditions & HatchesGood flow and green water. Cold in the mornings warming by mid day. Sucker spawn and various other egg pattern emergences HeHe.

Details and Discussion

WbranchNovember 13th, 2013, 6:15 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
Big fish can bring big crowds but if you are willing to walk and know your way around Elk Creek you will still catch plenty of chrome with very little competition.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123November 13th, 2013, 7:37 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2358
Very nice Matt!!! Some big fat fish you have there. Wish I had steelhead waters as good for fly fishing around here - they hide in deep (14-20 feet deep!) pools in the Au Sable and are a pain to try to reach with a fly rod. I'm not one to enjoy throwing a lot of weight around, no, not much of a chuck-and-ducker. And the good spots generally get pretty crowded as well...But those waters look shallow enough to reach with regular fly tackle.

Flies? Rigging? Technique?

Again, very nice fish there.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
JOHNWNovember 13th, 2013, 9:24 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Very nice trip report Matt!
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
OldredbarnNovember 13th, 2013, 11:22 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
Sucker spawn and various other egg pattern emergences HeHe.


You're a hoot, old man! :)

Beautiful fish Matt.

Spence

Flies? Rigging? Technique?


Jonathon,

Flies? Matt told us egg patterns. Rigging? Now his leader etc appears pretty straight forward for Erie steelheaders, but you should be asking for a review on that Gatti rod! Made in Italy, but probably wrapped at home...:)

I think I'm pretty sure that we could walk Matt down to the Au Sable there below Foote Damn and not change anything in terms of his tackle and he would catch fish.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123November 13th, 2013, 11:57 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2358
Sure, Spence, but Matt would be encountering those crowds that he (and I) don't like...besides the fact, that when there are crowds, not many people catch fish...been there, done that!

I tried many years ago to fish for steelhead on the Rifle River, back in my Skidway Lake days (yes, that's a real town, though it doesn't even have it's own Post office). One day I was fishing what looked like a nice hole, and then from the woods emerge no fewer than 8, count 'em, EIGHT guys, in a line, walking right on the opposite bank, right over the hole..."Gee, I don't think I'm going to catch anything...and neither will any of those guys either!!!"

Besides the fact that, in my humble opinion, standing out in cold, wet weather casting like a zombie SUCKS...

I'm very happy for Matt that he can find a nice quiet spot with waters he can easily fish with a fly rod. Not really available to me...

Jonathon

P.S. I've actually been spending time at the range, proving I can kill a deer at 50 yards with four different rifles, even though I have no desire to...well, it's good to know you can if you have to. And fun! Pretty soon it will be time to get out the ice fishing gear and untangle the tip-ups...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Al514November 14th, 2013, 8:29 am
Central New York

Posts: 142
Nice looking fish, Matt!
WbranchNovember 14th, 2013, 11:00 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
Flies? Matt told us egg patterns. Rigging? Now his leader etc appears pretty straight forward for Erie steelheaders, but you should be asking for a review on that Gatti rod! Made in Italy, but probably wrapped at home...:)


I typically use the same leader concept all season; Any kind of good 7 1/2' 2X tapered leader with at least a .022" butt but I prefer .025". Then on the end of leader I attach a SPRO #10 micro barrel swivel with a clinch knot. I leave the tag end of the 3X about 2" - 3" long so I can apply my split shot to the tag. If you get hung up on the BB's they usually just slip off the tag end. Then on the other end of the swivel I add a piece of either 4X or 5X fluorocarbon about 3' long. I only use the 5X if I can see the fish. Then I tie my fly on and add another piece of tippet to the bend of the first fly so I can fish two flies. It is legal in PA but not in NY.

That particular Gatti is a factory rod 9' #7 but I often use a 9' #6 3 pc that I built. I love the Gatti rods and have somewhat over a dozen of them. Not really sure how many I have.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnNovember 14th, 2013, 1:22 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
Great info Matt...What's the red material near your butt section?

What do you think about this Spey etc craze? Folks seem to be going for longer heavier rods. You are using standard 6/7 wt rods at a pretty regular length...9'.

Is it fair to say then that this is your short-line nymphing rig, and it's really not "chuck-n-duck" in the way Jonathon seems to imply? It's not the "slinky" system used here in MI for salmon etc. You just add/remove shot probably based on water speed/depth and temp.

Is that a "thing-a-ma-bobber" or whatever its called? What fomula do you use for where you place that and how does it all cast?

Questions, questions, questions! :) Oh! What's that line?

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Kschaefer3November 14th, 2013, 2:05 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Great fish, Matt! Some of those are fatties.
EntomanNovember 14th, 2013, 4:42 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Nice, Matt!!

Jonathon - After all your posts on this topic over the years, we get it - steelhead angling isn't for you. I often wish more followed your lead!:)

I'm not one to enjoy throwing a lot of weight around, no, not much of a chuck-and-ducker.

It seems to me that throwing a large, bead-eyed KBF on a 3 wt rig is the essence of "chuck & duck." In any event, certainly no less than throwing even heavier weighted rigs with proper tackle.

Besides the fact that, in my humble opinion, standing out in cold, wet weather casting like a zombie SUCKS...

Well, for others being stuck in the confining space of a tiny floating coffin sweating in the hot sun while casting like a zombie for tiny sunfish SUCKS, too. It's all a matter of perspective (driven by interest), I guess.

Whatever a person's angling persuasion, casting like a zombie isn't part of any properly practiced method I'm aware of. It should go without having to say that results like Matt's and many others here come only from the practice and use of polished skills in concert with a high level of concentration. In other words, they are good anglers. Excellence can't be achieved casually.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Kschaefer3November 14th, 2013, 5:24 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Very nicely put, Kurt. From the looks of your avatar, you do enjoy standing in the cold, wet weather. It seems you also enjoying reaping the rewards :)

Jonathon - The particular creek Matt fishes is incredibly well known and very pressured. I would bet he spent considerable time finding this location where there are fish and few anglers. I would also bet he has to put in some serious walking time to get there. I have trouble believing you couldn't find this in your area, given the inclination to look.

I think I'm pretty sure that we could walk Matt down to the Au Sable there below Foote Damn and not change anything in terms of his tackle and he would catch fish.

Or just about anywhere for that matter, but to your point, Matt is far from an average angler.
WbranchNovember 14th, 2013, 6:18 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
Spence,

It's a good thing I like you otherwise I'd be telling you to "go figure it out for yourself!

What's the red material near your butt section? It is 30# Amnesia memory free shooting line. My dial venier is in the garage but I'd guess it is about .025" diameter. I use it as an indicator when I high stick and don't use the float.

What do you think about this Spey etc craze? Folks seem to be going for longer heavier rods. You are using standard 6/7wt rods at a pretty regular length...9'. Each to his own devices! I personally have no interest in two handed spey rods or spey flies. But if I fished bigger water like the Salmon River in NY I would be swinging more than nymphing and then I might be trying those flies. I have hundreds of traditional hair wing Western style steelhead flies that are just sitting in my tackle bookcase. The streams I fish don't really have the kind of water where swinging is effevtive. I do though have a 10' 6" switch rod that I use for high stick nymphing. I often use the aft grip for leverage to punch out a 40' roll cast. It weighs 5.25 ounces but with my Lamson Litespeed #2 I can fish it pretty much all day without getting tired.

Is it fair to say then that this is your short-line nymphing rig, and it's really not "chuck-n-duck" in the way Jonathon seems to imply? Yes. It's not the "slinky" system used here in MI for salmon etc. You just add/remove shot probably based on water speed/depth and temp. Yes again. I use to use slinky's and made my own in various lengths and burned a hole in one end and put a snap swivel through the hole. Then when I wanted to use it I tied my tag end of the leader to the barrel swivel.

Is that a "thing-a-ma-bobber" or whatever its called? What fomula do you use for where you place that and how does it all cast? Yes, it is a Thing-a-ma-bobber. They come in 4 sizes; 1/2", 3/4", 1", & 1 1/4". I use all sizes except the largest. I use the 1/2" for little #16 nymphs for suspended fish.

The distance of the float from the fly is dependent on the depth of the water and the speed of the current.

I don't really like to use an indicator and I surely don't need one to detect a strike. But since the bottom of these creeks is predominately lots of loose shale one must keep their fly a couple of inches off of the bottom.
You can easily loose one, or more, dozen flies a day if you fish without a float


Questions, questions, questions! :) Oh! What's that line? The line is a cheap WF #7 that I bought on Ebay. It is made in Canada and is called "Aquanova". The line cost around $15.00. I also have a WF #7 sink tip that I use for my streamer work and trout fishing.

I'll take you out and put you over at least a dozen steelhead.

BTW I had a great year on my home river for larger trout on streamers. I kept track of my fish this season and put 65 browns in the net from 16" - 21". Most of the fish were in the 18" - 20" class. I might have posted some pictures already. I'll see if I can find them in the archives. If they aren't there I'll post some up.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRobertsNovember 14th, 2013, 6:54 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Great thread, everyone. Except Jonathon -thhhhhhppppppp! :)> :)
WbranchNovember 14th, 2013, 7:05 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
Jonathan wrote;

"Besides the fact that, in my humble opinion, standing out in cold, wet weather casting like a zombie SUCKS..."

You sir have offended me! I don't want to hear your humble opinion if it is so derogatory. Firstly it wasn't very cold at all and by noon it was 55 degrees and the next day it hit 61 and I had to take off some garments. Secondly there was not a drop of rain in all three days. I plan my trips after a rain event and leave from home so I arrive on falling high water with no rain in the near future. Thirdly I take serious umbrage about your "casting like a zombie SUCKS" remark. I have been told by more than a few well respected fly fishers that I have a very fluid casting stroke.

I am probably going to have to take a sedative tonight so I can forget how you hurt my feelings!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanNovember 14th, 2013, 7:06 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Matt -

It's funny but largely because of geography you and I are mirror images. You've got hundreds of swinging flies on the shelf collecting dust and I have hundreds of steelhead nymph and egg/roe patterns doing the same. I haven't used them or single handed rods for steelies in more than 10 yrs.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchNovember 14th, 2013, 7:42 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
Kurt,

PM me your address & I'll send a few of my hairwing swinging flies. I'd enjoy giving them to someone who knows how to fish them.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnNovember 14th, 2013, 10:25 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
It's a good thing I like you otherwise I'd be telling you to "go figure it out for yourself!


Well thank you sir! If I knew you were going to spill all these beans I wouldn't of ordered that book from that PA Boy Nagy...:) John W told me to pick it up...

I hate to say this but I don't know how many years have passed since you sent me the pictures of your cabin and invited me up...Maybe in this new year we'll have to straightened that out...I just missed you last time when I was in PA in April hanging with that rag-tag gang of Antonio's! :)

I once had a guide friend who would always hassle me when I tried to pry info out of him. He said basically what you did, "Spence. Get off your lazy ass and do some of your own exploring!"

Thanks!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchNovember 14th, 2013, 10:42 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
I'm not sure what my 2014 spring is going to be. I have problems with my back that will require surgery to repair but at this time I have an issue with my left hip that needs immediate attention and I might wind up getting a hip replacement which will likely sideline me for a couple of months. So the sooner I get it done the sooner I can start to recuperate. This old body might take a while longer than you whippersnappers.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123November 14th, 2013, 10:52 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2358
Matt, I do humbly apologize to you, and in fact, I wasn't really referring to you! I was referring to my own steelhead experiences - yes, I have tried it plenty of times. That's been my OWN experience and what I've also seen (and heard) from other anglers. I am very sorry to have offended you, please rest assured that it was not intentional or aimed at you in any way. I would NEVER accuse someone as accomplished as YOU of "casting like a zombie", but to me that seems to be much of what steelheading is, again note based on my OWN experiences. Your results may (and most obviously do) differ! A few on here have even acknowledged that this is part of the experience!

Kurt: first of all, the vast majority of my kayak fly fishing is for TROUT. Other catches are incidental because they occur in the same waters (and perch are killed purposely to eliminate competition with brookies at [REDACTED] Pond). And I rarely chase sunfish with it, especially "tiny" ones! (I much prefer the hand-sized ones, and I can catch them from shore in the spring...)

Second, a bead-chained #10 KBF/Comet pattern doesn't weigh all that much and I can easily throw it on my 3-weight as far as I generally need and want to. Dumbbells and a bigger hook? Then I do have to get out the 5-weight to keep from getting stung in the back and it still happens anyway. More weight than that and I just don't find it very much fun no matter what rod I'm using. And it IS supposed to be fun, right guys?

It's just MY HUMBLE OPINION, folks, and I do believe I already stated that. Just an opinion, to each their own, I'm pretty much a warm-weather fly rodder.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnNovember 14th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
Matt...I had back issues pretty bad for 5-7 years. Degenerative disc L4-L5 and had surgeries in 2005 and again in 2007...I'm pulling for you buddy. I wish that I had stopped screwing around and had something done sooner...Since they fused it in Feb of 2007 I've been back in the game. Rusty Gates once told me after it was all over that he couldn't understand how I got out of bed let alone fish as much as I tried to do when it was screwed up. I was bent to the left about 30 degrees and couldn't lean over my tying table without serious pain...My buddy tied me flies for my trip to Montana in 2004...I did a horse back trip to the Third Meadow on Slough Creek and lied to the outfitters on just about everything, health, horseback experience, etc...About a half a year after that trip I was on the table.

When the topic of bears came up in camp I would tell the others not to worry..."You all can pretty much out run me." That from a guy that once played hockey 3-4 times a week and skated with the nephews on the weekend...

When my first doctor said that he thought I should give up hockey and fly fishing I told him to just shoot me now! Put me out of my misery!
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
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