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> > Steelhead October 2018

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Report at a Glance

General RegionSteelhead Alley aka NE PA
Specific LocationNo spot burning
Time of Day7:00 a.m. to noon
Fish CaughtSteelhead
Conditions & HatchesChautauqua Creek in Westfield, NY was stained but fishable. Some PA creeks were low and clear while others had better flows. Rained pretty much all day Monday the 15th.

Details and Discussion

WbranchOctober 27th, 2018, 4:38 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2381
Good fishing if you knew where to go and knew what to use. I had good success using Emerald shiner patterns fished on the swing and under an indicator. Both methods worked. Tight line strikes were awesome while strikes under the indicator were more subtle. Many break offs when fish ran line and the tippet came in contact with the loose shale bottoms.

Going back Tuesday for 3 - 4 days.

New Trip - went up for 4 days but got rained out first two days. Good fishing Tuesday and half day Wednesday. Hooked 16 and landed 9.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123October 27th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
Nice work Matt! Some colorful fish there too, beautiful. Those emerald shiners really work for you! They (or some other kind of minnow) must be a major food item for the steelies in this situation. Yes, I bet the swinging strikes were just a jolt and a half! I had just a 14" brown do that to me once that I thought was a steelhead - had seen a few while wading upstream and he hit that hard! - so I can't imagine what it feels like when one of those in your pics connects. OUCH! Any just snap it off on the strike?

Again, well done. Some of those are running around here but I haven't been able to convince myself to go out in the crappy weather to try for them...so thanks for the story, I can now live vicariously through you.

;oD

Jonathon

P.S. From what I can see in the background, it looks like you have the absolute killer spot - shallow bedrock rapids, not requiring enormous amounts of lead to dredge the bottom with, which makes casting all the more pleasant. Unweighted streamers, too?
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
AdirmanOctober 28th, 2018, 2:25 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 460
Nice Matt!! So what did you use for an indicator ?
MartinlfOctober 29th, 2018, 5:06 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2835
Nice Matt!!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PartsmanOctober 30th, 2018, 4:54 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 180
Well done Matt!
WbranchNovember 1st, 2018, 8:36 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2381
So what did you use for an indicator ?


I prefer the relatively new "Air Lock" style indicator. It comes in 3/4" and 1" diameters. There is a little threaded stud with a slit in it. You remove the threaded nut, place the leader into the slit, reattach the threaded nut and that is all there is to it. It will not slide on the leader and at the end of the day the leader is as perfect as when you first put it on. The Thingamabobbers totally destroyed a tapered leader and every time you moved it up, or down, you were left with a curly que.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
AdirmanNovember 2nd, 2018, 2:23 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 460
Nice, do you know how high up you set it roughly ?
WbranchNovember 2nd, 2018, 2:30 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2381
do you know how high up you set it roughly ?


There are just too many variables to discuss. Water level, velocity, turbidity and the lack thereof, Are the fish suspended or hunkering down on the bottom? Typically I go one to one and a half the depth of the water. Sometimes I will have the indicator 6' - 7' above the flies. I use an indicator pretty much all the time I am nymphing. If you don't use an indicator the chance of getting hung up increases exponentially and also you are much more likely to foul hook a steelhead if there are good numbers in the stream.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123November 3rd, 2018, 10:27 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
Hey, you swapped out the fish pics! How many of those damned things have you caught, Matt? The first two were very pink-purple on the flanks and cheeks, these fish look much fresher. Again, you have the magic touch.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchNovember 3rd, 2018, 2:12 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2381
Hi Jon,

How many of those damned things have you caught, Matt?



Yep, I made another trip and posted up some new fish. How many? I hooked 16 and landed 9. They are hard to hang on to. Lots of reasons why they get unhooked. Didn't strike hard enough to have the little #10 hook penetrate. One jump and they are gone. Lots of shale in the streams and when they are running line all it takes is for that 4X to just touch a sharp piece of shale and they are gone. I rarely break them off, 4X fluorocarbon is at least 6# break strength. I use a 10' #7 and while it isn't a soft rod the added one foot of length (compared to a 9' rod) gives me a little more leeway to fight, and not breakoff, bigger fish.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123November 3rd, 2018, 6:12 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2304
From what I've heard, if you are landing >50% of the steelhead you are hooking, you are doing very well. I've seen them do the "one and done" jump and say goodbye to the hapless fisherman. I clearly remember a time at the Cheboygan (MI) dam when I saw a silvery fish come flying up in front of some guy, never to be seen again. Yep, that WAS a steelhead...

What sort of water depths are you working with there? And how long is your leader? Again, it looks like your emerald shiner patterns are unweighted, so do you just ad splits to the leader?

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
AdirmanNovember 4th, 2018, 2:40 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 460
I hear you with the variables Matt, 6-7’ ft placement is about what I expected you to say . Do you prefer a particular colored Indy or doesn’t seem to matter? Also, you’re using a streamer pattern for em under an Indy? So dead drifting it? I wouldn’t think that would work too good Cuz you can’t swing it with the current ?
WbranchNovember 5th, 2018, 8:36 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2381
Do you prefer a particular colored Indy or doesn’t seem to matter?


https://www.fishusa.com/product/Air-Lock-Strike-Indicators?msclkid=7b38b6eb6473190bc16ded0b1baaf5d6&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping_Brands_PLA&utm_term=4585238367860419&utm_content=All%20Products&msclkid=7b38b6eb6473190bc16ded0b1baaf5d6&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping_Brands_PLA&utm_term=4585238367860419&utm_content=All%20Products

I prefer to use either a clear or white Air Lock Indicator because they look like the bubbles and foam on the water. If the sun is rising and shining in my face I can't see either of those colors so will use a pink or orange in 1/2" diameter.

The emerald shiner works very well under an indicator. There are many of them in the stream I fish and the movement of the water makes the fly undulate enticingly in the stream. If I see a steelhead porpoise repeatedly in a tail out I remove the indicator and any weight and cast across and down so the fly lands in the vicinity of the steelhead and as it swings the fish see a broadside view and strikes. It is as close as you can get to experiencing an Atlantic salmon come up and take a fly that is an inch or two under the surface. You often see a big swirl and then a powerful surge. Exciting stuff!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
AdirmanNovember 5th, 2018, 3:54 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 460
Awesome Matt, cant wait to try it ,myself sometime , thanks for the feed back :)

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