Archive for River & Fish Conditions
Some days we have such great luck Steelheading. Four, maybe Five Steelhead on a cold blustery fall day. Life on the river couldn’t be better. Then we encounter the dark days on the streams. If you have spoken to other fly fisherman and one or two say they have never been skunked fly fishing for Steelhead they are not telling the truth!
All my other guide buddies and myself talk about the dark days. The fish are obviously in the systems. But some days they just will not play ball. This is tough to take. We question ourselves. Should I have done something different? Used different flys? Slowed down my swing? Used more weight? Used less weight? Should I have worn a different jacket? Brushed my teeth with my left hand rather then my right???
These are the questions that run through our minds as we take the long two hour drive home. Confidence has taken a big hit. Your buddy hit one upriver. Your other buddy hit two downriver. This happens to us all. What I do in this case is always keep my chin up. Festering will get you no where. It was just Steelheading.
This happens every season to us all. Use this down time to work on new approaches such as different colour flys and maybe tweek your set up a little for the depth of the rivers.
Dont let it bring you down. There is always tomorrow!
As our Ontario Steelhead begin their migration up our tributaries we all dream of hooking these silver bullets at night. When the alarm goes off at 4:30am, we never seem as tired as we do when we are waking up for work at 6:30am. Quick coffee and a few timbits and we are off for our adventure.
Because we are never alone in our quest for these Steelhead we find when we do get to our favourite location that 30 or so other fisherman were having the same dream the night before. After muttering a few curse words we walk into the stream and try and find a free piece of water to fish.
The Big Head River in Meaford, Ontario, the Maitland River in Goderich and the Saugeen River in Southampton can be very crowded when the run is on. Many people shake their head and move towards the main runs and try their luck.
Before you walk into the river, take a look at the people pressure. Where are they mostly located. Are they catching Steelhead. The pressure that fisherman are igniting in the river will determine where the Steelhead will be. Sure there will always be fish in the main pools. But try and determine where the fish would swim and hide from the fisherman. Especially after one has been caught and had created a commotion within a pool. This will certainly move some fish either up or down river into a place to hide such as behind a boulder or some Rapids. If you move away from the people you should find quite a few dispersed Steelhead calming themselves in other locations.
Moral of the blog? Don’t hang with the crowds. Find your own piece of Chrome farther away.
It’s that time of year again. We are still casting crayfish flies and clousers on our favourite streams for Ontario Smallmouth, but lurking amongst them are a few chrome jewels with plenty more to arrive.
Ontario Steelheading on the fly can be challenging but not impossible. We are all impatiently waiting for the cooler nights and the fall rains to kickstart our season.
The last two years have been tough as the numbers of Steelhead just did not appear. Yet already this year we have begun to see a few. Definitely a great sign!
To maximize your success in catching these brutes it is imperative to watch the Ontario Wateroffice graphs of your favourite Steelhead rivers. When the graph shows that the rivers are on a rise then stay away as they are usually to dirty and dangerous. Wait for the graph to “crest”. The river now has stopped rising and will then begin to clear and drop. This is the time to suit up, grab your Spey rod or indicator rig and head to the streams. There is nothing worse then arriving to do some fly fishing for Steelhead and find you river is blown out.
Use these graphs for better success at catching our silver Ontario Steelhead
Ontario Steelheading offers one of the most rewarding experiences that you can encounter on our magnificent rivers. I often get asked what is the best option to catch these elusive fish, “a day on the river in a drift boat, or a day on the water walking and wading?”. Tough question… If we were talking Ontario Smallmouth then I would say our best option is the drift boat. As these fish are not migratory (although there are some lake run bass in the spring) they will hold in the same areas year to year. So should you want to learn to fly fish for these bronze backs then a drift boat is the best pick.
Steelhead are different. A drift boat day can certainly get you to areas where there are no people and get you to spots where there could be some incredible runs. However with a year like we are having this year where the fish seem to be scattered throughout the systems you may hit a drift where virtually there are no Steelhead. Unfortunately once you have launched you’re stuck on that one particular run. We have had great success walking and wading this year. This method allows you to hit several different areas of the river. Start low towards the mouth and if there is nothing there move up a concession. Some days we hit 8 different sections of the river until we find the runs. While hunting for Ontario Steelhead keep moving. You will be rewarded!
Getting fooled by those elusive big Brown Trout? You’re not alone. Last week we watched a 24″ brown work the water about 15 feet from us in a small run. He was definitely interested in the caddis that were hatching yet for about an hour we couldn’t even get a look at our flies. I decided to put a small split shot on my customers line and use the same Elk Hair Dry fly that we were working with. We fished just upriver from our target and swung the fly towards Mr. Brown. He hit the fly on the second drift. Sink those dry flies and fish them like a nymph and you’ll find your luck changing!
Our Ontario Steelheading season has spawned some new methods for success. Some of our Ontario rivers have been full of fish and yet some are still waiting for the Steelhead to come in. Our drift boats have had good success but we’re finding walking and wading for these gems has been more productive. This is due to the fact that the fish are not concentrated in one area but are scattered all through the systems. Rule of thumb for this year is to keep moving. If you don’t find a fish in one section hop in your vehicle and move down or up river quite far. The high water also means they are looking for slower moving water to rest. Work these sluggish currents and enjoy!
What a difference a year makes. Last year for opening day the Ontario Steelhead season was almost over as soon as it started. Warm temperatures brought the Rainbow in early and we had to settle with tired drop back trout rather then fresh spring runs.
This year couldn’t be completely different. The fish ladder at the Beaver River in Thornbury just opened up 2 days ago. Too much ice throughout the system. The Grand River down Paris way is running at 628 m3/s and Fergus is at 232 m3/s. The Saugeen River up Walkerton way keeps rising.
Will our rivers be ready for us on April 26th? With any luck we may be able to find a couple of streams safe enough to hunt for our favourite migratory fish.
Keep your fingers crossed!