This year's tying expo was great fun and consisted of an impressive lineup. The list included Bob Mead, Bill Donato, Dave Brandt, Pat Cohen, Morgan Lyle, Bill Wemple, George Kass, Glenn Kuhles, John Morette, John Prokorym,
Mark Franze, Richard Atkinson, Robin Hill, Rodney Priddle, Ron Boutin and Heath Clayson. This group represents many decades of skilled fisherman and tiers. Here are some pics of the happenings.
This isn't a crime per say, but I did have the means and the motive. Although I was a reluctant solo participant, not wanting to drive and fish solo again. Since this is vacation week and my wife gave me the pass to fish I figured I'd better get on it. After such a good day the other day I figured there was no way I'd have the same luck, but I was wrong. 9-12" of snow had fallen in the area making any kind of travel along the river difficult at best. A more fitting description would be a sweat fest. Despite not getting to one of my favorite runs I still managed to get a few fish to hand using the same tried and true tactics from the last post. This is likely to be the end of my winter forays for steelhead this year but we'll have to see how things pan out.
My windows of opportunity for fishing this season have been limited to say the least. The few opportunities that I've had have not coincided with reasonable fishing weather. In upstate NY reasonable fishing weather varies greatly from person to person. Having braved the biting single digit temps too often I now find myself thinking if its 25 degrees and up, its a go. My last chance of wetting a line was derailed by gale warnings and despite my urge to get on the water I wisely stayed home. So this week I had some time and the weather was looking decent. Then they raised the water level which is never good as the river tends not to fish well with any dramatic changes in the water level or temperature. To further complicate things a buddy had fished the day before and said that the river visibility was uncharacteristically poor. Since it had been months since I'd wet a line an emergency brain trust meeting was held between my ears. The result was that the board of directors said f*** it, go. The weather while in the low 30's was far from pleasant with 15-25 mph
gusts, sleet, snow and rain. With the river up and off color (~36" of vis) the classic combination of purple and black was chosen in honor of the perfect steelheading weather.
One of the benefits of getting out in such weather this time of year is that one can usually find plenty of elbow room. Only two other anglers were seen all day long and the fishing was excellent.
As I swung through the first run using a relatively light tip ~3"/sec and weighted tube fly, the evolution that has occurred in my fishing for these fish seeped into my mind. Like many others I first learned this game bouncing the bottom with running line and lead shot. I then changed to nymphing with an indicator, when I saw others using that method on the river. The funny thing is that when I first started swinging flies I used 15' of T-14 and the like thinking I had to be down on the bottom to get to the fish. Old habits and mentalities die hard. Even with the high, 34 degree water and using a light tip willing dance partners were found. It blows my mind how thoroughly my mindset has changed over time. If you told me 5 or 6 years ago to swing flies in mid February in high water I would have said that you were sniffing glue.
Some of the players that crossed my path during the course of my travels.