Friday, I headed out east to check on the Ohio tribs and confirm what I already knew, that all the rivers were low and clear. Due dilegence required it, however, as I had a couple younger guys to take out Saturday. They were in town from college for the weekend visiting family and wanted to learn steelheading techniques from a pro so when they return home on break in the fall they would have the the knowledge and confidence to catch fish on their own.
Even in the low and clear water conditions Friday, I managed to catch a couple fish in the morning before the sun got on the water. This fish took a sparsely tied olive streamer.
Saturday, water levels were even lower. However, an early start gave us a three hour window of opportunity before the sun would be on the water. Water temp in the morning was a very agreeable 52 degrees as a result of the cool evenings we've been having. Our strategy for very low, clear water was to locate a pod of fish - not very difficult considering how little room was left for them to spread out in the river - and strip streamers. Yeah, you're probably thinking, strip streamers!?... What the @$%$?
Well, there's no use throwing an indicator, not enough current. Sure, you could try high sticking or short line nymphing without an indicator... that is IF you could get close enough to the fish without spooking them. And what stressed out, spooky steel sitting in a couple feet of water AT BEST is going to be interested in an egg or nymph pattern that isn't force fed to them. Throwing streamers allowed us to stay away from the fish so as NOT to spook them and to let the "players" come to the forefront without disturbing the rest of the pod which are seeking a little relief of their own.
Below is a pic of Mike showing one of the results of our morning's effort.
Throughout the morning and surprisingly well into the afternoon with careful spotting, stalking and casting we were able to hook 5 fish with the last fish hooked at almost 4 pm. A truly fine accomplishment, in my opinon, considering the weather and water conditions we were up against. Unfortunately, only one was brought to the net. I could tell my guys were a little bummed out, so I told them what I tell all my clients in their situation, "Hooking and landing fish are two entirely different skills. Remember, you can't lose a fish you've never hooked. If you're going to be bummed out, be bummed out when you don't catch anything". I think it's pretty sound advice for everyone out there.
So, even with rediculously low and clear water conditions we were able to adapt our tactics to the existing weather and water conditions, succeed in catching a few fish and enjoy each others company on a beautiful indian summer day.
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