SAO Pages

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dreaming of that Past Day!

Have you ever had one of those trips that was so awesome....moving....so memorable that you find yourself longing for another shot at it.  Well, the Sierra Nevada's is one of those areas.  The fish are unbelievably beautiful!  The scenery will take your breath away!  For an adventurous fly angler, this high country experience is a must have!

I have been fortunate enough to  have been drawn to the region three times now.....yes, three times....and every trip is a very memorable time in God's creation with friends, flies, and fish.


JOHN BOWLING THROWS A TIGHT LOOP
TO WAITING GOLDEN'S

UNBELIEVABLE SCENERY IS AROUND EVERY TURN

SAO GUIDE BEN BARGER FISHES THE SAN JOAQUIN
WHILE JOHN BOWLING FILMS FROM THE OPPOSITE BANK

BEN BARGER FISHES UP THROUGH THE CANYON

Two years ago, we shot a lot of film while on the trail and from it came my true desire to shoot and edit films.  Upon arriving home, I began work on my new series that I entitled, "The Adventures of Flybum."  So, after many, many hours of learning how to be a better editor and finding out what shots I "should have" gotten, I finished a less than perfect volume one.  At nearly an hour in length, it was the first large scale project I had ever attempted.  It has now been shown at many fly shops across the region as we have done fly tying demos or while speaking on the greatness of the Steelhead Alley region.

That first volume is entitled "A Journey to Evolution Valley" and will always be near and dear to my heart.  Not only was it my first punch into truly high elevations, but it was my first film.

Here is a much shorter film that I reworked from footage contained in that first volume completed more than a year ago.  I hope you enjoy it...


Until next time, tight lines and good shooting!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brownies Baby!!! Owyhee River, Oregon

I was born and raised in northwest Ohio, and I have no complaints..............., BUT IS THE WEST AWESOME OR WHAT! I have a deep appreciation for what the western states offer to the fly angler. The waters are many and the sights are even more....

Last week I camped on the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon, with John Bowling and our hosts Don and Holly Lane. We enjoyed landing our share of quality Browns for sure. Embarking on my second trip to this river, in consecutive weekends, we had our sights set and our arsenal in the boxes.


Upon arrival on Friday night, just as the sun began to set over the Owyhee peaks, it was a quick snack and readying for a night fish. Our idea of landing a few in the dark was cut short due to a few access logistics, so we packed it in.















BEN BARGER BUSTS A

GORGEOUS BROWN


Saturday morning couldn’t come soon enough. The stretch of water on the agenda, which we had fished on a prior outing, was very productive and consistent, so the 10 minute walk to get there was thick with anticipation. Due to the structure and contours of this particular stretch, the three of us systematically worked the area the entire weekend. Beginning at the top of the stretch is a series of fast water riffles and productive cuts along the banks. The bottom end of the fast water became a fairly long tail-out, where active fish circulated constantly. The tail-out dumped into a stretch of slower moving water about 300 meters long. Our technique was simple; match the hatches throughout the day and move to the action. We never seemed to over-fish the holes. Word to the wise; always pay attention to the surface activity and fish what you are seeing. If the fish aren’t breaking the surface, investigate below the surface. A quick glance down where the water met my waders and I would always see sign of the bug activity. Water clarity as it was, I could usually see emerging, sub-surface, bugs and match those also. A little bug net is very handy when the hatch is changing so much and your fishing all day.















MY PERSONAL BEST OF
THE TRIP (JUST OVER 21")








ONE COOL POSE!!









A VERY NICE BROWN
ON SMALL FLIES









AND ANOTHER
GORGEOUS FISH!!!










THE SMALLER FISH
WE LANDED...
JUST UNDER 18"

The Owyhee quickly jumped up the list of my favorite waters! I am already anticipating a return in the fall when the hogs hammer swung flies. I can feel it now!
Until next time, cheers to bent rods!

Ben Barger
Fly Fishing Specialist
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flybum Media Productions Formalizes

Several years ago, I became a bit enamored with video, the editing of video, and the overall coolness of being able to take a camera and tell a good story.  Over the past decade or so, I have been dabbling in the video production arena.  Years ago, I got my first "handycam" and began taking it on stream with me across the state.  Soon the camera would take trips around the country with me.  Soon thereafter, the "Adventures of Flybum" series was born....more for my enjoyment than others.

Well, there comes a point in every man's life where you have to make a decision.  Are you going to play or work.  In my case, I decided to work hard at playing :)  The choice I made was to take the play side a bit further and see if I could once again take something I love and share it while bringing in some extra cash.....can you blame me?

So, just a few weeks ago, the company became official.  No longer is Flybum Media Productions just a title thrown around in conversation and shown on my laptops screen, but it is now a legal entity that will be working it's way to a top notch film company in the months ahead.

Recently a new broadcast quality HD camera was acquired as well as many other pieces of equipment that will raise the standard of the video work we do.  


You can look forward to future productions such as "The Adventures of Flybum" series, tutorial videos on fly tying and fly fishing instruction, and assorted other things as time and ingenuity meet.  

Until then, enjoy this short clip I just put together from some standard definition footage we shot a month or so back while on a trip.  The video is called "The Retreat" and highlights the Brook Trout Retreat that Greg Senyo operates in the great neighboring state of Pennsylvania.  If you haven't had a chance to check this place out, you will want to do so!



I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do putting them together!

The trout season is cranking now, so you will want to get out while you can.  The magic hatches are putting smiles on faces daily across the east and midwest!  We will be back soon with more short films for your entertainment.

Until next time,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Owner/Operator
Flybum Media Productions

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SAO Spring Update And Thank You!

Well as most of you already know the steelhead season is over! For us it was an extremely busy year with 214 steelhead trips completed from anglers across the country. The staff would like to thank each and everyone of you that fished with us this season and for a ton of great memories on the water! We look forward to servicing your fly fishing needs in the future and wish you all a great summer.

Busy or not I still took a few days to catch some silver of my own.

Looking back through all the photos I was amazed at some of the big fish this year! We were grateful they found the bottom of one of our nets and were not one of the many that got away. Even though the season is over our bookings are quickly filling now for prime fall steelhead days. If you are interested in fly fishing the 2009 Fall steelhead runs on Lake Erie Tributaries give us a shout we would love to get you into some silver of your own. Contact us at info@steelheadalleyoutfitters.com or 419-466-9382 to RSVP.

JP hit this big buck while fishing with guide

John Miller! One of many this year!!

Currently we are guiding the tributaries for Lake Erie Small Mouth Bass, and we are catching good numbers on a variety of tactics from top water to stripping large streamers, leeches, and tube flies. Our Small Mouth range from 2 to 5 pounds and the fishing is best until about Late June, when our focus changes over to other warm water species. If you are interested in wet wading and big bronze backs give us a shout at the above contact information.

Swinging and stripping streamers for Small Mouth is hot right now!

We will be hot and heavy on the fly tying Blog this summer with a variety of fly pattern tutorials put up weekly. Look for our newest installment here in the next couple of days. The Fly patterns we will focus on are guide patterns and custom ties for Lake Erie Tributaries and ties for around the region.

Next Tutorial Senyo's Elk Creek Craw Tube

Pretty soon you will see some new faces and some well known faces with the SAO family. These new editions will help us keep up with the top notch services you have come to expect from SAO. We will always continue to serve you the angler with the best possible experience and surround you with knowledgeable and professional fly fishing guides everyday of each season. I would like to end with a final thank you to Orvis, Eumer, and Hare Line for their constant support...it has been an awesome year!

If you are new to fly fishing take a moment to check out our Fly Fishing Reports history. Over 120 posts and 1200 pictures with guests and SAO experiences around the country on the fly!!!

See you on the water!!!

Greg Senyo
Owner/Operator
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Of Songs and Smallmouth

Today I had the privilege to be on the water with some guys that were quite honestly a whole lot of fun!  I'm sure you have found yourself around guys who don't take themselves too seriously?  Well, Mark and Allan were those kind of guys.....and it was a good thing, because today was all about switch rods and swinging flies!

For those of you who have fished this way, you know from experience that when you are first learning it is a good thing when you can laugh at yourself!

The day started out in a very exciting manner as Allan started throwing the fly.  First he nailed an Erie Rooster Fish (Quillback).  Next was the Brown Trout which I failed to get a photo of due to the rigging of equipment that needed done.  Not to long after that, Smallmouth starting coming to hand.

MARK BUSTS HIS FIRST PIECE OF BRONZE ON 
A BEAUTIFUL MORNING!

Smallmouth are now in and they are around in force!  We saw a number of fish hitting nests and ignoring flies.  However, those that weren't were slamming flies.  I love willing players on swung flies!!!

ALLAN WORKS EARLY IN THE DAY TO PERFECT HIS CASTING
WITH THE NEW REDINGTON CPX SWITCH ROD

Allan was working hard at perfecting his cast and understanding the dynamics of a swung fly early on.  But after a short time, Allan was bringing his own players to hand.  Here the smile says it all.

ALLAN HAMMERS A NICE BRONZEBACK!

After some time of looking for Steelhead further up river, we decided to hit the last pass before the big water.  Unfortunately the forecasted wind showed up about 5 minutes after we arrived, so we headed out and looked for the shelter of upstream lies.

THE GUYS WORK THE MOUTH TO CHECK FOR DROPBACKS
AND HUNGRY BASS.

As we were bearing down on the end of our day, this beautiful Smallmouth Bass decided to play with my "Live Shiner" pattern.  It is a good looking pattern and idea, but is just now getting it's testing.  We will see how it fares.

ROBINSON'S "LIVE SHINER" TAKES BRONZE

So, after an all day pursuit of Steelhead and none found, I decided to hit one last spot that I thought may hold some drop back Steelhead.  We had caught bass, trout, and forage fish, but hadn't even seen a Steelhead.

Upon arrival to our last spot of the day, I spotted two fish on gravel and that was it.  Shortly after seeing them, they moved out and were not seen again.  I knew two fish on gravel was a sign that there would be a shortage of fish in the holes below.  Nevertheless, we were on location....we were in the game and this was the fourth quarter.  It was a now or never venture.

It was a totally stress free day though.  I mean these guys only drove 3 hours to get here to catch their first Erie Steelhead.....so, no sweat Mr. Guide :)

With mere minutes left in the day....in fact I just announced "give it a few more casts and we are out of here," I had Mark move down below Allan to finish swinging out the bottom of the hole. Before doing so, I had Mark hold up so I could change his fly.  In a few seconds, I had the Eumer tube tied on and he was set.

Within just a couple of minutes, I heard a commotion and looked downstream to see a rod bent bigger than it had been all day long.....it was a Steelhead no doubt!!!

ALL DAY WE HUNTED AND LOOKED
AND THEN IT HAPPENED :)

A FACE EVERY FLY ANGLER LOVES!

Mark and Allan fished hard today and gave it all right to the end!  Thanks for giving it your all guys......that was quite the fourth quarter rally!

Oh, and about that title......."Of Songs and Smallmouth".........you probably get the Smallmouth part of things as we are catching them every time out.  However, I thought I might give you a little more to go on with the "Song."  Very simply put, as Head Guide, I am declaring that the fat lady sang today folks!  

For Steelhead Alley Outfitters, our spring Steelhead season is officially over!  Thank you to all of our great clients, to MRO for a banner Spring, and to all those beautiful fish who came out to play.  You all truly enrich our lives and make doing this a whole lot of fun.

Until next time, tight lines.....

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Wilds prove the Munchable Minnow is Munchable!

Some time ago, I got bored with the same old fly tying and decided to try my hand at designing some new patterns. One such pattern that was created that day was the munchable minnow.

I tied it in a number of different color combos for anything from steelhead to bass. I have fished for many years and knew it would catch fish, but you really don't "know" until the fly is tied and in the water.

Not long after designing it, I posted the photo below and had a client who fishes with out warmwater specialist Graham Stokes email me asking if he could buy some. I said of course, and tied some up for him.

His plan was to use them at "The Wilds" in the early summer. For those of you who aren't familiar with "The Wilds," it is a bass fisherman's paradise!!!

At any rate, Brian (Graham's client) agreed to test some flies for me and here is the rest of the story.....

ROBINSON'S MUNCHABLE MINNOWS

The rest of the story is here by Graham Stokes.......

Wednesday I fished with Brian B. This was Brian’s third year in a row fishing largemouth with me and I really wanted to put him onto a big fish. Last year he landed a great fish so I knew no ordinary fish would make the day.

We found the fish. It may or may not have been as big as last year’s fish but the fight it gave us certainly made the catch. Brian’s TFO 8 weight was bent in half and I had a hard time keeping the kayak out of the brush. The fish jumped twice and went deep into the weeds but eventually came to hand.

We measured the Largemouth at 22 inches and this time I had my boga grip, so we weighed it at 5 pounds. I also used my new waterproof case on the camera to get a picture of the fish underwater.

Underwater-Bass


Perhaps the best part of the story is that the fly Brian used was one he’d specifically requested from Ohio guide and fly tyer, Patrick Robinson. It was Patrick’s “Munchable Minnow” that brought this fish and many others to hand that day.


After some discussion with Graham about his take on the fly, I am pleased to say that Graham liked it enough to request some for his own guide boxes! That in my opinion is the true test. A lot of flies can catch fish, but will other guides want to use your fly?

BRIAN WITH ONE OF MANY FISH CAUGHT
WITH GUIDE GRAHAM STOKES

THE MUNCHABLE MINNOW AFTER GETTING MUNCHED

Graham Stokes guides many days every summer in pursuit of trophy largemouth. On this day, he scored again with a very nice fly rod bass.....maybe not as big as last time, but I bet Brian didn't mind this guy on the end of his line!


GRAHAM HOLDS THE 22" 5LB BEAST THAT HIS CLIENT LANDED
ON AN OLIVE "MUNCHABLE MINNOW"

Graham, thanks for the great job with Brian and thanks for the feedback on the fly. I look forward to seeing photos of even bigger fish taken by the "Munchable Minnow!"

Until next time,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

East Coast Gold

Well, as we have been winding down on our Steelhead season here on the Alley, John Miller one of our dedicated team members has been out east playing.......Ok, well maybe not really playing.  It's been more like working hard to be the best he can be.  You can check out the photos and judge for yourself on how good he is.

JOHN TAKES A DAY OFF TO BANG SOME BROWN OF HIS OWN

BEAUTIFUL SLAB OF BUTTER

THESE FISH ARE AMAZING AND CALLING MY NAME!

JOHN EVEN CATCHES THESE THINGS IN HIS SLEEP :)

So, he catches them in his sleep, but when it is time for clients, it's game on.  John is pretty busy right now fishing clients, but that doesn't change things.  If one thing is for sure, John knows the water.....he knows his bugs.....and he knows how to make clients happy.

If you don't believe me, just check out what this client had to say....   

Dear John,


Just a brief note to thank you for another memorable trip...

I wanted to let folks know that listening to all your tactical advice was the key on this trip. Difficult fish that were that much more satisfying when we fooled them, made this quite possibly the most interesting fishing up here to date.


And that's not mentioning the great conversation and comradery on the water, whether fishing, telling stories, or eating chef Johns amazing lunch!


Your photos from the trip are magnificent, and proof of a day spent

targeting the most worthy opponents in the river!!!! Yesterday's trip, simply put, 

outdid any I've had out West, in terms of the "hotness" of these fish.


Thanks for being an excellent and patient guide/teacher. And thanks for keeping things fun, the whole time. You rock the Delaware!


Best,


Odin Rathnam


We don't let our guides brag on themselves, but will do so for them from time to time.  If their heads start swelling, we just pop them :)  In all seriousness, John is one heck of a dry fly guy and the proof is in the photos below!











If you are interested in booking a trip with John on the West Branch of the Delaware in New York, give us a call.  John would be happy to put you on some of the biggest and hottest fish to be found east of the Mississippi!

We'll be back on the water with clients tomorrow and will have some highlights when we get off the water.  We will also have some highlights of early season Largemouth action, so check back soon.

Until next time.....

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sunny Day Spring Steelhead...and Small Mouth!

As our steelhead runs come to an end and they start to drop toward the lower river, some of the best action of the entire year arrives. Freshly spawned out steelhead begin to mix with the few chrome fish making the late push. The lower rivers come alive with this splendid blend of silver! Streamers on the swing or stripped through the pools absolutely make these hungry fish go ballistic. If you enjoy cart wheeling, jumping, and hard charging fish this is about as good as it gets. The only bad news to this is that it is very short lived and you need to take advantage before the water temps become to warm and they are finally gone...until next fall that is...


Client fights a large steelhead that smacked a Emerald Egg Raider streamer slowly stripped through this pool. I wish I could have caught the cart wheels on film, but couldn't get the camera out fast enough!


The signs of spring are present every where, this means we have to start mowing again!


Our focus will be changing toward the Small Mouth here pretty quickly, and good numbers are already in the rivers. we are taking bookings for Small Mouth Bass on the fly at this time. The top water action will heat up here in the coming week, but they are striking streamers and leeches with a vengeance right now. The Small Mouth run fishes best until about mid to late June. If you are interested please contact us As soon as Possible because guide availability will go quickly for this exciting game fish. Contact Greg Senyo at 419-466-9382 for more information.

Here are a few more of our recent spring trip photos:

Kevin with a nice drop back Ohio steelhead


Steve with a good fish of his own

Kevin lands this very nice steelhead with guide Will Turek


Dr. Nate's day two steelhead, while fishing will guide John Clouser

Nice fish Doc!!!


John Clouser with a late afternoon Ohio bronze back!

Senyo's Egg Raider tube hits another fat Small mouth.
The fishing is really good right now and all the rivers are in great shape! If you are looking for good weather and great fishing give us a shout we would love to get you on the river..
Have a Great Spring!
Greg Senyo
Owner/Operator SAO

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rain, Fish, and One Heck of a Man!

Do you ever find yourself with individuals who inspire you?  Well, on this day, my client was one of those.  Not only was he very accomplished in his field of expertise, but I could take this gentleman anywhere....and trust me, we did some bushwhacking today!

Nate hails all the way from sunny Florida and is no stranger to fishing on the fly.  His third time with us, this was the first time I had the pleasure of fishing with him.  

Throughout the day, I heard stories of Atlantic Salmon, Snook, Bonefish, Tarpon, Coho, Kings, and the list goes on and on.

As we hooked up time after time and did our best to stay dry on a rainy day, the conversation was rich with stories, lessons learned and being learned (from the Steelhead), and thoughts of how blessed we were to be on the water as opposed to working :)

Here are a few brief shots from our day....

"DOC" GETS THE DAY STARTED WITH A NICE FISH

PREPPING TO REVIVE THE FISH FOR RELEASE

DESPITE THE RAIN, "DOC" STAYED IN THE GAME

At the end of the day as we were walking the trail back to the truck, I asked Doc how old he was as I was admiring his ability to give so much.  I mean, if I could be honest, I was tired and he was hanging right with me.  Doc smiled and said, I'm 70!  I think Doc will vouch for me when I proclaimed, "I just hope I can see the river when I'm 70!"

One thing is for sure, Doc is the real deal and can hang with the best.  In fact as I write this, he is on the water for day two with John Clouser.  I'm  sure he is making as big an impact on John as he did me!

We are still fishing hard and enjoying every minute.  Steelhead are still around in force and Smallmouth Bass are cranking with 3-5 lb fish coming regularly.

If you are interested in fishing, give us a shout!

Until Next Time, 

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters