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Thursday, October 29, 2009

A few days late, but not a few dollars short - Lake Erie Steelhead Alley Fishing Report

There's nothing quite like fishing big water. It's big, it's strong, it's got lots of places for fish to hide, and, oh yeah, it's big. For anyone who has fished along Steelhead Alley for any extended period of time, you know that fishing the Grand River is a treat. The largest stocked river in Ohio doesn't fish all that often during Steelhead season because after runoff it takes an extended period of time to drop and clear.

During low water, when other rivers are running gin clear and with little flow, the Grand can be a lifesaver for a guide - last week was one of those weeks. With Rich and Connie up from Columbus, and the Grand flowing at a fishable level, we decided to give it a go.

Our goal for the day was to swing flies, but with the water in most places barely flowing, we had to pick our spots to use this technique. However, the first place we fished presented an opportunity to swing, and Rich took full advantage and hooked a nice chromer on a white sculpin. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, and with a vicious headshake the fish popped 15 lb. fluoro like it was 8/0 tying thread, rolled, and was gone a split second later.

GETTING THE DAY STARTED RIGHT

However, Rich shook that one off, and came through to break the skunk with this nice buck soon thereafter.

Connie, brand new to Steelhead fishing (and, might I add, didn't think she would enjoy the experience at all) also came through with some nice fish, and ended up having a great time. In fact, Rich, I think she wants to do it again.

THE SMILE SAYS IT ALL

Peak fall foliage, lots of hook ups from a bunch of fired up fresh Steelhead, and the beautiful Grand River....Can you think of a better way to spend an October day?

Oh yeah, and who can forget the chub that ripped drag, cleared the water a half a dozen times, and left Connie with a split knuckle from her hand hitting the reel. Remember, ice and ibuprofen will help keep the swelling down.

VICTORY OVER THE DAY MAKER

Until the next chub.

Brett McCrae
Fly Fishing Specialist
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Against All Odds - Lake Erie Steelhead Alley Fishing Report

The day started with the ring of my alarm. Through the haze of my eyes that refused to be awoken at such an insane time, I noticed that it was raining fairly good. I immediately went to the rainfall gauges and realized that the rain hadn't been all that bad up on the Alley. Up in the Conneaut area, they only had .12 inches of rain....no big deal I thought.

Fast forward to a couple of hours later when we were ready to hit the stream and it was a totally different story!!! With over 3/4 of an inch now on the ground, it was inevitable what was about to happen. The question was when.

I had a couple of the guides out scouting and they looked at every trib from Cleveland to the New York line, and everything was blown. Fortunately I had the lady on my side and she was definitely nice to me today. Either that, or God was on my side....I like to think the latter!

Upon arrival, the water was on the rise, and leaves in the flow is a gross understatement! It was sick how many leaves were flushing!!!

CHECK OUT ALL THE LEAVES!!! THAT WAS JUST
WHAT YOU COULD SEE ON THE SURFACE.

DOUBLES ON LEAVES....NOT AN
UNCOMMON SITE ON TODAY'S WATER.

However, despite the issue of rising waters and the plethora of leaves, we were fortunate to get on some fish that were still willing to play the game. How, I don't know, but I don't really care! All I know is that I got them to play and I was happy...as were my clients!

After one lost fish, Kevin really turned it on and managed to get the skunk out of the bag against all the odds. It was a beautiful fish and the smiles made it that much better.

GORGEOUS LAKE ERIE STEELHEAD

After a nice little fight, Kevin worked the fish to the net. When I came up with chrome in the net, I thought I was going to let out a shout. I honestly had doubts as to wether or not we would be able to pull fish out of these flows, but as luck would have it, we did.

We hooked numerous fish, but most had their way with the fight. We didn't really care, because we all realized what a blessing it was to even had a chance on such a day!

Here are a couple of shots from the day.

KEVIN SMILES WITH CHROME

KEVIN POSES WITH HIS FRIEND STEVE
ON A VERY WET, YET MEMORABLE DAY

Needless to say, it was a very good feeling to pull off a day such as we had today.

Currently most if not all of the streams are up, up and away. There are some exceptions, so check the obvious locations to gather this information. We have guides out every day, so we will update you as soon as we are able. One thing is for sure....this will bring in fish and distribute what is already here!

Until Next Time,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Beautiful Day. Lake Erie Steelhead Alley Fishing Report

Today was a great day to be out. The colors were highlighted by the sun and punctuated by the clear blue skies! It was good to get out again, this time running recon for trips with clients that will take place the rest of the week.

As you can see in the photo below, the weather today was beautiful. However, the streams were lacking in different ways. The eastern streams got some rain that finally affected the flows and today we found the results of that precipitation.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY ON THE ALLEY!

From flows that had dropped back and started clearing to others being slightly elevated and looking as dark as a cup of coffee from the tannin in the water, the conditions differed widely depending on where you were.

The reason why we were out today was for scouting and filming. So, given the fact the weather was so nice, we pushed to find fish, and that we did!

BRETT MCCRAE HOOKS UP ON A NICE FISH!

We moved quickly among the anglers that were out in force today and managed to locate some pods of fish that were willing to play. At times, it didn't take much coercion either. Needless to say, we had some really good opportunities to roll film for future films.

BRETT POSES WITH A BRUTE!

After a couple of hours of trying to capture the alley on video, I decided I couldn't take it anymore! I had a rod and couldn't take watching Brett catch fish all day. So, as you can tell by looking below, I had to break it out. I also decided that this was a great opportunity to bust out my new go-to pattern called the Chicken Hawk. It wasn't long before I had a nice fish to substantiate the prowess of this fly.

PATRICK ROBINSON PLAYS OUT A FISH.

THIS FISH FELL TO THE NEW FLY CALLED THE "CHICKEN HAWK"
(see the new tutorial on the SAO fly tying blog)

Of course, I seem to always be behind the camera (as you can see all my bags in the background), but today, I was fortunate enough to have my picture taken for once. I just love looking at the beautiful steel colored top on fresher fish. They truly are magnificent fish!

A NICE FISH ALWAYS BRINGS SMILES.

THE RELEASE FOR ANOTHER DAY

All in all, it was a decent day to be out if you were in the right spot at the right time. It won't be long before the streams are back down and clear as there is no forecast for rain anytime soon. If you get out, plan on checking multiple streams as the waters are fluctuating depending on what stream you hit.

We will be out the rest of this week with clients, so we will keep you posted on what is going on as we experience it first hand!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!!! Lake Erie Steelhead Alley Fishing Report

The past couple of days have been busy and a whole lot of fun! I don't know about you, but I absolutely love this time of year on the Alley! Not only do you have hot fish and new clients, but the colors on the stream are out of this world!

FALL COLORS ON THE GRAND RIVER

Yesterday some of our guides were busy on the Grand getting in some scouting for a super busy day with clients today. Waters were lower than we would have liked, but regardless, the boat hit the water and miles of water were covered in the first float of the season.

BRETT MCCRAE TAKES A DAY TO GET SOME STEEL FOR HIMSELF!

ANOTHER RUN ON THE FLOAT

As water was covered, the lines got wet in every hole that looked to hold fish and sure enough the assumptions were right and beautiful fish came to hand.

AND THE FISH COME TO HAND.

BEAUTIFUL CLOSE UP OF A BUCK IN COLOR

Today was a new day and one we were looking forward to. The conditions were up in the air at the end of the day yesterday, but we moved out prepared to meet whatever conditions we were forced to face.

The past week with clients has been tough fishing, and today we thought it would be much the same. However, upon arrival this morning, we found that the waters were starting to come up a bit and holding a better stain than in previous days.......

The title of my blog for today is, "I love it when a plan comes together!" I must admit that there was a day in time where I loved to watch the "A-team" on tv. I absolutely loved watching it and couldn't wait until the end when I would get to hear Hannibal proclaim "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Today I felt like my team was the "A-Team!" The plan definitely came together and for that I am both happy and thankful.....thankful for a group of qualified, competent, professional (in action), get it done, kind of guides. I love being part of a team that works as a team! Today you guys did a GREAT JOB and the clients testimonies will prove it.

Below, Brian gets his day started with a hard charging fish.......

BRIAN FIGHTING A NICE PIECE OF OHIO STEEL

A MUG WE ALL LOVE

Brian came to us all the way from Connecticut and had a banner day. His hookups were off the chart and many came to the net for him throughout the day! Check out these picks of just a few he put in the net.



BRIAN AND HIS GUIDE BEN BARGER SMILE WITH A VERY NICE FISH

John Miller was out today with clients from Illinois, and they did just as well. The fish came to the net in liberal amounts, but plenty of those hot fish earned their right to swim away on their terms as well. As far as I'm concerned, there are certain fish I don't mind losing....especially after the displays they offer us.

Below, Dan and John show their steelheading prowess....

DAN WITH A VERY NICE FISH!

A NICE HOT HEN GAVE UP THE FIGHT AND POSES IN CHROME.

A COLORED UP BUCK



JOHN POSES WITH A THICK FISH!

SAO GUIDES BEN AND JOHN POSE WITH CLIENTS
AS THEY SHARED WATER FOR A
SHORT TIME. NOTHING QUITE LIKE DOUBLES!

Brett was also out with clients today, but we will be looking for a post from him sometime very soon. He did just as well as the rest of the team and left for home with very happy clients. But don't take my word for it.....come back and check out his blog soon.

Until then, get out.....it's getting good!!!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One of Those Days Turns Golden - Lake Erie Steelhead Alley River Report

Have you ever had one of those days where you know the odds are stacked against you? Well, today seemed to be one of those days. We have been hoping and praying for rain lately and have done just about everything but a rain dance to bring it in. However, we have yet to get what our streams need. As many of you know and others can imagine, the streams are low and clear and extremely pressured due to the high number of early season anglers.

If all that is taken into account, a considerate guide will think of his clients first. At times this may leave him wondering if they are wasting the clients money....let's be honest here folks. Today was one of those days.....at least in my mind. I knew the conditions were going to be tough and so did my fellow guides. The facts were in plain view.....low water, clear water, pressured fish, lots of anglers, and the need to put fish in the net.

I don't know how else to say this, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and live up to what you say you are. Today I was a guide. Today I was working for someone who wanted to catch one of America's favorite game fish. I could have backed off and said conditions will be better tomorrow, but aren't they always. Today was a beautiful day, and I had to get the job done, because that is what we do! At SAO, we put clients on fish and do everything possible (ethically that is) to put fish in the net.

You might think, you sure are a cocky, prideful, arrogant guide.....and if that is how this has come across, let me explain the emotion behind my writing.

Yesterday I wondered about today. I wondered and wondered.....and I pondered all of the challenges. After sizing everything up realized I was up to that challenge! Today, I went out and gave it my all knowing that I had what it takes! I now sit here in all the glory that any angler can understand and that is that we went out today and kicked butt! It feels really good, guide or not, to have a day like today....and quite frankly, I am JAZZED about it! If I feel this good about the day, then you can imagine how my clients feel!

A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO BE ON THE WATER

WAYNE AND SUE SMILE WITH THE SKUNK FISH....THAT IS THE
ONE THAT GOT THE SKUNK OUT OF THE BAG FOR THE DAY!

Everyone knows what it is like to finally get on the boards for the day. It was a slow start for Wayne and Sue, but in time, we found that skunk and got it out of the bag. It could only get better from then on right? Well, today it did!

WAYNE POSES WITH A LOOK OF CONTENTMENT....
THAT IS THE BEST PART OF THE DAY!

After some walking and looking, we got into some nice pods of fish that had little pressure and it was off the hook....or on the hook, depending on how you look at it. Honestly, I think we had a bit of both, but that keeps the game very interesting.

THE FISH KEPT COMING....SOME WENT, WITH
FLIES IN THEIR MOUTHS, BUT THIS ONE CAME TO THE NET!

ANOTHER ONE FOR THE TALLY

WAYNE POSES WITH ONE LAST FISH FOR THE DAY

While I was with my clients, John Miller was out with clients as well and their day mirrored mine. It was slow going, but before long, with a bit of persistence and application of what we knew, John was getting the net wet for Paul.

PAUL POSES WITH A NICE HEN FOR THE DAY

The condition currently are very tough. The water as I stated before is very low and clear. Hopefully the rain forecasted for tonight and tomorrow will bring enough to get us a push of water.

The flies that produced today were broad in size and color, but some of the producers were Senyo's wiggle stone, Senyo's ice man minnow and small wooly buggers. I was also happy to test a new low water pattern today that received rave review from the fish......more on this as the season progresses and the pattern gets more exposure.

Keep your eyes on the streams and these reports. We are out with clients nearly every day from here on, so check back often to see the latest from our guides.

Until next time,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back From Vermont! Lake Erie Steelhead Report and Update...

I wish I had better news on the conditions of our Lake Erie Tributaries! The water levels continue to be low. Every time we see a little precipitation and a small bump in the flows it is very short lived. We need steady rain to give the area streams some relief...

We recently returned from the Orvis Manchester Store in Vermont. We spent a few days doing tying demos, presentations, and casting during the annual Orvis days events. It was a great event and alot of fun to be apart of such a great tradition. Here are a few pictures from Manchester...

The Casting ponds behind Orvis Manchester.

Fly tying and Fly casting were taught for the kids through out the weekend. Needless to say the Orvis ponds were full of fat brook, brown, and rainbow trout!

First Fly caught brown trout during Orvis days! Man I miss being a kid!!!

This young fly fisher hooked into a monster!

I said it was a monster! Shawn Brillon helps hold this
young anglers catch for a quick group photo.

Brett McCrae demonstrates tying streamers for swinging on Lake Erie Tributaries.

A quick peek at the inside of the new Orvis fly fishing school!

Manchester Orvis

What a great weekend!!

We are back home and out on the water, so we will have more reports and updates shortly.. Our schedules are filling up fast... If you are interested in a steelhead trip on Lake Erie don't hesitate to give us a call at 419-466-9382 or email us at gregsenyo@yahoo.com Have a great fall!!!

Greg Senyo
Owner/Operator
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Monday, October 12, 2009

Steelhead Alley Fishing Report & River Update...

Steelhead Alley stream conditions as "Usual" could be a lot better. Area streams are low and clearing with a few tributaries holding a hint of color. More precipitation is in the forecast this week, and hopefully we will see some of it hit the streams or its going to get skinny around here pretty quick. The end of the week is showing night time temperatures in the high 30's with a chance of rain and snow showers? Snow Already? It could get interesting this fall....

Despite the conditions the guys have been doing very well and some big fish have hit our nets. Pat is back on the water Wednesday with clients, so we will have more for you then. Here are some of the photos from Jason Gregory's guide trip this today. If you are thinking of getting out this fall give us a shout at 419-466-9382. We would love to spend a day with you in pursuit of Steelhead!!!

Solitude and steelhead

Steelhead fishing has become a family affair on the Alley!
Brook, Abby, and Ashley we had a great time fishing with you guys!


Ashley with her first Steelhead of the Day! Great Job!!!

Brook releasing this nice buck steelhead to fight another day!

Mike with a nice early fall chromer

John holds up this hefty chrome version of Ms. Piggy

It's still early and we have only just begun. The past two weeks have been absolutely wonderful and have had a blast fishing with everyone so far!!! We will see more from the rest of the crew as the week goes on. If you need anything steelhead alley related don't hesitate to give a a call.
See you on Wednesday... Tight Lines!!

Greg Senyo
Owner/Operator
Steelhead Alley Outfitters