SAO Pages

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Flick On Pennsylvania Trout

A month or so back, we had the opportunity to spend some time in Pennsylvania going after brown trout that were munching on the plethora of bugs available at the time.

While there, we had the opportunity to shoot some film which is always fun. Now that the remainder of my gear is in, I have been working on getting to know the equipment better and that includes the software.

Below are just a few shots from that time in Pennsylvania. If you want to see the original blog, click here.




The Finished Replica Central PA Brown Trout! Bill Rusinko of Realistics Taxidermy is a true artist and master of his craft! Thanks for your support and sponsorship. For more on Bill and his replica work go to

The trip was a blast, and we look forward to many more in the days to come. Summer is in full swing and fall runs of potamodromous fish are already being reported entering the rivers in Michigan (steelhead and kings), so it makes you wonder if our extremely cool summer could mean early steelhead for us too? Only time will tell.
As for the new flick, click on the link below to watch it. This will take you to the Flybum Media Productions blog where you can watch it.

Until next time,
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Ever Changing Landscape of SAO

Many would call it luck, some call it fate, some call it karma.....there are different terms used by different people to describe what I get to do. I like to simply call it being blessed! I am definitely a blessed man! One way that I am blessed is to be a part of such a quality team.

Now listen, I am not saying this to be prideful, pompous, or to try to boost any business! All I am simply saying is that as an individual who loves the sport of fly fishing, I am blessed to be surrounded by the caliber of fishermen who make up the family at Steelhead Alley Outfitters! Often times I just think about how blessed I am to do what I do. How cool......

As I have thought about our team recently and their experiences just in the last year, we have fished in California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and of course, Ohio (and that is just what I know of). That is just off the top of my head...not to mention several different countries and both fresh water and salt water to boot. We are a blessed team, and as this business grows, so does our family.

Drakes....Oh The Joy!

Recently we added another top notch fly fisher to our team! Let me formally introduce you to Brett McCrae. Brett is a young man, just out of college, but don't let that be misleading in any way, shape or form. Brett didn't go to just any school, but Brown of a few schools that can claim membership in the "Ivy League." What I am trying to say is that Brett is a sharp guy....a smart guy....knowledgeable in the areas of the art of fly fishing and beyond. Not only is Brett a knowledgeable guy, but he is an athlete to boot. It only seems fitting that his sport of choice would be swimming :) He competed in the collegiate world and did very well for himself. Now, he is setting out to do what he loves.....full time! I can attest to time spent with Brett that he is truly a gentleman and a scholar.

Brett is versed in the pursuit of trophy stripers in the salt, buttered up browns in the west, and of course monster steelhead in his home waters of northeast Ohio. Brett will be an asset to this team and we guarantee you will be seeing more of him in the days to come.

If you wonder about Brett's experience and ability....don't! He is currently busting his tail daily in Wyoming putting people from all across the U.S. on trophy trout. If you don't believe me, check out the photos.....WE DON'T JUST TELL STORIES.....WE SHOW YOU STORIES!!!!

Brett with a Client and a Very Nice Fish!

John Deere Green Meets Butter Belly Yellow

Enough Butter for a Thanksgiving Dinner

So, with all the formality you can drum up on a blog, we want to officially welcome our newest "Full Time Guide," Brett McCrae. We are looking forward to sharing water with you and making some memories together on the water.

Check out what Brett is up to in his own words.

Brett McCrae writes from Saddlestring Wyoming

It's been a beautiful summer thus far in northern Wyoming here at Rock Creek Anglers. Despite a lot of snow in the high elevations, water levels have begun to drop throughout most of the area and even streams still experiencing heavy water are still fishing very well.

Stretches of water south of us are fishing about as well as they possibly can - drakes, stoneflies, and caddis are buzzing around and have the fish looking up almost any time of day.

Big browns on big foam dry flies? What's not to like?

With the water still being fairly cold, the canyon stretches have really started to come in to their own with the onset of the warm summer weather over the past two weeks. The scenery in a lot of these locations is absolutely breathtaking, and the fishing is even better.

One of the canyon stretches that Rock Creek Anglers' frequents.

On overcast days the streamer bite has been awesome with the high water making the fish a little less wary than they would be under lower water conditions. We've been doing our best to convince some of the bigger fish in our area to make a mistake, and have done very well in June.

You bit the wrong bug brownie.

Connor with a nice 'bow.

June is always an interesting month for guiding out West - however, we had a guest with us for a few days that made this past month even more interesting: R.A. Beatie of Beatie Outdoor Productions. R.A. is pretty cool guy, and an awesome cinematographer and film producer; you can check out some of his work on the Fly Fishing Film Tour or on his website ( Look for some of the footage shot here to appear in a short on the Simms website, or in next year's film tour - needless to say here at Rock Creek we're pretty excited to see it ourselves.

Nice brownie for the camera.

Filming location on a top secret reservoir
that is home to lots of carp.

One of the most famous tailwaters in the country, the Bighorn River outside Ft. Smith, Montana has been fishing incredibly well despite record flows. Unfortunately with the drift boat cruising by at mach 2 I haven't wanted to waste water snapping pictures, but we've been seeing really nice fish, and lots of them. Nymphing deep has been the name of the game thus far, but expect the dry fly action on this awesome stream to pick up as soon as they start lowering the releases. Myself, and another guide on staff are licensened in the state of Montana, and we're really excited about the fishing potential of the Bighorn as the water drops as the summer continues.

We've still got a few openings left for bookings in July, August, and September. If anyone is interesting in getting their trout fix, give us a call at (888) WILD-TROUT or (307) 684-7302; you can also check out our website at If I don't see you for trout this summer, let's be sure to hook up for steelhead in the fall.

There's lots of gold, silver (and whatever you'd like to call brookies and cutthroat) at the end of this rainbow.

Rainbow's on the Horizon

We're lucky and excited to be out here doing what we love, and hope you get the chance to come out too.

P.S. Please send sunscreen...

Brett McCrae

Thanks Brett for the update on what's happening in Wyoming! We look forward to more stories and photos from your work out west as the summer moves on.

Until next time, hit the water as much as you can and remember to keep the line tight...but not to tight. Slob size trout on light tippets require you to dance with graceful steps...enjoy it when you get the chance!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Heading East to the Land of Trout...Big Trout!

The Delaware watershed is one of those rivers that many people wish they had the chance to fish. I for one happen to be one of "those" people who have wished for the opportunity....more on my wishing later.

One thing is for certain, the Delaware is a precious resource in the eastern part of our country and many sizable, colorful, bug loving trout call it home. For our friend and fellow guide, John Miller, it is his summer home. Perched on the river bank every day, John gets to watch the sun rise and the sun set on this eastern jewel.

The Delaware with a Brazen Horizon.

Daily, John heads to the shop, meets his clients and off to the river they head with the drift boat in tow. His hopes of tight loops and precision casting are sometimes challenged as they are for every guide, but on certain days, his hopes become reality. When the fish is spotted, John gives instruction, and the casts ensue. With the utmost beauty, the tight loops deliver the size 18-22 dries to the location of a hungry fish and with the raise of the rod, fresh butter is served up to both men and women alike.

A Client Smiles the Smile of an "I Did It" Moment.

Another Beautiful Brown

Sometimes the fish come early, sometimes they come late, sometimes on clear high blue sky kind of days, and others on the overcast BWO kind of days.

Here below it was a beautiful fish and big grin that made the day.

A Happy Client

A Late Day Trophy Poses

A Nice Fish on a Beautiful River Day.

Yet Another Fine Butter Belly From Recent Days.

As I have said before, whenever John isn't with clients, he is typically doing one of a few things. First and foremost is fishing and the other is photography. Below, you see one of the Delaware's finest up close and personal. Another fine shot by John Miller.

An Up Close and Personal Look at Brown Trout Bliss.

Aside from being a good guide, John is a great fly fisher. He has the experience that many wish they had and if you fish with him for long, you will see it. Don't worry, we keep him humble with the occasional beating.....ha. In reality, it is guys like John that we like to have as a part of the SAO family....John is top of his game wherever he is and we can appreciate the excellence in which he works.

John the Trout Hunter

As I said previously, John is a photog....and a good one at that. Check out these action shots of a feeding Brown that he captured on the Delaware.

Oh Yeah, I See You Little Guy....

This is What We Like To Call "Snout Soup!"

This blog entry has got me totally pumped up because in just a matter of days, the SAO staff will be spending a number of days out on the Delaware busting some trophies of their own and shooting film to boot.

We are looking forward to some rest & relaxation around the camp and some screaming reels while on the river! We will give a full report on our trip when we get back. In time, when I get caught up with my back log of footage, I will get the video edited and show you all what kind of fun we really had.

In closing, I would like to do something that we don't often do and that is to dedicate this post. Just days ago, John Miller's father passed away from a sudden heart attack. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him. From all the family at Steelhead Alley Outfitters, our prayers and thoughts go out to the Miller family!

Until next time, keep those lines tight and take every moment you have available to fish and spend time with those you love!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A North Carolina Adventure



For professional musicians the summer is the time to gather in beautiful and sometimes exotic places to practice their art with others that they don't normally work with. This is the festival season , and the time for music under the stars in the mountains or by the sea. It is a chance to make new friends and forge new professional collaborations and also , to teach. It was an invitation to the latter that found me in the mountains of western North Carolina last month as a guest lecturer and performer. One of the nice things about my work as a bassoonist in the Cleveland Orchestra is the chance I get to travel to these often wonderful places and meet great people. Together to play music and sometimes .... to fish.


The camp , located in the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest , east and north of Asheville and just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, turned out to be ideally located for quick jaunts to awesome rivers. Anyone who has been in that part of the world knows just how astonishingly beautiful it is. The grand mountains and misty woodlands are threaded with many tremendous streams of differing characters , offering a wide variety of fly angling opportunities.



Great trout streams big and small blend with fabulous smallmouth water keeping it exciting no matter what you are after. The North Toe River just down the road (and I do mean down as the camp was on top of the mountain) was our playground for the few days and our diversion from our work as musicians. A couple of my bassoonist friends that met me there are accomplished fly anglers. This was Alan and Jill. Alan, the former principal bassoonist of the L.A. Philharmonic and Jill a former colleague in the Memphis symphony came prepared to hit the stream. As it turned out ,the conditions went from great to blown out on the Toe
in a hurry due to a strong weather front and torrents of rain, but the time we did have on the river was memorable.



The Toe holds good numbers of Brookies and Rainbows and not just the small kind. We were successful with both streamers and nymphs. Swinging small wooly buggers produced good bows for Jill and Alan and drifting stonefly nymphs did damage to the Brookies for me which one evening came to hand one right after the other and in generous size and fight! As fun as the brookies were , it was a rainbow that gave me the greatest charge since the steelhead season ended. It was getting later and i was expected back at the camp. Putting through that proverbial "last drift" (which usually isn't) , I tightened up on a tug that was clearly not like the others. Some time, and many acrobatic leaps later, I netted the 22" beauty that made my day , and gave me bragging rights that I obviously have not yet let go of.


After the "blow" , we turned our attention to the smaller feeder streams , some of which had escaped the localized thunderstorms and remained clear. Here we stalked our fish and threw hoppers and other terrestrials and attracter patterns to trick spooky small stream fish.


As the time came to a close and it was time to move on the next stop on the road all I could think was that it had been too short and we had just scratched the surface of this wonderful region.


Until next time, tight lines!

John Clouser
Fly Fishing Specialist
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New Partnership

Mertensia Springs Trout & Conservation Club, Ludlow Falls Ohio

Over the past few weeks we have been working closely with Sam Brown and the Mertensia Springs Family on bringing our passions for fly fishing together. The goal of offering a family oriented fly fishing experience or professional summer get away is what the Club is all about, and as of Monday, Steelhead Alley Outfitters was honored to be excepted as the only outfitters of choice to operate on the 200 + acre Club Property.

Last month we put alot of time scouting, fishing, shooting video, and walking the entire property. The multitude of fishing that can be experienced in a single day is more than any fly angler would ever ask for. You can take a scenic float for Wild Small Mouth Bass on the Still Water River, which is rumored to be the best smallie waters in Ohio. Kayak or Canoe one of 5 water way lakes for Large Mouth Bass, Crappie, Grass Carp, and pan fish. Wade the scenic Ludlow Creek for Brown & Rainbow Trout which are stocked by the club annually and hold year round in the cool spring water, but the added bonus is the Ludlow is also full of wild and aggressive Smallies. This has become by far one of my favorite small waters in Ohio, and is a dynamite fishing experience on a 3wt.

Fly fishing one of many great looking pools on Ludlow Creek

A feisty Brown Trout that smacked a crayfish
colored woolly bugger on Ludlow Creek

We are currently running day trips to fly fish at the club, and will be putting on two fly fishing camps in the near future. If you like what you see about the Mertensia Springs Trout and Conservation Club, and want more information on memberships, fishing opportunities, guided trips, and Club functions. Contact us directly and we will make sure to get you the information you need. The club property is simply beautiful and can handle , individual, group, family, our business fishing trips. Once you fish here you will want to come back again and again.

Brian and Jerry fishing for Large Mouth Bass
on one of Mertensia's water way lakes.

A Fat and healthy " Summer Bow" from Ludlow Creek

Emerald damsel flies were hatching and dancing along the stream.

Wild and aggressive Smallmouth Bass on ultra light fly tackle

Entering the Mertensia Springs Trout & Conservation Club

If you are interested in spending a day fly fishing for several different species, on three separate water types, or looking for that Trout or Smallie on a 3wt give me a call at 419-466-9382 We look forward to getting you out to the club for a great fly fishing experience.

Tight Lines,

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters