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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Season In Full Swing

Well, we have been in full swing this week and tomorrow it's only going to get worse or better depending on how you look at it. We are coming off of several days of trips and our first Steelhead school in conjunction with Orvis Cleveland. It was a full school focusing on the tactics and techniques both on the water and off! Overall, it was a quality event focused on the skills of the game not offered elsewhere.

That kept all of our guys very busy the past few days which means I wasn't able to get any photos from the guides who were on the water. But rest assured many more will follow as always.

I will be brief in this blog due to having a lot to do this evening in preparation for a full week of guiding starting tomorrow.

Here Alan hold a first fish on a very tough day of fishing after rain pushed through in the midnight area bringing rivers up and out at the last minute.

Alan smiles with his first fish of the day.

In addition to guiding, many of our guides are currently field testing a new line of packs from the Orvis Company. They are water resistant packs that have already proven their worth in heavy driving rains. The line is called Gale Force....look for it in the near future.

Greg Senyo field testing the new
Gale Force gear for the Orvis Company

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to fish with Zac and Tyler who came to the area with John Bowling who serves as one of our staff guides. Each of them were experiencing the alley for the very first time and they had a lot of fun.

Tyler holds a nice hen for his first Steelhead.

SAO guide John Bowling pauses to capture a special
moment with his father Zac. Zac busted this colored up
buck to get his day started.

I also had the opportunity to get out and do a bit of fishing for myself yesterday and in the process brought many fish to hand. Here is one of them that I had the opportunity to snap a photo of.

SAO guide Patrick Robinson holds a pretty little hen while
getting a chance for some personal fishing late in the day.

As I said before, we will be out in force this week, so look for blogs to pick up pace as we strive to highlight our days with clients as often as possible. Keep your eyes on the river conditions and we will keep you posted on our activities on the water.

Tight lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good Gives Way to Great!!!

Some days are good and some days are great. Well, as clients are concerned, the past two days were great, but when it comes to the fishing alone, good to great is a great descriptive!!!

Day one started with a gentleman new to the steelhead game. Having fly fished for a while, his interest was peaked by the Steelhead and with a great wife at home and a recent birthday, he found himself celebrating that birthday on the stream with me.

Kenan was like many other first timers...learning the do's and don'ts of this side of fly fishing as we all have.  He lost some, but also won some....when he won, the smiles were worth it all and by the end of the day, he was hooked for life.

Kenan looks into the net at a nice piece of Steelhead Alley chrome!

A fresh fish in hand is worth a thousand words!

Dime bright fish always bring a matching smile...

As good as the fishing was with Kenan the first day, it was only going to get better.  Now, having been an avid bass fisherman in the past and fishing tournaments in Indiana earlier in life, I was always accustomed to watching the weather.  The calm before the storm always seemed to cause the fish to strap on a feed bag and today they were calling for some severe weather.  High winds up to 60 mph along with driving rain was in the forecast.  A strong cold front was colliding with the unseasonably warm weather I had been experiencing the past couple days...and that calm before the storm was now...and the fish were as unsettled as they could be.  It was as if they knew the next rain was about to come setting them free to run the rivers uninhibited.

So the day started as it always does...early.  We got to the river and in the twilight hour, you could hear fish moving.  They were there and letting it be known.  But what would the day hold?

Very soon, Bill had his line in the water for the first time and on the first drift, it was on!  The fish turned and sent his reel into a symphonic praise.  The day couldn't have started any better....this was a good day, but it was about to get better.

Bill holds an early morning fish....just getting started.

We even managed to pull a lake run brown on this day which was the first for me and a client.  I have been looking for them every day, but haven't seen any.  Today that changed.  Although the fish was a little smaller than I would have liked, it was a Brown and I was much obliged to take his picture.

A small 16-17 inch lake run Brown Trout poses and smiles

Bill continued to get fish after fish all the looming question wasn't will we get fish, it was how soon will it be before we get blown off the stream because of the forthcoming weather.  It was late morning when I got a call from Greg and he told me that they were getting inundated with really severe weather and that it would be to me by early to mid afternoon....just like they forecasted it.

Nevertheless, we pressed on to fish after fish....

Bill poses with a nice piece of chrome and my new Steelhead net from Fisknat.
This net is an awesome added piece to my arsenal!!!

Yet another fish falls to the skill of Bill...

Now, you need to understand something.  Coming into this fall season, I didn't want a whole lot!  I wanted decent water levels and some good times with clients.  There was one other thing though that I really wanted and that was a nice Brown Trout.  They are kind of the golden nugget in the midst of a stream full of steel bars.  

Early in the season, people had been seeing a few, and Greg even landed an nice one the other day.  I have to admit that every time someone said that they caught one, I wrestled with fisherman's envy.  All I wanted to call my fall season a success was one nice piece of lake run Brown Trout.

Well, as the good Lord would have it, today my fishing was about to go from good to great!  I looked into a run that had been left alone all day long and saw some fish, so I told Bill to throw to them.  As Bill was fishing, I saw a large fish move and I proclaimed to Bill, "I think that huge fish was a Brown!"  However, in comparison to the small fish we caught earlier, I doubted myself a bit!  Bill went fish on several times in this hole adding to his numbers, and then it happened.  I looked to the back of the whole where there was a bit of a reprieve from the unbelievable amounts of leaves and said, "Bill, there are some good size fish back there, give em a shot."  So, Bill as he did all day, put a cast right where it needed to be.  The drift ensued and was drifting over a slightly different colored fish than the couldn't see clearly, but you could tell it was a bit different than those around it.  As the drift passed over, the indicator stopped.  When Bill set the hook, Shamu porpoised out like it was show time and my mouth dropped now knowing that my previous suspicions were true.

I now had the biggest Brown Trout on the line that I had personally ever seen.  This my friends was my season making fish!  Yes, I love the Steelhead, but a gold nugget is what I wanted and I had a lot of weight in gold on the end of my clients line.  As he fought the fish I shouted, "Keep him out of the wood," and "Turn him," "Stop him," and anything else I could.  All the while in the back of my mind, I am thinking, "Dear Lord, please don't let this fish come unbuttoned!"

As the good Lord would have it, today was our day and within minutes of hooking this beast and dealing very well with it, I came up with a slob, a toad, a monster....whatever you want to call it kind of BIG, BIG, BROWN TROUT!!!  I was screaming and hollering as was Bill.  It was like we just won the national championship or a was the best kind of experience you can have on the water!

Bill poses with a 27"+ lake run Brown Trout caught on a Robinson's Chicken Hawk.
These will be commercially available soon through the Orvis Company.

What a slab of gold....way to pan that gold Bill!!!

Now that is a kype any person can love....

You can't imagine the true size of this fish.  He was impressively huge and I hope a forecast of what is to come!!!  This new Steelhead net from Fisknat has a hoop on it that is 20 inches wide by 30 inches long.  You can tell that this fish is big....just compare it's length to Bills arm.

This Brown filled out this net as good as any Steelhead this season!

Look at the width of the back on this fish.  His girth had to be in the 18-19 inch range.

We got a short video of this slob of a fish to show him in living color.  The quality isn't all that good, but it serves the purpose!  Check it out.

Bill's big Brown Trout in living color!  Way to go Bill!  You made my day and my season!

And yes, of course I had to get my picture taken with him...can you blame me?

A beautifully colored up buck of impressive size.  This my biggest fish 
to date for the fall season, but there are more to come!

So, did we get blown off the water?  Well, not exactly.  However, we did get blown away by that amazing Brown Trout and as Bill put it, "When you catch a fish like that, you just can't top it....let's call it a day!"  So, we did...we walked back calling it a day and smiling the whole way!

Until next time, may all of you adventures be as good...I mean as great as mine was today!!!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitter

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall Steelhead Season Preview

Trips are happening every day now, so check out the fresh blogs and photos below. We will be posting fresh material every couple days highlighting all our days on the water. In the meantime, Here is a video we shot at the onset of the fall season here on the Alley. Enjoy!

Early Season Sweets!

Each season we get to fish with clients who are new to the steelhead game or with clients who are new altogether to the fly fishing game. Well, late this week, I had the opportunity at both.

The first two clients were new to steelheading and one of the two had only been fishing on the fly for a couple months. The day got started early as many do and it wasn't long before we had fish on. Mamie was stoked to hold that first piece of steel.

Mamie holds a healthy hen for her first Steelhead!

It wasn't very long after that first fish, that these first timers had me runnin' and gunnin'. I was up one way and then down the other. I had one fish in the net and was wondering how I might get the other in as well. I quickly took the head of the big hen already in the net and spun her around so she was pointing at me. I had a brand new net in hand that I am field testing and this would be a perfect test for a wood net! (The net can be seen in the photo below) Well, that net did just fine as I took a stab at fish number two and came up with a total net weight of something like 17-18 pounds of fish in the bag.

A double shot was the order of the morning, and I'm
not talking about espresso! Check out Fisknats new
Steelhead net. It is a stellar piece of craftsmanship!

After the dawn of the day, the fishing got a bit tougher, but Kelly was up to the challenge. Just two months or so into the sport of fishing on the fly, Kelly wasn't about to give up easily and his stick with it attitude kept him in the game!

Kelly hold onto a nice fish with SAO guide Patrick Robinson

Another nice shot of a fine speciman!

Mamie wasn't about to stand back and be out-fished, so she stepped up her game and continued bringing fish to hand. She did quite well for the day and as many ladies, out-fished her man. That's alright's better that way anyhow!

Mamie with a big slab of fresh chrome and a smile to match!

The next day, I was with two rank beginners. Harvey and Mike are fairly local, but have never fished on the fly before. As you can imagine, there was a lot of ground to cover. I had to teach them the basics of casting, the basic nature of the Steelhead, how to present the flies, how to fight a fish.....etc, etc, etc. There was a lot to be learned on this day, and willing learners they were.

Harvey poses with the first fish of the day. Oh and yes, that is
a bluetooth earpiece in his ear. We jokingly called him
the hightech redneck! But Harvey loved to fish!

Not long after the start, fish were being hooked and lines were being broke as the lessons we all had to learn were underway. However, they can't all get away and this was one such fish.

Harvey smiling big with a fish that to him was as big as life!

Mike was a bit slow in getting the fish to the net. I could feel his pain as mishap after mishap brought back the memories of my own learning curve. I could watch the excitement on his face when he would hook up and also watch it drain from his face as a huge slab of chrome would take that run of no return. Nevertheless, it was fun, and a learning experience. I think Mike said something like this at the end of the day. "Oh yeah, I had fun! I learned a lot about what to do....but I might have learned more about what not to do!" As you can imagine, that brought a smile to all of our faces as we could all understand those words! Congrats Mike on sticking with it and getting your well deserved fish!

Mike poses with his first piece of Steelhead Alley
chrome. Congrats on a great fish Mike!

Keep your eyes on the blog as many new posts, photos, and videos are sure to come in the next couple of months.

Until then get out and keep your lines tight!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Enough Time For A Quicky....

Even with the less than desirable fishing conditions, it's just great to be back out guiding and fishing the Lake Erie Tributaries! Remember its still early season and stream conditions will improve and the steelhead runs will only get better. We are keeping  it quick and simple for now, but we will have much more for you very soon. We hope you enjoy the recent trip pictures...         

 Cory poses with his first Lake Erie Steelhead!

 Cory with another solid Elk Creek Steelhead caught fly fishing with SAO's Greg Senyo.

 Cory releasing his catch to fight another day.

 I had the opportunity to drift a few flies myself this week, and was able to get ahold of this nice Tributary Brown Trout!

 It was great to finally get a shot at a good lake run brown trout this fall!

This heavy Lake Erie Steelhead fell for one of Robinson's Chicken Little's.

 You got to love the looks and the fight of a fresh and bright Lake Erie steelhead.

Until Next Time!
Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It Just Feels Good To Wet A Line!

This past week was a seriously needed escape from the every day grind! A few early season trips for very large, bright Steelhead is all the remedy an angler could ask for. Small pods of Lake Erie Steelhead entered the Pennsylvania streams as early as late September and started moving upstream with what little bit of high flows we were fortunate enough to receive.

The scouting, fishing, guiding, and One Fly event of the past week have really started the fall Steelhead season off with a strong positive vibe! Serve all that with a side dish of delicious pulled pork sandwiches, and the exciting stories from the young Steelheaders about a few acrobatics by freshly hook Steelhead....What an energizing and great way to spend a weekend! I feel lucky to have been apart of such a great community of Steelhead fisherman, and to have participated in such a special event.

Brandon and I pose with our first Lake Erie steelhead of the morning!
The best part was just spending the time and sharing stories and tips
about our fishing experiences with both Jack and Brandon!

With the stream conditions rapidly returning to low flows and ultra clear, we were able to get a few of the guys out on their early season trips. Despite the obsticles the gang did extremely well and a few beautiful fish were brought to hand. Below are a few pics from this past weekend on Steelhead Alley.

Erwin plays a Lake Erie Steelhead while fishing
with SAO's Scott McClintock.

Erwin poses with one of the steelhead he
caught fly fishing Lake Erie Tributaries.

A mug shot of this early run fall Steelhead!

Denver poses with his silver slab of Lake Erie Steel he
caught while fishing with SAO's Joel Bock.

Our Steelhead guide dates are filling up quickly! We would love to share our experience and passion for Lake Erie Steelhead on the fly with you, so if you are thinking of making a trip to the Lake Erie region, don't hesitate to give us a shout at 419-466-9382 or email us at

We will be adding some cool new Steelhead flies to our fly tying blog soon and rest assured that with hot new materials, these are designs we really like to fish...and we hope you will too! In the coming days check out our fly tying blog at Below is one of the new patterns that will be featured!

Senyo's Shaggy Minnows! Incorporating the new
Senyo's Shaggy Dubbing and Laser Dubbings!

Senyo's Shaggy Emerald Shiner.

Senyo's Shaggy Leech.

We are in full swing now, so check back often. We will have a lot more content coming straight from the local rivers and from the vise! So, in the meantime, have a great fall!


Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gearing Up...The Rivers Are Up!!!

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Busier than a one-legged man in a butt kickin' contest?" Well, we're living it right now...I assure you. The bad thing is that the season hasn't officially taken off just yet...that will become official this weekend with our first trips of the year taking place....and what a weekend to kick it off!

In the last week, we have been out in force scoping things out and fishing. We have watched things go from low and clear to blow outs....aaahhhh, just the way a season should start.

A pod of fish sit in a deep slot waiting for the fly.

It didn't take us long to get into some fish and they were all very nice chrome that were ready to rock and roll on the end of the line. All the guys were chompin' at the bit to get into one of their own.

Steelhead Alley Outfitter guide Jason Gregory
with a nice fish to start the day off right.

Another nice slab of chrome for the day!

On and on all day long, fresh fish came to hand...and
the fall colors are starting to show on the water too.

We even had the opportunity to watch this young man spread his wings and learn how to fly. He is a willing learner and eager to take on any fish that is willing to take his fly. He will frequent the water this fall and his game will improve quickly, I assure you.

Even the youngsters were able to grab a few here and there and
Greg was right there watching in case assistance was needed.

The face of an angel

The beauty of these fish is endless!

The fish came to hand and were released in good condition to fight another few anglers this season, but it wasn't long before the rains came. The last few days, the rivers have been pulsating with the rain that has been coming almost daily. This is good as it will distribute the pods throughout the river systems.

Scott McClintock and Tim Hess look the river over
as the waters rise...come on in fish...

Scott points out a nice cut that will hold fish

All that is left to do is to clean up a few pieces of equipment and set the alarm. Other than that, everything is in place and our guides are at the gates. The next couple of weekends, Greg, Brett, and myself will be at the Cleveland Orvis store doing some fly tying and Steelhead presentations. Greg's fly tying gig is on Saturday the 9th at 6pm. Brett and myself will be giving presentations the following Saturday (the 16th) starting at 11am. If you are in the area, slide in and see what Orvis Days is all about.

In the meantime, get out there and wet a line. I know we will!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters