SAO Pages

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just Trying To Have Some Fun....Rain Or Shine!

Despite all of the rain, floods, and bumps in the road, you just have to find away to stay positive and have alittle fun! This spring we had to take every possible fishing day, and try to make the best of what was given. Obviously some days were much better than others, with many days that were totally out of our control. I felt like I was playing poker with Mother Nature and losing on nearly every hand! The best thing about all of this was the willingness of many of our clients to "Gamble" and get on the water with every open window. This Spring Steelhead runs were just that- brief windows of opportunity between the Rain, Wind, and Mud....

For those of you who did make it out this spring, we all would like the thank you for making our spring worth wild, and it is always a pleasure fishing with you all. If you are still thinking of coming up, we will have at least a couple more good weeks to get that steelhead fix in, if the rains hold off long enough that is...  Here are a few recent trip pictures from SAO Guide Tim Hess.

A Nice Lake Erie Steelhead Brought To Hand.

Dave Z. With A Hefty Drop Back Hen.

Dave H. With A Nice Elk Creek Steelhead.

The Daves' Double Up...

This past Easter weekend was very special, we had planned on taking a group of kids steelhead fishing and giving them a great opportunity to hook into some of the regions remaining steelhead. Unfortunately the rains came and the rivers were completely unsafe and unfishable. So instead of cancelling and disappointing a bunch of young fly fishers, we decided to move the outing to our cabin and set the kids up to have a chance at a few nice brook trout. 

What makes this outing so special was that these were the youngsters that won our fly fishing trip during the Annual One Fly Outing put on by Jack Gripp and a host of generous gentleman from The Fish Erie Community. We wanted to make sure we held up the tradition, and insure everyone's hard work was honored by  making these young fly angler's day the best it could be... In short the day was fantastic, all 14 kids caught fish, and I would like to thank the Parents, kids, Mike Sowers, Joel Bock, Jason Gregory, Jack Gripp, Dave Wentzel, and the hard working Guys from the One Fly Event- You know who you guys are! for providing these young and talented anglers with a chance to learn and live! I have posted a few of the pictures below, you have got to love there choice in fishing hats!    

14 young fly fishers ready to hit the stream!

Some of the kids learned how to fish larger sculpins and streamers in the higher flows. 

A nice Brook Trout that took a sculpin pattern.

Mike helps out on the first Brook Trout of the Day.

First Brook Trout Ever!

I believe this is the first Curious George and Brook Trout encounter I have ever had...

Nothing like a nice trout to make your day!

Mad Bomber, Brook Trout, and alot of fun!

Another First Ever Brook Trout!

Another fish brought to hand.

Finishing off the day with one last fish! I feel extremely grateful to be apart of such a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cancellations....But Not Today!

It was hard to make the call to cancel, so I didn't. With all the determination of this father/son duo and a birthday, the day had to go on. Despite all the rain the region has received that has most of the known world running high and muddy, we headed out....and achieved the objective!

The birthday boy lands his first Steelhead!

Father and son share a moment they will treasure forever

Dad follows suit with a dropback hen of his own

....and bonus brown trout.

Thanks to the guys today for working hard and for getting fish. I guarantee it was as rewarding for me as it was for you.

Tight Lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tough Times, But Tight Lines!

It's tough to catch a break this Spring! I think the saying "rain, rain, go away, come again some other day" is appropriate about now. I for one have seen enough rain for at least a little while. Yesterday was a welcome change, but snow, really? It was snowing so hard that it was accumulating for a while. I had to check my calendar to see what day it was. But hey, I have to was true Steelheading weather for sure and the fish agreed.

Larry hits a nice hen.

A nice dropback comes to hand.

The fishing has been difficult for one reason this Spring and that is due to the fact on most days, most streams haven't even allowed you to grace their waters. However, we have been lucky to get out on about every occasion that they have allowed us and our anxious clients have been rewarded with some quality fish.

Tim holds onto a nicely colored hen

Jim holds onto some nice chrome...Oh so pretty!

The key lately has been to stick and move...cover water and find the fish that are constantly moving due to the pulsing waters. Fish are around, but not in huge numbers, so walking and working are what pays off.

Brian with his first fish of the day.

Larry & Brian smile with their catches and willing friend Marty.

Tim hits a nicely colored of the only of the day

Kerry puts a nice buck in the net early in the day

Their is one experience that is always cool and that is when the fish all want to bite at the same time. Doubles are extra special and always remembered for years by those who were the fortunate fisherman. Getting them both in the net at the same time is always the trick for the guide, but this time around it worked out perfectly!

Larry and Brian pose with a nice double down

One of those colored mugs we all love!

Jim lands this thick heavy buck waiting
anxiously for some hens.

Larry nailed this beautiful lady with a voracious appetite!

Thanks to all the ladies and gentlemen who have been entrusting us with their days on the water in the last few days! We have had a great time playing this game of hide and seek and look forward to doing it again in the future!

Keep your eyes on the gauges, because once again the next few days are bringing precipitation and most streams will likely pulse higher than they are currently. We hope to get back out in a few days with more anxious anglers.

Flies that have been hot lately are Bob's Minnows, Ice Man Minnows, Chicken Littles and a variety of pastel eggs. Keep in mind that drop backs are starting to drop out and are looking for a meal. They will give chase, so swing em up or hit them on the white buggers and minnows.

Tight lines,

Patrick Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Keeping Busy...

Sorry for the long delay in posting, but between the weather, rescheduling trips, travel, and various other commitments it has been very hard to get on the computer. We still have a few dates open for Spring Steelhead if you are willing to get out. Despite the rain, flooding, and overall bad weather as of late, we have been able to get out and hit a few really nice fish on the fly.   

*Just a reminder April 25-26 Spring Spey Casting & Tying Event with April Vokey and Will Turek is right around the corner! Please visit OCBS Spring Spey Event  For additional information and event sign-up contact OCBS member Will Turek: or 330.807.4828

Spring Lake Erie Chrome.

William and Martin pose with a fine Lake Erie Steelhead from our recent Steelhead School in conjunction with Jim Lampros and Orvis Cleveland. Congrats William on such a fine steelhead and your successes with Guide Brett McCrea.

William shares the spot light with his father Martin, and another nice Lake Erie Steelhead.

Ed with a nice buck from a recent trip with John Miller.

Ken with a nice Lake Erie Steelhead.

Dave with a heavy shouldered "Golden" Steelhead.

Gary and his daughter Sara share a photo with one of the steelhead they caught recently.

Treg with a nice buck from a recent trip with Tim Hess.

Randy with a nice steelhead of his own.

Bill with a nice Ohio Steelhead from a recent trip with John Clouser.

Hal with a nice Ohio Buck.

 We'll have more Ohio and PA Steelhead pictures for you when they all come in from the guys! Here are a few pictures from a rained out guides day off, that Brett and John Miller decided to hit a few spots for toothy game....

Brett plays a good fish....

Brett poses with a nice Pike that took a red and copper bucktail streamer.

Another sweet Pike on the fly!

I will be guiding in the mountains through Wednesday April 20th for a few more of these.... If you need anything please feel free to contact Patrick Robinson through the information provided at the top right hand side of our blog. Thanks and I'm out of here!!!
Hooked up on a decent Brook Trout!

A nice small stream Brook Trout.

Another Brook Trout that took a small leech pattern.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One Swing Spring...

Well, this Spring sure has been tough and unfortunately doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon with more rain in the forecast for the beginning of the week. On the bright side, the latest warm rains will definitely bring loads of fresh fish into all the tributaries; no, they didn't disappear or decide not to come they've just been biding their time waiting for the right conditions. And those conditions are right now! Of course, who knows when we'll actually be able to get back on the water to fish for them. Whenever that is, the fishing should be very good. As long as the air and water temps stay seasonable (hopefully, without any extended periods of 70-80s temps) we should still have several weeks of fishing available, right into the first week of May. OK, enough of the prognosticating...

Last week I was lucky enough to get in a day on the Grand River; so was everyone else it seemed as the river was very crowded. And with good reason, a good slug of fish were in and FINALLY it was fishable. Well, at least for a day or so before the next round of rain hit. Anyway, I had the pleasure of fishing with a good client who had previously attended a MidWest Spey School spey casting class.

Nice set up Richard!

My client, Richard, came prepared with a 13' 7/8 two-hand rod and Skagit shooting head. Great set-up for easy casting, shooting line, and quick changes of the sink tip (which is attached to end of the shooting head). After a short casting tune-up, we put together a game plan for swinging flies and set to work covering the water. As cold as the water was in the morning, we were looking for holding water where fish could rest without expending too much energy to fight the current. The ideal type of water would be walking speed or slightly faster and have some type of structure against which fish can hide or orient themselves. (In cold water/weather fish are seldom found in the fast water, however, once the air/water temps climb this can be a good place to check as well).

Sweep to clear line forming a nice D-loop

After fishing through a nice tailout, we made out way down to a broad riffle and began to methodically fish from top to bottom. Slowly we worked our way through the throat and head of the riffle to the drop off where the current widened and deepened. Richard was in a good groove; casting, swinging, stepping downstream while stripping the shooting line in for the next cast. Anticipation was building as we moved in the "prime" holding water. Then, BAM! a nice tug on the line... but no fish. Anyone who's swung fly a fly knows the excitement that spreads like electricity up the line and through the body from a good grab on a tight line... and the difficulty in NOT setting the hook. Raise the rod tip = pulling the fly away from the fish. It takes an iron will not only to commit to swinging all day (when fishing an indicator might be more productive), but to allowing the fish hook itself and ONLY setting the hook (down and to the side) once the full weight of the fish is felt on the line. Nerve racking for sure!

Rod tip low, line tight on the swing

Encouraged we had the right length and sink rate tip for the current speed and depth of water we were fishing, and more importantly that there were a few "players" around we slowed down the pace of our searching/swinging and continued through the pool. Sure enough, not long after the first grab a second fish crushed the fly. No time to even set the hook on this fish as it cartwheeled out of the water and took off downstream. After a short fight, this steelhead took a different tack and ran straight at us! Putting the line on the spool as fast as possible to keep tension on the line (and avoid slack so the hook would not come out) I was able to get downstream of the fish and put it in the net. This was Richard's first steelhead on the swing and a great thrill for the both of us.

Richard with a nice hen on the swing!

Try as we might, that was the only fish of the day to come to the net. And though a variety of factors conspired against us - cold water, dirty water in the afternoon, and heavy crowds - I've got to hand it to Richard for sticking with the spey game for the rest of the day. Well, you know what they say "the Tug is the drug that makes the steelhead world go 'round".... so true ; )

Will Turek
Spey Specialist
MidWest Spey
Steelhead Alley Outfitters