SAO Pages

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lots To Do In Brown's Town...

It should be an exciting next couple weekends for local steelheaders with some can't miss local events.

First, OCBS will be holding it's annual fall steelhead expo.

Date: Oct 1, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM doors open at 8:30 AM
Place: Cleveland Metro Parks Rocky River Nature Center, 24000 Valley Park Way in Rocky River Reservation

I don't have many details about the event, but all you need to know is that year after year OCBS puts on a great show.  Admission is free, so don't miss this chance to interact with lots of local steelheaders and some seasoned experts!  More information on the event can be found at

Secondly, Chagrin River Outfitters will be holding their annual Fall Steelhead Shop Day the following Saturday.

Date: Oct 8, 2011
Time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
Place: Chagrin River Outfitters, 100 North Main Street, Chagrin Falls, OH 44120  

The schedule of free seminars and events for the fall shop day is as follows:

Brett McCrae - 8 am: Early season tactics and Lake Erie Browns. Learn early season guide secrets to putting more fish in the net this Fall and improve your chances of catching a trophy Lake Erie Brown Trout.

Jerry Darkes - 9:30 am: Learn why a switch rod must be in your arsenal if you are serious about steelheading the Lake Erie tributaries. Reach more fish, extended drifts, effortless casting, better line management, fighting and landing fish are all made easier by these versatile fishing tools.

Jeff Liskay - 10:45am: Switch rods for swinging streamers on Lake Erie tributaries. Learn the proper casts, rod and line combinations, sink tip essentials, and fly patterns to make swinging streamers your go to method for targeting steelhead.

Brett McCrae - 1pm: Steelheading 101 seminar. Learn from a veteran steelhead guide secrets to make you a more successful angler this season. Topics covered will include choosing the right rod/reel/line combinations, locating fish throughout the changing seasons, what steelhead are eating and why, understanding river flows and conditions, rigging for success, choosing successful fly patterns, properly fighting and releasing fish.  There is something that will benefit everyone in this presentation!

Greg Senyo - Fly Tying - 10am-12 noon. Learn from Greg, the 2008 Orvis Fly Tier of the Year, how to tie flies that trigger more strikes: nymphs, eggs, and minnow imitations for catching more fish this season.

Jeff Liskay and Jerry Darkes 12:15: Switch rod casting demonstration for better understanding how these rods work and why they are such a great tool for steelheaders.

Greg Senyo - Fly Tying - 2pm-3:30 pm: Greg explains how to tie and fish some his deadliest extended hook streamer patterns and why they hook more fish.

Representatives from Simms, Mystic Rod Company, Orvis, Ross Reels, Scott Rods, Scientific Anglers fly lines and more will be on hand to answer questions about gear and steelheading.

The SAO staff will also be well represented at this event, so come on down and meet some of the guides and pick up some tips to make you a more successful steelheader this year!

Now for a quick fishing report...

Life's a beach!

On the metalhead front things are looking up.  The past few doses of rain have got some fish moving up the tributaries, with some fish being caught surprisingly far upstream for this time of year.  With any luck, we'll keep getting this precipitation and our fish will continue to spread out nicely and set us up for a great fall.  Despite the amount rain we've had, the window of opportunity for prime fishing conditions on the rivers this time of year is pretty small.  With that said, anglers that hit it just right can be rewarded with some great early season fishing.  If you're interested in getting out for some early season steelhead, let us know.  We have guides available, and there's no better time of year to catch chromers at the absolute peak of their physical condition.

Anglers have also been experiencing some sporadic success fishing the beaches and river mouths along steelhead alley.  Keep a close eye on weather/wind conditions, and fish early and late.  Hot flies have been baitfish patterns in white, olive, blue, grey, and silver with a moderate amount of flash.

Check out the new Senyo's Gangsta Minnow fly tying tutorial.

Good luck out there, and we hope to see you at one of the upcoming local events!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's about that time of year...

Summer is winding down, and for the more matter-of-fact folks a quick glance at the calendar will tell you that it's already over. The staff has still been out fishing and working, though, and I think I speak for all of us in saying that we're starting to get the steelhead itch now that we've had a few cool nights and the fish are starting to show up.

SAO guide John Miller has been up to his usual tricks on the Delaware, and with some higher flows, and a little bit of color in the water column the fish have been eager to oblige.

It's always tough for me to leave Wyoming, and when the guide season was as good as this past one, it makes it all the more difficult. September out there is by far my favorite month - shorter days, and pretty damn cold nights are a telltale sign that summer is over. Guide and fish alike take notice, and both try to act on it quickly because both the fishing, and the weather, are just too good to last for very long.

I spent my last day out there fishing with my girlfriend; over the past few years we've been dating she's become quite the fly fisherwoman. We fished a special section of stream surrounded by the spectacular red rock walls which the rancher who owns the place calls "the best fence man or God ever made." The fish are plentiful, and they've been known there to pounce on a properly presented dry. As my girlfriend made her first cast, not one, not two, not three, but a half dozen fish took a pass at her hopper as it drifted along an undercut bank. She set the hook on the last one, and looked at me and smiled after it found the bottom of the net. It was looking like it was going to be one of those days you remember for a long time.

The last fish I hooked was the biggest I'd ever seen on this particular stream. As we made our way up into the canyon section of the property, we came across a deep eddy, carved out of the solid rock wall that lined the canyon. On previous occasions I'd seen a big fish in there, but we'd never managed to hook him. My first cast landed in a pile of foam way right against the wall. A quick flick of the wrist sent my hopper skittering out of the foam, and heading towards the current seam along the eddy. It never made it. The enormous brown exploded on the big foam fly, and came out of the water with gills flared and head shaking. After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was little more than ten seconds, he dove to the bottom, and sawed off my tippet on one of the many boulders that lined the pool.

There isn't much to say after getting your butt kicked by a fish like that. Only one thing came to mind as I reeled my line in through my guides and started trudging back to the car...see you next year, pal.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Fall Steelhead Season Is Right Around The Corner!

Come enjoy the superb fly-fishing on Lake Erie's Tributaries this fall with us!

The fall runs of Lake Erie Steelhead will be here in no time! A few early fish are already being caught in and around the tributary mouths and off the local beaches. Nothing spectacular or worth dropping everything for, just a few here and there! It's starting to feel and smell like fall, and this is a favorite time of year for many Steelhead Alley anglers...

Our guide schedules are filling early this season, and if you were thinking of planning a fall Steelhead trip, now is the time! Custom built hand tied fly selections are now available, and if you need a river update and the latest recommendations we are back and available at anytime. There are several great shows and shop events slated to kick off the Steelhead season, and I will have them posted shortly.

If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip for Steelhead this fall we would love the opportunity to fish with you! Here is a quick link to our online reservation system Online Fall Trip RSVP Form

All guided steelhead trips are all inclusive and more information can be found on our steelhead page. Lake Erie Steelhead Guide Trips  discounted prices and deals on the latest steelhead gear from the shop, and discounted lodging available upon booking.

I can be contacted directly with any questions at or 419-466-9382.

We hope to see you on the stream with us this fall!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fly Tying This Saturday At Chagrin River Outfitters...

100 North Main Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

Any fly tiers looking to learn new patterns and improve their tying skills we still have a few spots open for our afternoon fly tying session this Saturday, September 10th in the shop. Class is from 1:30-3:30 and will focus on nymphs, baitfish, and egg patterns, cost is $25 and includes materials. Students need their own tools and vise. To RSVP please contact the shop at 440-247-7110.

Streamers and Swung Flies!

Nymphs and Eggs!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another Successful Alaskan Experience!

If I had to describe this years trip to Alaska, I would have to say it was awesome! We hosted 20 angler's into camp again this year, with many of them experiencing Alaska for the first time! Everything from Rainbow Trout, Grayling, Char/Dollies, Lake Trout, Sockeye, and Silver Salmon were brought to hand over the course of the week.

The guys flew out to several world class destinations while the boat trips across the lake to the Brooks River and other creeks that offered up outstanding fishing as usual. Combine the good fishing with the Alaskan scenery, bear sightings, and river side accommodations, and you were hard pressed to ask for anything more...

A special thank you to all of the angler's who traveled with us, and to the Johnson family & staff at Naknek River Camp for another great trip! We have already taken several bookings for our return to Alaska in 2012. The dates will be August 18th thru the 25th. If you are interested in experiencing Alaska, we would love to have you along with us! Alaska RSVP's can be placed by contacting us at or 419-466-9382.

In local news: Two fly tying classes offered at Chagrin River Outfitters on Saturday September 10th. This will be an all day event, so stop by and get ready for the returning fall Lake Erie Steelhead run.

Here are just a few pictures from our trip to Alaska, there were so many nice fish pictures and everyone was so successful that it is extremely hard to get them all up online! 

Looking back at our cabins from the Naknek River.

Camp life was about fishing, eating, and sleeping!

The guys enjoying an evening of bear snorkling from their cabin deck.

Mike Sowers with a healthy Naknek River Rainbow.

Dave Thatcher poses with a solid Arctic Char.

Patrick Campbell with a trophy Grayling from a small 
creek that we will leave nameless for now!

Jim Lewis with a Naknek River Sockeye Salmon.
Bill lewis and Guide Steve Martinez pose with a Naknek River Rainbow.

John Staranko and Mike Komarny strike a
pose on a recent fly out to the land of huge Char.

Bernard Staranko with a solid Naknek Rainbow.

Mike Komarny poses with a 30 inch pig of a Char.
Barry Kovach with a Sockeye.  They are a necessary evil to many who
fish for the Rainbows and Arctic Char, but they are fighters none the less.
Josh Stephens and Guide Alex Sundquist
pose with a small creek Arctic Char.

Hiking the Alaskan tundra on a recent fly out.
Joel Bock and friend Barry, pose with
Alex and a hefty Arctic Char.
A close up of a typical Dolly/Char caught on the trip.
Mike, Pat, and Patrick Robinson with an Arctic Char triple.

Joe Borter and Wayne McGee with a small creek double.

Ham Biggar poses with his first
Silver Salmon on hallowed grounds south of camp.

Mike Schmidt and Greg Senyo double down on very
nice Arctic Char.  Way to go boys!
Ready for take off on a recent fly out.
Lake trout on a swung fly? Yeah Buddy!
Mark Rushnak and Guide Kyle Hartman
with a monster Naknek River Rainbow.

Joel having fun on the ride up stream.
I said Joel was having fun!
Mike Schmidt poses with a beautiful Char.

Greg Senyo with a solid Brooks River Rainbow.

Patrick Robinson with a solid Silver Salmon.

For the guys on the trip we will have photo books and videos completed as quickly as possible, please get your order forms in ASAP, so we know how many we will need! If you have any questions regarding the book or video please contact Patrick Robinson at