Late season Steelhead

A good sized fish landed before it’s return to the lake

CLEVELAND EAST SIDE, OH – I rarely chase steel when they have moved upstream to spawn.  Not because of the whole argument over the ethics of fishing for them (and the fish around them at spawn), but rather I just have moved on to other species.  This year, after a friend had an epic outing, I was convinced I needed to spend one more day chasing them.  I ended up choosing a weekday that was as beautiful of a day as we had seen in 2019.  The bad part about that was a resurgence of anglers to compete with for space and fish that could see you just as much as you could see them.  Unless you are talking about park fish that are used to being fed by people, fish that can see you are always weary of feeding.  Adding to all of these things working against me was the fact that I was fly fishing.  Simply put – I am average at best with the fly rod.

What I lack in skill, I make up for with persistence.  When other anglers move on to other pools or different locations, I just keep fishing.  I’m not even sure if this is a good or bad trait, but it does pay off with a fish now and then.  After hours of fishing with only 3 hookups, I finally managed a take that held firm all the way through landing.  The strong fish combined with rather shallow water made for a very chaotic memorable fight.  I’ll consider it a fun day, despite only one catch!

Pond fishing success

A good sized pond Largemouth Bass

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – Every now and then pond fishing can yield a real nice fish.  I have access to a few and it had been some time since one of the better fish had been caught.  With my recent ability to get out fishing a little more, the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak was getting a nice fish.  While not a complete monster, it was big enough to quicken the pulse, and keep fish energy high!

My friend Nate, who is an exceptional fisherman, made a very good point recently to me about how if I take my spinning gear and my fly gear – I wont really get better or develop as a fly fisherman.  I know he is 100% accurate as I have found this to be true.  While I really need to perfect my skills in tributaries, I still think even on ponds and lakes I should apply this.  I know this will produce fewer catches at least early on – and I need to accept this as a necessity to get more fly proficient.  Leaving my trusted gear behind, I did one trip with just the 4 wt. fly rod.  I used a minnow pattern to catch some fair sized Bluegill and considered the effort successful.  Only one small bass was caught on the fly but at least there was upside in that the smaller Bluegill didn’t have mouths big enough to get hooked.  This served to cull the smaller fish without ever having to land and handle them… a definite bonus.  I need to commit to more trips with only fly gear in tow.

Midland Painted Turtle

More exciting for my kids then any of the fish recently caught, was a Midland Painted Turtle that I was able to grab and let them admire for a few minutes.  My ‘dad status’ has been legendary after this feat and there are numerous discussions around them wanting a pet turtle.

Cooler weather, bass still hot

It wont be long before we are all longing for the warm weather and days with more light.  Even on the north coast of Ohio where the colder weather months reward us with Steelhead fishing and excellent ice fishing opportunities, I still find myself wanting to hold on to every day of ‘T-shirt weather’.  I’ve done an excellent job getting out fishing lately, but only one notable fish worthy of sharing.

CWF09272015lmbAfter countless Bluegill, a good Largemouth Bass

Certain water I fish has an abundance of Bluegill and Pumpkinseed, so much so that it is hard to catch anything else.  If you are persistent and patient, at times you can be rewarded with some nice fish.  This was the case recently when a solid Largemouth Bass showed the panfish who was boss, and beat everyone else to the fly.  Maybe one day I will get good enough to figure out some flies the panfish ignore and only trigger the bass, but for now I enjoy the work of catching everything and the excitement when a fish like this is landed.  My 4 year old son has been joining me and catching plenty of bass on bait, so the bass truly are still very active.  I hope it stays this way for awhile!

CWF09302015bullA surprise bullhead on an olive Woolly Bugger

Anyone who fishes regularly knows what you expect to catch and what decides to bite can be surprising.  This recently proved true for me when a bullhead decided to take my fly.  For whatever reason, even when bottom fishing, I don’t encounter bullhead often so it was cool to see something different.