This is the second part of a November fishing trip to Great Lake tributaries in western New York. You can read part I here.
Small Water, Big Fish.
We began drifting egg patterns and hooking up with some very impressive specimen. It was mostly all brown trout for the next two days--only a couple of salmon were hooked and not one steelhead was seen. What lacked in variety was certainly made up in size. The average brown was larger than anything we encountered at Oak Orchard. The quality of trout was also much better too because there was so much less angling pressure. Their mouths had less hook marks and there weren't flies dangling from their fins. In the smaller stream with less anglers to avoid, netting fish was slightly easier here as well, though there were instances when big trout ran down rapids with an angler and net-man frantically chasing in tow.
All of these huge fish also tested our gear. One of our two nets succumbed to the weight with a snapped handle. It must have been comical to watch us using it like a basket for the rest of the trip, but we made it work. Even more ridiculous was when the top half of my 8-weight fly rod snapped like a twig on the biggest trout I had ever hooked. My friends got a hardy laugh as I continued to fight and land the beast with the broken rod. To make matters worse, I had left my backup rod at the cabin (horrible decision). Tommy let me borrow his truck and I was pulled over on the side of the highway within 20 minutes. To make matters worse, my wallet was in Aaron's vehicle, but the state trooper seemed to believe my story because I was donning wet waders and there was a broken rod in the shotgun seat. That didn't keep him from slapping me with a hefty ticket, though it made for a good stream-side story when I finally returned.
|Kurt with a King salmon in good condition.|
|Aaron with a beautiful hen that is dropping one of her eggs in this photo.|
|There were a few double hookups, including this beautiful pair of kype-jawed males.|
|This 14-pound male brown was the heaviest of the trip and deserved a (nearly complete) group shot.|
At times the small creek fishing felt like Disneyland for trout bums. It was hard to believe that there were fish so large in a waterway so small. Everyone in the crew got to experience the feeling of hooking and landing a monster brown. The small tributary scouting turned out to be the best decision made over the course of the trip and I'm sure it will play a role in fall planning for years to come.
We left early on Sunday without casting a fly, even though it was the nicest day weather-wise of the trip. It was a long haul back to Connecticut, but we all were riding high on adrenaline. In the end, the excursion to western New York was truly a memorable one. Five buddies with nothing on the agenda but to fish, eat and drink--good times indeed!
Some broken gear, a speeding ticket and a boatload of memories were what we left western New York with.