I have been working at The Fly Rod Shop since 2011. This summer will be my fourth season of guiding for the shop. However, in the three years I’ve been here, I had never traveled to western New York to fish for Steelhead. Here at the shop this is tantamount to blasphemy. Let me provide a little history to put that last statement in perspective. Bob grew up fishing this river, and now he and Josh spend over 10 weeks of the year guiding on the Great Lakes Tributaries. My fellow-guide and fishing buddy, Parker, makes the trip at least four times annually. When we travel to fishing trade shows, Bob is always a featured speaker regarding Great Lakes Steelhead Fishing. The point is that The Fly Rod Shop, and it’s owner, Bob Shannon, are well recognized for their knowledge and experience in regard to this spectacular fishery.
Well, I am no longer a heretic in the eyes of my fellow guides, as I finally made the trip this past weekend. I have been baptized in Steelhead blood (metaphorically speaking, all fish caught and released), and radicalized by the Raven Revolution (the preferred float system used by our guides). The first morning I hiked into one of the fly fishing zones. As I passed a small creek, I noticed dozens of large Steelhead doing their spawning dance in the shallow riffles and pools. Needless to say, this sight made me giddy with anticipation. Though the river was a little high (2000 CFS), we found fish-filled water in the soft spots, and along the banks. The fish were hitting egg flies, San Juan Worms, and streamers. I fished egg flies under a Raven Float 99% of the time, and had success everyday.
Over the course of the weekend, I played well over a dozen fish, and landed eight. We fished in cold, rainy weather, and I could not of cared less. The sight of these fish, the rush of playing them on a fly rod, and the satisfaction of landing one, trumped any lousy weather mother nature threw at us. I cannot describe the power of these fish, and the excitement you’ll feel while playing these fish on a fly rod. It’s something you have to experience firsthand. What I can say is that I had a great time, and I plan to go back again, many times.