Image used by permission from @kathryn.brylinsky
Lake Ontario And Summary
Like in the movies, when a woman slaps a man for being fresh, and the man does not expect it. So Mother Nature slapped the region with some sub-zero weather. The previous week we saw temperatures hovering around the high fifties, and then within a day, temperatures just dropped. The sudden drop, along with wind and snow, made fishing difficult on the Salmon River. Not many anglers could brave the cold. Those who braved the cold were only able to get out for a short time. Anglers had bundled up, but the biggest reason for coming back in was equipment issues. Many could not continue with reels freezing up, and rod guides continuing to get iced up.
The cold weather also brought shelf ice and slush on the river, so getting a good drift was difficult during the coldest days. However, despite the cold, the anglers who were able to get out were surprised by getting into fish. The guides on drift boats who went out were also finding success during the cold weather.
This Coming Weekend
The good news is that the weather will be milder than what we had in the last week.
The bad news is that water levels are dropping down to 350 CFS which is not ideal Steelhead fishing water levels. Best recommendation is to do as Chad Tokowicz suggested in last week’s Steelhead Pro Tips which is to go small.
Fishing is going to be best in the deeper slow pools. There was not much slush in the main areas, but as shelf ice starts melting, it might send some slush down, but we do not think it will be an issue this weekend. Fish are going to be skittish this weekend as the water drops but if you find a deep pool with overhead cover, you might be able to find some fish willing to play.
Pro Tips For Fishing Steelhead
Image used by permission from @streamwalkernets
Four pro tips for winter Steelhead fishing on Great Lakes tributaries from Leif Mermagen of @streamwalkernets. Streamwalkernets are some of the best handmade nets specifically designed and produced in Upstate NY, but they serve anglers that fish migratory fish all over the US, Canada, and worldwide. Many anglers have had the misfortune of having that PB heartbreak at the net. Leif gives us four tips to avoid heartbreak and get that big fish in the net.
1. Relax, do not rush it. Many heartbreaks at the net are due simply to overexcitement by the angler trying to horse a fish into a net. Relax, take your time, and get the fish ready to be netted.
2. Headfirst. Always try to get them in headfirst, so if they try to swim away, they will go into the net. A fish cannot swim backward.
3. Net in shallow water. The most effective way to net a fish is to bring that fish into shallower water (6-15 inches). It will be much easier than in deeper water as the fish has more leverage in deeper water.
4. Get a net man. As rods have become longer, it makes it difficult to net fish by yourself, so we encourage that you fish with a buddy who is willing to go on net duty and vise versa.
Douglaston Salmon Run
Due to the weather, the Douglaston Salmon Run did not see many anglers. One day the weather was so bad that wind, slush, and brutal cold made the fishing impossible according to their report. For this weekend look to see more anglers as the weather improves. As the water will be going down the fish will be hiding in the bigger holes. Look to drift slowly with smaller presentations and that may get you some tugs.
Town and Pulaski
Due to high water and cold, there was no fishing in the usual winter holes like Upper Staircase and Long Bridge. However, some of the side channels had some Steelhead that had gone in there during the high water periods. For this weekend look for fish in the bigger holes like Staircase, Long Bridge and the Town Pool.
81 to Altmar
The cold brought some slush and shelf ice on the upper part of the river. A few days ago there was no slush but some shelf ice which may break off or be unstable as the weather warms up. Be cautious as you walk out to wade. During the last week, fishing was somewhat decent on the upper part of the river. The drift boats that we’re able to fish had happy clients because they got into fish. For this coming weekend, we recommend that you find areas that have overhead coverage and deep pools. Also, water is going to be clear, so light line and small presentations are going to be the key.