Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Old acquaintances, familiar waters, and old friends

This past Christmas was nice.  The new families members all got together and played like all children do that are under the age of two!  It was nice to be home, but I could not stop thinking about how wonderful it will be to go fish some of the Lake Erie tributaries on the Monday after the holiday.  I kissed my wife good bye and she headed home.  I got all my stuff together.  On this outing I took my TFO 11’ 8wt (rated for 400-600 grains) to the river.  I would string up the large arbor Battenkill number five with the Scientific Angler Supra Skagit 500 grains.  This line has a head of 27 feet.  I ran a 5’9” section of T14. This set up for the flows I was dealing with today would be the sweet spot in my humble opinion.  The total grain weight of this exact set up is 580.50 grains.  I would wade down to the lowest possible area at day break to swing for any steelhead that might be hanging out.  I swung my Sculpinzilla.  The pattern looks awesome wet better than I had planned for it.  It’s defiantly made for sinking! I did not have any takers.  The T14 tip was good for the flows all day.  The area has had no snow, and everything I saw did not have any frost on it.  The ground is saturated with water.  I waded out from my first section, and proceeded to watch an angler walk right across the river.  He never said “hey do you mind if I cross here” or anything.  I reeled up my line and proceeded to choke him with it “allegedly”.   No, I did not do anything I just walked on by him praying someday he would lose his stupidity.  I don’t like fishing around people I don’t know and that one be just another reason I hate fishing around people.  So I got a call from a friend and he said they would be at access X on the river.  I thought cool I will go swing some flies laugh and see him.  I walked up stream and saw him, and said “hey is this where the cool kids hang out”?  He laughed and said how you been?  I said the holidays have been great but it’s good to see you.  He had a young lad with him Mario from all indications for being only 14 I believe can swing a mean switch rod.   I proceeded to walk up stream with my friend to yet another gentleman he was fishing with.   I watched the accomplished fly fisherman cast with an effortless stroke.  That’s what I enjoy about two hander fishing.  The less effort you put into it the better your cast is.  He later offered some great advice to help me with my casting stroke.  I took it all in and he was right jus ta little tweek made my cast go from 35 feet to 45 feet!  I thanked him cause I have never had a reel idea what I'm doing, and have never been critiqued.  I shook my friends hand and he went on fishing.  I walked up about 400 yards and began to swing through some nice pockets, runs and riffles.  I would lose quite a few flies here!  I did not tie on my Sculpinzilla.  I fished intruders purple over black, blue over black, and black over purple.  Not one grabs or nibbles.  I did not care I was on vacation up here for three days of this so I was bound to at least hook up once or so I thought.   We fished along the same stretch of water for about an hour.  They left before me and proceeded up stream.  I went to knock on a door of an old friend and ask him if I could fish behind in house in the valley.  He granted me access and seemed to be really happy I still ask after all these years.  I walked down into the 300 foot gorge.   I saw no traces of anyone else being here.  That’s one thing about this place it’s a haul to get in and out.  I saw remnants of the Bald Eagle nests.  I was surprised not to see them this year.  I normally see one of them when I snap a branch of two on purpose.  They normally peek out of their nests and look at me!  Well no fish where hooked in this section but once again it was all about being alone with hopes of possibly hooking a fish. Well enjoy the pictures!














Thursday, December 22, 2011

Steelhead Nerds!

Here is a website you folks may not know of. http://weatherspark.com/#!dashboard;ws=29769 its a great site for weather.

Ramblings, Mumblings of the Great Lakes Steelheader

Sometimes I wonder how people make it through the day.  I miss the rivers I used to fish.  I miss the fish and the rawness of the Great Lakes. 
This past fishing trip was the best prescription a doctor could write.  I know my wife said I could fish over Christmas holiday.  I may fish and I may not.  I like winter steelhead fishing to a point. 

Here in the Great Lakes we have brutal temperatures.  The water cools and holds the colder temperatures coupled with any wind makes slush.  This slush creates a problem for winter steelheaders.  Slush creates side ice along the rivers and creeks.  This will eventually cause sheets of ice to form all over the rivers.  The ice will lock up rivers and creeks.  The fishing leading up to these events can be great but the timing can be very difficult.  The air temps are so cold and coupled with the cold water temps makes casting fly very difficult. Radial ice forms around fly line and the leader material. This after awhile turns into cable? The longer you cast it the bigger the diameter of the radial ice gets.   Now in saying this we have had a bizarre warm beginning to winter over the last two weeks.  I’m going to pack up my pellet head fishing gear and head to the shores of Lake Erie next week.

My lovely wife has given me a three day fishing pass.  Compounded by the fact there is zero snow on the ground and no ice in the rivers I will be fishing.  I’m taking my custom Feathercast 10’6” 6wt switch and my TFO 8wt 11’ switch rods!  I will take my full spey just in case the Grand is fishable!  Well folks have a safe and happy holiday!


Cheers,


Tom

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grain Weight, Rod Weight who is confused!

Well to tell you the truth the entire two handed rod industry could not have made us more confused.  Why do they sell switch rods with a line rating on them?  Does anyone own a switch rod that is a 6wt that is strapped with a 6 weight line?  I really doubt it due to the fact a switch rod or a two hander needs to be rated in grain weight only.  For those even more confused by this let me explain. I own two TFO switch rods one 5wt rated from 250-450 grains, and an 8wt that’s rated for a grain weight window of 400-600 grains.  I don’t have a grain scale yet, but I do know it takes a SA Mater Series steelhead Taper in a 7 weight (for the 5wt) and a 10 weight (for the 8wt) to load the rod correctly.  So how in the hell can you load a rod correctly with a 5 weight or 8 weight lines?  You simply can’t load the rods correctly by line weight alone.  I just feel the industry has missed the bus again and has a lot of us confused, and some people are just afraid it’s too difficult to line a rod properly.  Sorry for the rant, but I just wanted to help someone!


Tom

Monday, November 21, 2011

Good times, great food, and some good ole fishing!

Warning some of the tactics use in the following blog entry used a spinning rod with flies on it “sorry to disappoint”!  I have been planning this fishing trip for about 8 months.  I traveled with Seth and Jim on this adventure.  Anyone who knows me knows how ADD, OCD, and anal retentive I am.  I looked at every possibility to get the maximum affect.  I wanted to fish the Cattaraugus Creek so bad I could taste it, but she never came down fishable levels.   The storm that ripped through the southern tier of New York dumped a few inches of rain.  The winds had been howling at 20-30 mph.  The next Saturday was the first day of gun season “double bonus”!   I would take a new friend (Seth) with me and introduce him to the largest Great Lakes tributary he will ever fish!  I know through the grape vine that all the king salmon where huge this year so I was hoping the rest of the migrating fish would follow suit.  There are several green King around.  We arrived on the banks of the Lake Ontario tributary at about 0530.  We rigged our rods. O my I almost forgot!  We stopped at Dunkirk Wal-Mart and had so much fun getting our fishy license!  I have never had an issue getting a license until today.  Number one I told the walrus working at the front desk we are here to purchase fishing licenses.  She with her tusks barked out at us “well we will get someone there” sorry to have bothered you at 0230 I thought to myself!   So we proceeded to go to the sportsman section to purchase them.  Why on Earth would they send someone back there that does not know how to do this?  It’s like if you had some fine black silk pillows and you wanted to take care of them would you just give them to any Laundromat, or would you give them the love and attention they deserve somewhere else?  Instead we had to call for reinforcements.  They called the manager to help her.  Needless to say we got through it “one hour later “.  So, back to the river bank!  We waited for first light with our rods rigged up!  I was fishing today with my full spey Reddington CPX 9wt and my Galvan T14. The fly line is a 675 gr RIO Skagit flight head attached with a 14’ long section of T17 for a total of 913 grains!  This rod could easily handle more grain weight.  I would also bring the egg beater!  The egg beater gets flies put on it too don’t worry no bait!  I would begin to swing the grey over white 1” copper tube fly at first light.  I would connect with a very irritated 5-7 pound class Brown Trout.  He had been in the river a little while. See picture below, photo taken by Jim Stuart “sorry for the low light horrible picture”.

This would be the only fish I would connect with on the spey rod.  This was not due to the lack of trying.  I changed patterns all the time.  I also changed tips over and over again changing fly patterns!  I even changed the length of the tippet material.  So I brought the egg beater to plunge the depths of the river! I just put simple egg blood dot patterns on her chartreuse, pink, and orange on a 2488H hook size 14.  The first day I hooked 9 huge Lake Trout and did not land a one!  Those bull dogging fellers where strong and huge this year!  I should have changed to heavier leader material on my Avid St Croix a Western style spinning rod.  I was running 12 pound mainline.  I was only using an eight pound test leader to start with (a good friend said go heavier)!  So we left the river banks defeated, but with high hopes for tomorrow!  I brought an eggbeater because I was going to get into fish by every legal technique possible!  This was one of the few trips I have ever been on where I needed to hook a fish bad!  I needed to feel the strike and the strength of the fish to help me reconnect.  After being up for about 30 some hours we decided to go check into the hotel, and get something to eat.  Our first food choice would be http://www.thewilsonhouserestaurant.com they have some great food and spirits, and with a great price point too!  See a picture below of the meal I ate.   They had a horrific band playing there, but the more drunk the audience got the better they
sounded I guess!

The hotel we stayed at was a great new little place called Lakeview Motel and Cottages.  Wally & Chris Nowacki owns’ the place.  Wally and Chris are great people. They treated us fairly and where very tentative to our needs during our stay!  This was so close to everything for us in the immediate area.  The can be found here http://www.lakeviewmotelandcottage.com , and the prices were great also! See pictures below.  Wally thanks for those nice tokens of your generosity! 


View from room Lake Ontario in the back ground
The smoking and burbon drinking area

Seth, and I getting ready to disembark the hotel!

The second day of being on the River I was feeling a little outmatched by these fish.  We walked down to our spots and once again waited for day break.  The Lakers were busting bait all over the place.  The noises they were making was amazing some little splashes and some huge splashes.  I forgot to mention the bait I saw along the river banks.  I have seen small ribbons of bait before, but this time it was different.  The bait was so thick I would not call it thousands but hundreds of emerald shiners where up against the shoreline.  This day would prove to be the best day for me as far as quality fish.  The first fish I would land would be a Laker in the high teen pound weight class.

He would take a size 14 pink blood dot tied on a 2488H hook.  He was hook directly in the front of the mouth.  The fight seemed to last forever with these fish this year.  I almost did not want to hook a large fish.  We stayed at the River for most of the day.  The rest of the crew did not hook a fish.  I will say something the River Guides on the bank did a great job staying away from us.  The boat traffic was very bearable.  The color of the River was clear out to 18” but after that it was a deep emerald green. 
Here are some more fishy tanks!

































Photo by Jim Stuard "my new fave picture"!

What you cant get from this picture was the immense size of the speciman. I was solo holding on to dear life by his tail. He was at least a 20# laker and the girth well it was immense! He fought for so long I had to return him to the water fast! His body was so long I could not fit in into the picture frame. He will forever be in my brain!










I will say one thing every place we ate at was awesome!  The Steelhead Pub in Lewiston, New York is closed “the end of an era for me”.  We found a new place across the street.  This place you can wear your waders and walk right in off the river!  We had some amazing food, spirits, and the prices are awesome.  The Brickyard Pub and BBQ will be our go to spot in Lewiston, NY from now on "awesome brew options". It can be found at http://www.brickyardpub.com. Take a look at the pictures below!  Sometimes no matter how great the game the chase is more fun than the catching isn’t that right my friend?













I could not get this picture to rotate! Shaved prime rib sandwhich one pound and sweet potato fries pricess!











We did go to another Great Lakes tributary to fish.  I felt bad that they guys did not hook fish and I called a good friend of mine to help us out.   The river is hard one to bust your cherry on!  He took us to another tributary that was much smaller.  The creek has a lot of chrome in it.  This is where Seth would hook his fish.  He hooked steelhead and was very impressed by their power.  Seth is a diehard warm water fishery fly fishermen.  He had no idea what to expect.  He loves Whipers and fishes about 180 days out of the year for them.  The following pics are from there. 

















Jim Stuard getting some!

























Beat and battered we began on Sunday to head home.  The weather going home was good until Columbus, Ohio. The rain started and made the drive a little pain in the butt.  Well I want to thank all my friends who helped me with some great information and suggestions.  I’m sure this will not be the last trip up north for Seth. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Well folks the trip was amazing

Sitting here in Bob Evans waiting our departure. The full blog entry to be later this week. Have a great day!

Tom

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

8 Days Untill Vacation Folks!

I will have a full report on here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not more mercury for the Ohio River!

OHIO  RIVER  VALLEY  WATER  SANITATION  COMMISSION
5735 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, OH  45230    www.orsanco.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   Contact: Jeanne Ison, 513-231-7719

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is requesting public comment on a request for a variance from its Pollution Control Standards provision which prohibits mixing zones for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern beginning no later than October 16, 2013.  The request for a variance was received from PPG Industries, Natrium, WV facility and is in regard to their discharge of mercury to the Ohio River.

The Commission is accepting comments from the public from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2011.  Subsequently, the Commission’s Pollution Control Standards Committee will consider the request and supporting information, as well as public comments received, and develop a recommendation as to final disposition of the variance request.  Following development of that recommendation, a second 45-day public comment period will be held prior to the full Commission’s final decision. 

Comments should be received in writing at the Commission headquarters, 5735 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati, OH  45230 or by email at pcs@orsanco.org  no later than Dec. 15, 2011.  For more information on the variance request, visit ORSANCO’s website at www.orsanco.org or call ORSANCO offices at 513-231-7719.

ORSANCO is the water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries.  Member states include:  Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  The federal government is also represented.

November 1, 2011

PCS@orsanco.org
5735 Kellogg Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45230
513-231-7719 Phone
513-231-7761 Fax
www.orsanco.org
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Great Man has Died!

This story was writtyen by Tatiana Pina  of the The Providence Journal Co.,

Priest dies after jumping off Newport bridge

The Rev. Dennis. J. Rocheford, 60, a long-time military chaplain and pastor at St. Ann Parish in North Oxford, Mass., died after jumping off the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge last Thursday, according to Rhode Island State Police.
Rocheford was on leave from St. Ann and also had been serving at the Chapel of Hope at the Naval Station Newport.
The state police received a call around 8 a.m. about a unattended vehicle on the center span of the bridge, according to Capt. James Swanberg. Newport police also went to the scene. When the police looked over the bridge railing they saw someone face down in the water, Swanberg said.
The Coast Guard and a Jamestown Fire Marine unit were dispatched to retrieved Rocheford's body. He was given medical treatment and taken to Newport Hospital where he was pronounced dead, Swanberg said.
The Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, responded to Rocheford's death on the diocese Web site. "It is with profound sadness that I ask the Catholic Community to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Dennis Rocheford. The diocese of Worcester was blessed over the years through his priestly ministry in parishes in Worcester, Fitchburg, Hopedale, Clinton, Blackstone and North Oxford. Many members of the military were also comforted by his dedicated service as a Catholic chaplain whether in Iraq or at Naval and Marine Corps bases at home. May his soul rest in the peace of the Risen Christ. Father Rocheford's death was tragic, but our faith teaches us that we must not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives... "
Rocheford became pastor of St. Ann Parish on July 1, according to Raymond Delisle, spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester. Rocheford lived part of the time at the St. Ann Parish rectory and at his personal residence in Jamestown, Delisle said.
After graduating from high school in Worcester, Rocheford joined the Marine Corps and served for three years, 13 months of which was spent in Vietnam. He received two Purple Heart medals and was awarded a Bronze Star for gallantry in action.
Rocheford was ordained a priest in June of 1977 and later joined the Naval Chaplain Corps serving in numerous military campaigns including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Before St. Ann he served as pastor at St. Teresa Parish in Blackstone, Mass
***********************************************************************************
The following is my input!

Yes Lt.Cmdr. & Rev. Dennis J. Rocheford (USMC) is a great man! He was also a survivor of the Battle at Hue city! He would hump pack with the Grunts knowing everyones name! I was baptised by him and the Bishop in Liberia, Africa. He guided me through some really dark times in my life. He was enlisted before and then became an officer if that does not tell you something about him. I cant type any more need to whipe my face. Rest in Peace sir and know you have touched the lives of many and have saved them all in one way or another!

Your Brother in Arms,

Tom




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sorry....it has been awhile!

I will be headed to the Lake Ontario tributaries on November 17 and fishing until Sunday. My lovely wife had her knee surgery and is recovering at home. So until my wife is safe to leave at home I will be doing nothing other than working! So stay tuned folks it’s going to 35 days until I get hopefully into some Char, Steelhead or Browns! Pray for rain the Great Lakes needs it. This will be and ugly fall if we dont get any rain. For those who love Fall like I do almost spend as much time looking at her colors than fishing!

Be well,

Tom

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quality over Quantity!

I talked with a friend of mine Terry and we would get together on a large tributary of the Ohio River today for some casting practice. On this section of water there is a riffle tailout that I dream of hooking a fish out of. I have fished there a few times and normally end up fishless. Its these challenges that drives me to return. I grabbed my 6wt switch by Feather Cast Rods, and my Redington Cpx 13’9” 9wt spey rod.  I’m using a RIO Skagit Flight head 675 grain armed with a 191.25 grain (11.25’ long) piece of T17. This section of the river has a wicked gradient over the length of the river we fished today. On my switch rod I ran 375 grain Rio Skagit Spey Short, and the tip I used was an 84 grain (6’) piece of T14. This was to cover the more shallow slower current seams.  I fished a small shad tube 1/8”x 1/2” copper tube and the hook was offset to the rear by four small glass beads. This put the hook into the last quarter of the fly. This is my preferred area for my hooks when I swing patterns. Terry and I met at Wendy’s to head to the river. We arrived at the river and walked down to the water’s edge. I looked at the deep riffle and thought O come on just cooperate just once! I swung the big stick and covered all the deep seams and current breaks with long casts and short casts. I was just about to switch to the switch rod when I felt a heavy thump on the rod! I was hooked up on a fish. It was no match for the rod but it did let me know it took my tube fly. I did not have to put the fish on the reel but when I brought it to hand it was a little irritated Saugeye about 16” in length. It was pretty and wanted to to get back into the river quickly so sorry no pictures of the two handed caught Saugeye. I automatically went to the river bank and lit up a cigar. I watched Terry cast his Scandi setup and took all of what Mother Nature was delivering this morning.  I often find myself fishing off the beaten path. I fish off into another direction all the time hoping for some great outcome. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it does not. I look for the quality experience anymore and not the quantity of fish I can catch! Terry and I switched spots and I waded out to a small rock shoal. I looked at the water and she was moving at five hundred cubic feet a second so you just have to use your brain in these low summer flows and stay out of trouble! I was in the middle of the river swinging down and across in front of a huge wood pile. I would get again the shock of my day! I hooked a gar on the swing. I was happy I used 12 pound test tippet. The gar jumped three times. I thought to myself great. I just hook a spastic gar and its going to rip me to shreds when I go to retrieve the hook. After watching it cartwheel the third time I managed to reel all my line in and have it resting along the shoal in the water. She was about 30 inches long and actually pretty subdued.  I did get Terry’s attention. I yelled help me out please. He walked up the bank to take my backpack to grab my camera. She almost swallowed the hook. I saw the hook protruding from her armored skin. I cut the tippet and pulled the hook out the hole that was already made.  I did this so I would not have to contend with here 1,000 teeth! Enjoy the pictures folks!  She swam away no blood no worse for wear!