Nick Pionessa admires a nice spring steelhead.
Winter is finally loosening its grip on upstate New York although it still didn’t feel that way earlier in the week when I fished with Nick Pionessa, manager at the Oak Orchard Fly Shop in Williamsville. In water that was stained by the slow melt of a significant snow pack in the surrounding hills, we found some active fish as the water temperatures warmed near 40 degrees in the afternoon. In water with such limited visibility as 18 to 24 inches, big black and purple patterns seem to consistently work best in bringing steelhead to the fly. Nick had the hot hand for the day while putting on a clinic as how to hook and land spring steelhead on the swung fly. With the water temperature on the rise some good spring fishing should be upon us.
This has clearly not been one of my better winter steelhead seasons. Despite stretches of mild weather I have not felt much love on my western New York rivers. I broke out of a slump today with a dark fish that grabbed a deep swung bunny spey. It was a very cold day with a gnawing north wind. I had a couple other cold water grabs. I hope it is a sign of better fishing this spring.
I will be giving a presentation on Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead next Saturday March 23rd at an annual event called Tie One On in Syracuse, NY. I will also be available all day to sign my new book. The venue for the event is Barbagallos Restaurant, 6344 East Mallory Road, East Syracuse, NY. For more details visit the website for the Iroquois Chapter of Trout Unlimited. http://www.iroquoistu.org