Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Gorgeous shot from Kurt Budliger
I got pretty excited on Saturday about heading over to the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY to do some steelhead fishing. A good friend had been over there earlier in the week and he and his buddies had hooked a lot of fish and landed quite a few too. Then the rain hit on Wednesday and blew the river out which was going to bring in a whole lot of new fish. That got me thinking.... 

The Rusty Spinner and my old friend Ben have been trying to get me to go steelheading with them for a while now. I met Ben back in college when we were both sculpture students. I was in my fly fishing infancy then but already horribly addicted. Ben was using spinning gear and had no desire to try the long rod. Somehow it worked. I think the beer might have helped. Ben and Mr Spinner have known each other a long time and somehow Ben had a fly rod epiphany a few years ago thanks to Rusty's encouragement.  

Well the long and the short of it was that Ben got a call last minute that he had to work on Sunday and could not go fishing. Rusty and I had an interesting chat about Ben on Facebook, realizing that we could not break his thumbs because the opposable thumbs that Ben has are the only thing that keeps him from being an ape. And we might try again this coming weekend (if it isn't bone chilling cold).  

I was all ready to steelhead and fired up for it. I started making some calls to friends. I suspected that the rain we got might have brought a few fish into a local river. Fortunately my buddy and photographer extrordinaire Kurt Budliger was able to get out with me. We were on the river the next morning. I am not going to mention the name of the river. There are already plenty of people who are touting how great this fishery is when the reality is that it is doing alright but would do a whole lot better if it weren't getting a ton of pressure. Sometimes the most important thing you can do for a resource is to not say a lot about it instead of promote it to death. But some people will never understand that...
Perfect conditions!
We got there and looked at the river. It was steelhead green with about 18-24 inches of visibility. Perfect! Just the right flow, great color, great visibility, so I thought we might be in for a good time. I was right. I had a fish on within the first 45 minutes or so. Not a bad fish, definitely under 20 inches, but respectable for a Vermont steelhead. We walked, talked and fished. The river was nice. 

We decided to head in the opposite direction after a while and later in the afternoon fishing a similar spot to where I got into my first fish, I found another player. Similar size too. The fish had my 6 weight doubled nicely. My guides were iced up pretty well though. I was a bit concerned with that. Kurt and I took turns breaking ice from my tip top and first few guides. I had on 3X Orvis Mirage tippet so I wasn't freaking out, but a good quick surge from the fish could have lost it. It tuckered out and I got it with my net. Beautiful 19" steelie. We got a few pics and sent him back on his way.
Just starting to get colored up
We didn't get any more bumps or see anything else for the rest of the day. It didn't matter though. It was a great day to be out on the water with a friend.

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