Ontario Tribs Report [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Ontario Tribs Report

11-11-2002, 01:03 PM
Took last week off for a trip to NY to fish various Lake Ontario tribs for lake run browns and steelhead.

Stopped in Pulaski on Sunday to fish the DSR in a snowstorm. Only 7 cars in the lot! Lots of fresh steelhead in the river of which I landed 2 out of 5 hookups. I also broke my Sage while fighting a fish which cut the day short.

Next 3 days fished the Oak Orchard and various other small creeks in the Rochester area. Highlights included an 11# hen which hammered an egg pattern at my feet and a 15# buck which fell for a wolly bugger at Oak Orchard. Lots of people on the water. All fish released.

Met up w/Fishyboy and Talented Willie for a few more days on the Salmon river in Pulaski. Cold weather and bright sunshine slowed things down considerably. Not many people hooking up but I managed a 17# buck on a 1 for 4 outing on Thursday. Friday and Saturday were really slow with the crowds and I was lucky enough to go 1 for 1 and 1 for 2 on consecutive days.

All in all, loads of fun on the river and a few laughs with some of the finer gentlemen I have had the pleasure to fish with.

Once I figure out how to post pictures I will try to get the photos up.

Dave :smokin:

11-11-2002, 02:19 PM
Nice report, I delayed my michigan trip due to low water, no steelhead, and some unannounced honey dews. From my michigan contacts it was a good decision.

Sounds like at least there are numbers of steelies in NY. How about those big brownies, no touches ?

Look forward to the pictures particularly that 15# and 17# we don't get to land many of those out here in log infested tight bended michigan rivers.


11-11-2002, 02:30 PM

Sorry to hear the weather did not cooperate with you. I am still learning this fishery but I think weather impacts it more than any fishery I have ever experienced.

I should have been more specific in my post. The 15# was a big male brown. Have pics too.

I wouldn't say there are a ton of fish in the river right now. The only real chromers I saw were moving up under the shadow of snow on sunday. Lots of browns at the Oak but the standing in line thing gets kind of old quick.

Any ideas on how to get these pics up? Couldn't find instructions in the FAQ section....


11-11-2002, 04:08 PM
No instructions in FAQs, picture must be no greaterthan 100 x 100 height and width, and 30K bytes. Good luck reducing them, I always have problems.

Can't wait to see the pictures though.

Yep agree I would never wait in line to fish unless I had a 75% probability of touching steel on the first couple of casts and I don't think any place can guarantee that. If you can out there let me know.


11-11-2002, 06:03 PM
I was lucky enough to fish with Big Dave, Talented Willie, and the BIG UNIT this past week on New York's best kept secret...the Salmon River. On Wednesday I had fantastic action on my own for some of the monster lake run browns that frequent the various tribs. this time of the year.(I landed seven browns up to 15-20lbs. and lost a number of others when I had to downsize to #16 trout flies inorder to hookup on these heavily pressured fish.)

All I can say is that I must have used up all of my luck on Wednesday for I seemed to have run out of it for the remainder of our stay(Especially on Friday when I was unable to fish due to an incapacitating condition that struck me all day! Beware of Margo and her friend Flo!) During the remainder of our trip I only managed one very brief hookup on a steelhead and one half dead salmon for my effort. Big Dave on the other hand mustered all his concentration, skill, and luck and proceeded to "school" us all in the art of fishing for chrome. His skill at drifting flies far and deep really proved the difference or maybe it was his secret, experimental flies!

All in all I had a good time despite my inability to catch chrome. The happenings of this weekend will forever be etched into my memory. Good Times....Good Times!

11-11-2002, 06:18 PM
You can find free image editors here:


PM had it half right; under 30k bytes but the pixels do not have to be 100x 100 as stated (that's the avatar).

11-12-2002, 10:01 AM
Oak Orchard Brown

11-12-2002, 11:00 AM
Try another "cast" need preciser drift the next time. Technology can be unforgiving like my wife.:D

11-12-2002, 11:05 AM
No kidding! Spent an hour trying to figure this out last night - very frustrating. Thank god my fishing skills are way ahead of my computer skills :chuckle:

11-12-2002, 11:36 AM
Keep trying, we want to see that big lake run brown, I assume it was lake run being that big. If its a river brown I will be on my way there soon I can assure you.

Good luck !

11-14-2002, 08:35 AM

Thanks for the pictures. They were truly awesome steelies and great lakes run browns. Now is the time for the big brownies in the tribs. Lets not post those pictures up here, don't want to get our PNW fly fishing colleagues and big brown trout hunters to excited and interested you know. :devil:



12-14-2002, 07:32 AM

You owe it to yourself to fish the Ontario (Province) of Superior.

Some truly wild fishing in a setting not to be matched.

12-14-2002, 09:44 AM
Yeah and that canadian hospitaility, exchange rate, and beer is also nice.

Superior country, Say Yes.

PM Out

P.S. Bring your camera, you will defintely catch more great scenery photos then steelhead but it will be memorable.

12-14-2002, 11:22 AM
The Steel run is a matter of timing, if you hit it right usually May even June you will have a ball. Nice thing about one river St. Marys is you never know what you will catch. I have caught a spawning King and a stud Rainbow all in the same drift, this was in July. Could not manage to get one Atlantic to hit, but I will be back.

12-14-2002, 12:00 PM
Yeah I have got to get to the St Marys, two aborted trips there, did not get past you know what Michigan LP rivers

12-14-2002, 01:10 PM
Lower p does not compare, something about seeing moose cross the road instead of deer that awes me.

12-15-2002, 12:44 PM
steelhead rivers are better and there are bigger fish in LP though, thats why the UPs, Minnesota, Cheese heads, hoosiers, Illini, and every one else come to LP.

12-15-2002, 03:03 PM
If better means a drift boat every 15 minutes and fisherman lining the banks then I will take the U.P.

Quality not quantity my man. guess we have different objectives.

12-15-2002, 08:49 PM
I would have to say that there is something about the numbers and quality of fish in the LP, and the fish are bigger(which I would never turn down). With Lake Michigan sustaining "perfect" temps throughout the year, it is a steelhead utopia! It allows fish to grow big, and many of the fish are wild. Lake Huron is unique as well. The many rivers and streams that littler the shorline can be void or full of fish, and it is always an adventure. Plus, there are many "no name" streams that harbor wild steelhead that have succesfully spawned. The abundance of forage in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is incredible. Smelt, perch and alewives are a large part of the diet of Lk Huron and Lk Michigan fish. Yeah so you have crowds at times, but many times you can be by yourself, especially in the remote destinations.

For the UP and Superior north shore....well, it has quality fish as well. What I mean by this is for example, the Erie tributaries. There is little natural reproduction, and fish are smaller but they have numbers or quanity. No doubt..... most Lk Superior fish are wild. Lake Superior does not have as many baitfish, and steelhead tend to feed on invertebrate, mysis shrimp, and smaller numbers of baitfish. They have a shorter growing season, and it takes Superior fish longer to grow. You can always expect to have some steelhead running into later june, and that potential of steel on a dry is possible. You usually are fishing along with wolves, bear and moose...that is neat!:rolleyes: There are little crowds, local dinners, and you probably hear "how's the fishin' eh'.... from the locals! :D

Hey, it is all what you prefer....:hehe:

For me, I will find my tranquilty at my home....the beach!;)

12-16-2002, 09:15 AM
Thats right Dan you can have all of the beachs to your self in the early morning especially, nothing like you and the big lake surf at dawn.

Mark, you can have tranquility and solitude on the LP rivers, you just need to know when and where to go. If you go during the height of the runs well that is what you are going to get. Also having to get up at 4 AM to claim your spot on the river is something I care not to do any more. At one time yes, I would do that, but not any more. Heck I used to hike 2 miles through the woods and high banks cross the river 3 times in the dark to get a couple of spots before any one else. When I got there I was sweating and the heart was pounding etc... God only knows how I ever fished.

The fish are not so important any more, but the fishing and chance for a quiet day of solitude in the outdoors is what is important to me.

North shore of Superior looks mighty tempting though to me.

12-16-2002, 09:33 AM
Dan could not have said this better "You can always expect to have some steelhead running into later june, and that potential of steel on a dry is possible. You usually are fishing along with wolves, bear and moose...that is neat! There are little crowds, "

I am no run fisherman, hate crowds and discovered week day fishing back in 1984. When the streams were full of fish and no fisherman any time. weekdays or weekends.

Only one truly huge Steelhead strain in Lake Mi. , Skamanias. problem with them is high mortality rate and way too many fisherman.

If I had a choice I'd fish as far north as possible, sometimes I can't, but when I do it is the most enjoyable fishing I ever had.

You need to try it you may just like it.

12-16-2002, 10:21 AM
Yep, I agree I know I would like it.

Maybe in 2003 a camping and canoe trip, planning needs to start soon.

BTW, if there is even just a 20% probability of catching a GL steelie on a dry I would give it a go. That has been a career objective for a long time. Have to talk to the guides about that at the show, that is one endevor I would consider hiring the right guide to accomplish the task. However, I bet you would need several days to accomplish it during the prime periods for drys when they are in the rivers and the air temp is greater than the water temps.

Pm Out

12-16-2002, 10:48 AM
Steel on dries, ah yes.

Bets fish to do it on Skamania, I have senn them smash floats.

You do have a chance in the UP to peg a steelie on dries, especially in the St. Marys. Rivers holds a bunch of fish year round. May even get an Atlantic to pop up and slurp one off the top.

12-16-2002, 11:54 AM
Please don't say any more I am getting too excited.:tsk_tsk:

Pm Out

12-16-2002, 02:26 PM
This has made me really excited, and I really would love to take a fish on a dry. It will have to wait, as the opportunities here are slim...

Well, that is my next goal for sure!:D

12-16-2002, 03:44 PM
Some michigan fly fishers were saying on the net this fall they caught some on drys, but who knows what the truth is.

Dave Richey the Out door writer for the Detroit Press who has fished michigan steelhead since the 70s, and was one of the first great lakes steelhead guides and author (i have his book on steelheading) stated he has never had one rise to a dry fly, now that tells you something.

PM Out

12-16-2002, 06:41 PM
Skamanias wil come up, they are the most agressive of all. Target fish that hit the rivers in May (before h2o is too hot).

When I spinner fished i would wake the spinners ala bass fishing, those darn fish would rip the rod out of my hand.

I have since given up on summer-runs, mortality rate is too high for my likes.

I could see a St. marys steelhead rise to a waked fly in July or August.

that river is a strange fishery, and I mean strange in a good way.

12-16-2002, 06:46 PM
There's a local MNR biologist who apparently specializes in taking steelies on a dry. The temps have to be up and the water conditions right but, apparently, it can be done.

BTW, the Grand (ON) is fishing pretty good. A couple of weeks ago at Caledonia, a float rodder took five out of one run while a group of spey rodders hooked into four or five. This area has seen an 18 pounder and a 21 pounder taken over the past few weeks. My luck has been a bit more modest with the cooling temps but on Friday, I did get a couple of strikes - one a good thump, the other that maddening pluck, pluck.

Since the river is quite broad at this point, they do get spread out except at the foot of the dam. It's a hard to work the dam area with a fly but the float rodders do pretty good.

12-16-2002, 07:05 PM
Those bloody float rodders are amazing. Fish are drawn to them like a magnet.

12-16-2002, 07:08 PM
21 pounder !! , the largest I have seen on the end of my line are a couple of 15 pounders heading back to Lake Michigan with my fly.

Saw a big one once in a PM log jam I could have sworn was a 20 LB. Iwas shaking so bad I could not get a fly presented to him though before he moved on.

12-16-2002, 07:41 PM
Hooked some 20+lb Skams years back. When I was foolish and did not know better. landed a 21 weighed it on a scale at the tackle shop. Gave it to my Dad to put on the barbie.

Go figure.

12-16-2002, 07:46 PM
Hal & gang:
15# is still considered a d@mn big fish, but
this one went 22.5#. Milwaukee River on a Lime marabou spider...

OK, the insert image applet didn't work. Here's a link:

12-16-2002, 08:52 PM


My pursuit continues with more urgency.:D

PM Out

P.S. Are you coming down to the Chicago Mid west show in January, see post in Great lakes section.

12-16-2002, 09:32 PM
Nice big head, I love em when they are colored up.

12-17-2002, 08:23 AM
Please no more pics of 20+ lb Gls steelhead on the forumn we do not want to advertize to much. :devil:

12-17-2002, 09:14 AM
I think the word is out. That is a pic of a really big skam if I'm not mistaken. Those Michigan fish don't get that big. Bloody minnows compared to that.:D

12-17-2002, 10:01 AM
Ah, yes, I remember that day (and year) very well. Not only did Joe catch that steelhead on that day (about December 6, 1993) he also caught over twenty additional steelhead that same day. The next day ( I swear) he brought out an Orvis one-weight and tried to get one on it. That was the year most of us saw the best steelheading we had ever had, but those days are past. That area is now extremely popular and has lost some of its holding water to high water and silting. It's still a good place, but nothing like it was that year. We took a lot of pictures of that fish, but the one Bob put up is probably the best overall. By the way, it was caught on a speyrod.

12-17-2002, 10:55 AM
I thought that was Joe, time has not changed him at all.

I seem to recall the early 90's being very good for Steel in NW Ind. I'll have to look back at my logs to verify. Don't you just love Skamania...

12-17-2002, 11:12 AM
Yes Skamania mania, gotta love those silvery beasts that seem to be on steroids ! :smokin: :smokin:

12-17-2002, 02:01 PM
Makes those Little Man fish look LITTLE!!!!!

12-17-2002, 02:02 PM
Mainistee, Chambers Creek, Garnaska, and McCloud strains don't get nearly as big as Skamania. The project for making the fishery used three, 3yr old skamanias, two females over 33" (late spawner and early spawners),and a alpha male over 36" to create the genetic balance for all our fish. The results have shown that the process was successful, these fish can be giants.

The largest steelhead in the Great Lakes I believe was a skamania that was 31.4oz and was stocked in Indiana waters but caught in Michigan waters....I am not 100% sure:rolleyes:

Still....you gotta love them!

12-17-2002, 03:02 PM
No doubt, but they really burn themselves out in the summer. Very few release well. Which is a dirty shame.

Too bad the Michiogan plants did not take off as expected, soem come back to the Mo' , Big Man, and PM. But not nearly enough.

Who knows maybe in 20 years there will be a large natural spawend fishery of them.

12-17-2002, 03:47 PM
That would be great. It might take more than that though.

As for skamania, yeah it is a shame but sometimes they can be revived, but that is why heavy tippets and tackle are best...they get the fish in faster!:D

12-17-2002, 07:15 PM
Been there with the heavy tippets, but when water temps are 70-74d you may as well take them home.

that is the reason I quit fishing for Skams. hate to kill such an awesome opponent.

12-17-2002, 08:32 PM
Agree, you have to keep them when the water is that warm.

My favorite GL steelhead strain along with wild LM and PM steelies.

PM Out

12-17-2002, 08:51 PM
Yeah I know, we kept all of ours we caught...water too warm.

PMflyfisher....PM fish are of the little manistee strain, that along with skamania are the only ones we stock in our waters.

Chambers creek strains spawn earlier then manistee strains, usually early winter - mid winter.

12-17-2002, 09:01 PM
Michigan is only stocking skamanias in the BIGM I think at this time, is that true ?

PM Out

12-17-2002, 09:42 PM
I think Mi. gave up on skams a while ago, or if they still do it is minimal.

Dick Swan told me there was a lot of concern opf them breeding with the winter runs. Which to a lot of anglers is a major concern.

Schmidt told us that the Big M. gets some fish not enough to target like in Ind.

12-17-2002, 10:19 PM
Yes I think Michigan stopped stocking them a few years ago, maybe 2000.

Indiana and Wisconsin still stock them though and there are strays to Michigan tribs. and probably into Lake Huron to Ontario and perhaps other east ward GLs.

PM out

12-18-2002, 05:23 AM
They get some strays from the St. Jo' also some fish from natural repro. Not a slef sustaining pop. but a start.

West Mich
12-18-2002, 08:40 AM
A few of our rivers get a trickle of stray Skamania from the St. Joseph. The few I've caught have been long and skinny in body shape. They're great fighters but I believe that's due in large part to water temp. I catch bigger Steelhead in December and early January than any Skamania I've seen in person. FWIW: The biggest Michigan SH caught are usually around 34-35". Those fish will seldom run much more than 17# on a certified scale. A few honest guides will tell you they've rarely if ever seen a real 20 pounder. A few others claim to connect them to anglers regularly. Believe who you want.

There are always exceptions and the big fish photo above is one of them. Nice catch.

For the record according to DNR stats:

Biggest ever caught in MI was 26.5lbs. from Lake Michigan
Biggest in Indiana was 26.6. from Trail Creek
Biggest in WI was 27.2. from Lake Michigan

Fish Wisconsin!

12-18-2002, 08:53 AM
Chances of landing a 20+ LBer in the river are slim, like to know how the guy did it in Trail Creek.

I agree the number of 20+ lb steelhead are very low and your chances of hooking one and landing one in the river are even slimmer.

If I ever do that I may just hang up the steelhead poles forever since I know I could never top that.

BTW, thank god its finally raining fairly hard in Chicago and up to 50 degrees, perhaps more will come into our rivers.

PM Out

12-18-2002, 11:19 AM
Back in the early 80's many real big skams were caught on a regular basis. I seem to ecall the record being broken 2x in one year. Don't forget, back then the biomass of the lake was alive with baitfish (alewives and larva). Hence the big boys. Saw some really huge fish come out of Trail and Cal back then. My personal best was a 38" that was a big dog.

12-18-2002, 11:57 AM
I pulled a decent skam out of the Muskegon in March a few years back - it pulled hard despite not being a big fish. It had the body shape of a pike.


That link takes you to a picture where there's a side by side shot of my skam with a buck steelie. Really contrasts the colour and shape.

12-18-2002, 01:18 PM
Heres a pic of my bro with a 16lb winter buck from the PM last year. Boga grip/IGFA certification weighed. Just for reference. I know alot of people that think they have caught 20lb fish. Then you show them a pic like this one and they think "Ehhhh...Ok, maybe more like 14-15" It's hard to gauge. This fish took a clown egg out of a deep run in REALLY high water. Epic battle too, like 15-20 minutes. Everytime we thought he was done he went another 50 yards downstream.:hehe:

12-18-2002, 01:20 PM
Here's another pic...same fish.

12-18-2002, 01:42 PM
Oh my god I am getting that feeling, thats one I am still looking for a big wild PM buck. Lost a few but never got them close to beaching.

BTW that clown egg is a killer up there, met a local yokal there this spring who caught a 17-18 lb skamania on one swears buy that pattern. Says a biologist told him they will take that pattern when they will not take anything else.

Needless to say my fly box is now full of them.:D

12-18-2002, 01:50 PM
That is one stud of a fish. The 2nd pic really does it justice all nice and colored up.

To think its only 4#'s shy of 20 which ain't much. Figure maybe an 1" or 2" longer and maybe 2"s bigger around and you would have that 20# stud.

I'd take fish like that any day.

12-18-2002, 01:56 PM
I feel like having that picture removed from the forumn I can't stand looking at it. It brings back memories of the three big boys lost there over the years. If I ever get to beach one I think I will call it quits and concentrate on golf.

PM Out

12-18-2002, 02:13 PM
Sorry Hal:hehe:
Here is the kicker. Ready for this?..........It was his first time Steelhead fishing, first time on the PM, and second Steelhead ever.:whoa: Needless to say, he has great expectations for this spring.:rolleyes:

12-18-2002, 02:44 PM
At least he got some pix and put his handprint on hime. He may never land another fish like that.

Hal, is that a promise???:devil:

12-18-2002, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Lipripper
It was his first time Steelhead fishing, first time on the PM, and second Steelhead ever

After reading that bit, the best response we have over on ROFF is, "See Paul's hat!" It says, "Bite Me!"

I did hook one buck on the Muskegon that probably was close to the one in the picture. He did a Seadoo imitation, busting along the surface until the crappy drag on my old reel starting grabbing, releasing, then overspooling and the resulting mess broke him off.

12-18-2002, 03:50 PM
Hopefully that reel met a just death at the end of a sledge.

12-18-2002, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by mjyp
Hopefully that reel met a just death at the end of a sledge.

Tempted, trust me.

12-18-2002, 06:09 PM
Give into your temptation my friend, I have a Sig 45cal that would also work. We could do a modern port job on the reel.

12-18-2002, 06:23 PM
:hehe: If I still had it, I'd take you up on that offer.

(Having visions of Colonel Potter pulling his .45 and blowing away what was left of his jeep after Frank ran over it with a tank.)

12-18-2002, 07:20 PM
He was in the calvary wasn't he?

Fitting end to a dead horse.

12-18-2002, 07:58 PM

WHAT !! After the 22 years I have put in on the PM why not me, life is not fair. Tell your brother to take up another sport like golf since he will never duplicate that.

Must of been due to your expert guidance. Tell him he owes you big time.

Gotta go now an scream and sob some more. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Glad we don't have the new dog yet, etc..

PM Out

12-18-2002, 09:01 PM
fate is cruel brother!!!!

perhaps you need a new hat

12-19-2002, 08:07 AM
I don't know what was more tortureous. The fact that my own brother outfished me, or, having to listen to him tell me how great he was ALL THE WAY HOME!!!:hehe:
It is pretty cool though...doesn't take much to get him to go fishing now. I love it when new people really enjoy themselves out on a river and I am there to see it. It makes me want to say, "SEE! Now you understand why I do this all the time!":D

12-19-2002, 08:11 AM
I got two new hats this year I hope it changes my fate or luck, what ever...:confused: :confused:

12-19-2002, 02:38 PM
New hats always work, but they gotta be cool hats.

12-22-2002, 05:39 PM
I now also now have a new "Bacalava" black, very cool, no more cold michigan winter steelhead winds down the back of my neck.:cool:

As I get older I get some what smarter.:chuckle:

PM Out

12-22-2002, 08:07 PM
I don't know if they are considered hats. They are hat like, may be considered a cap. Since they also cover the whole head and neck like a scarf they may be considered scaps or carfs.

They are kinda cool but not real cool, this will require some deep thought over a rum and coke or 2.

12-23-2002, 12:08 AM
Lucky hat= The Elmer Fudd. Red wool, with the fold up flaps and everything. I am all about "Lucky" things. Hats, gloves(Haven't washed em in over a year), Shirts. Heck, I swear I was on a streak where if I "got lucky' the night before I had a great next day on the river. Last girl got the boot though. Couldn't tolerate the "Fishing Widow" title...guess she wasn't so lucky........Next victim please!!!!:devil:


12-23-2002, 05:54 AM
The fudd will do, as long as you were not looking for wabbits while wearing it.