Catching the Trout Power

This past weekend Mike and I participated in Trout Power.  We were one of thirty teams that fished the creel study on lower West Canada Creek.   We fished this friendly tournament to collect trout data and to help promote better management of the river.  JP Ross was the driving, organizing force behind this progressive initiative.  If you read the extensive information from  Trout Power website, you will learn plenty about this successful event.  Here is a philosophy statement taken directly from the website:  Helping a community come together to support themselves and the West Canada Creek. Trout Power is an initiative to protect and preserve the West Canada Creek. We believe in 12 years we can have wild fish and prolific hatches of insects. Come enjoy our Gem of a River, but leave it better than you found it!

Before this weekend, I’d only fished the West Canada Creek twice.  But, I’ve talked with JP Ross enough to know and trust his passion about the potential of this fishery.  While it is no secret that the No-Kill, Special Regulations Water below Trenton Falls produces decent hatches and trophy trout, JP specifically wants to share the good news about the potential of the fishery below the Special Regulations Zone.  Anglers may be unfamiliar with the approximately 26 miles of accessible stream frontage and 11 parking lots this fishery provides.  Kudos to JP on developing a vision and for his efforts to help promote the potential of this unheralded fishery.

Under rainy skies, we departed Rochester early Saturday morning to drive to West Canada Creek.  The drizzle didn’t deter our optimism and soon we were in Poland, New York.  We greeted JP and checked in.  His level of preparation for Trout Power was impressive as w received an awesome, detailed map of West Canada Creek.  We also got sharp Trout Power t-shirts, stickers, a creel survey book, pencils, a measuring tape, a colored blue TP bandana and a signed letter of commendation from a local NYS politician.  As newbies to this area, we had no clue where to start fishing.  JP kindly offered several locations to consider and we eagerly drove off.

Our first location was near the HQ for Trout Power.  We pulled up and despite the light drizzle, promptly made out rising trout in the middle of the river. What a good omen!  We also spied a few caddis along the grassy bank.  Within half an hour, we’d each managed a fish or two.  The 9″ brownies eagerly took our caddis patterns.  Actually, they were too eager.  It quickly became apparent that these were recent stockers from the DEC.  Our real dilemma wasn’t locating or catching fish, it was the prospect of landing a fish, measuring it,  keeping the Trout Power bandana in the frame and snapping a photo to verify the fish.  Standing waist deep in fast water, holding your net, placing a soggy TP bandana and a floppy measuring tape against an uncooperative trout, was frustrating.  I could have used another set of hands to measure, hold, document and film.  We also had to record the species and length of each fish.  If you were really ambitious, there was a separate log page to fill in plenty of detailed info about your catch (condition and coloration of trout, location, fly, type of water, evidence of trash, water flow, etc).  Well, over the course of fishing much of Saturday and for 2 hours Sunday morning, I landed 27 brown trout.  All but 3-4 were most likely recently stocked fish.  My three largest were 15″, 14″ and 12″.  That 15″ brown exhibited a stellar fight and showed evidence of how strong these fish become with the heavy current.  Still, the bulk caught were 8″ to 10″ hatchery browns.  My digital documentation efforts petered out after a few fish.  I only filmed six or seven trout with the measuring tape and TP bandana to fully authenticate my catch.  Every fish was caught on a caddis pattern and if there was a fish rising within my vicinity, I stood a strong chance of hooking it.

We had a positive experience at Trout Power.  It was well organized, fun, unique and provided plenty of angling camaraderie.  We fished to rising fish and enjoyed a solid caddis emergence towards dark that the fish keyed on.  We learned new water, explored several precious small towns along West Canada Creek, experienced great local hospitality, camped in the rain, met new anglers and helped to support a viable fishery.  I’m a believer in the quality of the West Canada Creek fishery.  There are respectable hatches, great public access, plenty of water to prospect and the possibility of targeting trophy trout.  It became clearer to me that if there were more consistent water flows and less harvest of trout, then this fishery might offer some of the top trout angling in the Northeast.  Just imagine the possibilities of extending the Special Regulations/No Kill water downstream another five or ten miles.  It is already an impressive fishery.  Let’s continue to support JP and fellow anglers as they work towards the grand potential of Trout Power!

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Craig Dennison

This is Craig and I host Fly Fisher's Workshop. My fly fishing experiences include plenty of travel (Montana/Florida/North Carolina/Maine) and a few years part time guiding for trout. While I primarily target trout and steelhead, I still manage to chase warm water species and enjoy chasing stripers and bluefish. I'm a 3rd generation fly fisher trying to share the passion with my two sons!

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