Optimizing Mid Winter Fishing Opportunities

Catching fish on the fly in the middle of winter takes flexibility of schedule and the ability to know your creeks well. The winter offers up some of the best Steelhead fishing of the year but you need to be ready to go fishing when the window of opportunity presents itself. A sort of personal and focused commitment to knowing when and going then! Know the weather and the creek conditions for your area and watch them daily. Use the weather to plan in advance for rain, snow or ice melts so you can capture the very best conditions to target Steelhead. Going fishing after a high water event yields great opportunity to catch fresh run Steelhead in the upper reaches of a tributary. Turbidity is measure of a creeks water clarity. Water levels fluctuate throughout the winter in any creek as does the turbidity or “water clarity” of a creek. Putting the too measures together correctly after a high water event can really increase chances of finding “good water” to fish and putting a Steelhead on the end of your line. 20160227_134858On this particular day, this Lake Erie tributary was the only one that would fish well after a very high water event the day before. The rest of the creeks in Steelhead Alley on this day were blown out with muddy high water. Knowing which creeks clear quickly and which creeks take a few days can also be a very important part of the equation for success. The substrate of a creek will also determine how quickly the turbidity (stained water) will clear. For instance; a creek that runs through a rocky substrate will clear much more quickly than a creek running through a farm field with a silty bottom. Good Green WaterFinding quality water to fish in the middle of winter is a matter of timing for certain. Get to know your creeks. Watch your weather. Make a commitment to get out there and fish no matter what. If you do these things consistently, you will increase your winter fishing experiences greatly and be rewarded as I was on this day when there was no fishy water to be found.
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I am a New York State licensed and insured fly fishing guide and a USCG licensed Captain and the Vice President of the Canandaigua Lake Trout Unlimited Chapter. I grew up as a young boy in Syracuse NY, went to SUNY College at Buffalo and now reside near the shores of Lake Ontario. I offer guided trips on the tributaries of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and all inland waters from Syracuse to Buffalo in New York State. My fly fishing experiences have taken me to many international fly fishing destinations chasing both fresh and saltwater species of fish. I am a Trout Unlimited Endorsed Guide, Fly Fishers Federation Member/Guide, and also an Orvis, Simms, LOOP, LL Bean and Filson Pro Member. I have been published in numerous print media and also have been a keynote speaker for a number of professional forums. Working alone; I recently finished three conservation projects within our fisheries. The first is a "catch and release" zone on 4 Mile Creek and also on Mill Creek (Lake Ontario). The second is a "fly fishing only" zone on 18 Mile Creek (Lake Erie). These projects and more highlight my passion for fly fishing, conservation and sharing the sport of fly fishing with others in every way I can. Catch em' on the fly! www.ontariofly.com Visit me on Facebook at Ontario Fly Outfitters.

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