Keep Your Pants On!! I’ll get you your Oncorhynchus mykiss!!

6 Oct

I could no longer stand the crab like itch I’ve been having to go after steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss).  Sunday after getting home from the mountains of West By God I did not medicate myself with past pictures and daydreaming, instead I started scratching.  After looking at pictures of others early fall steelhead catches in NY OH and PA, checking out weather reports, water flows, temperatures, and reading a few fishing reports the decision was made…fuck it…it’s low, but lets go.


With lots of rain early in the week the water levels rose and the fish were running.  MISTAKE #1  What goes up, must come down.  The river fell from 300 cfs to 90 after 4 days after the big rain, which cut off the big steel runs.  Although there were fish already in the system from the prior rain.  So with rain in the forecast for sunday night and good weather forecast for monday and Tuesday I called up my dad and we made plans to head out early for a monday and Tuesday trip. 

Now, let me give you a little history on my steelheading experience.  I’ve only been fly fishing for about 6 years now.  Traveling to PA for steel only 2 times prior, both times late in the season.  My first experience was with Mitch last year in late November.  We both, not knowing what we were in store for, just wanted to go because we’ve never been and it looked so dam easy.   Temps were eyelids freezing shut cold to say the least.  There was not enough vaseline on earth to coat your eyelets enough to keep the ice off.  Everything froze when you took it out of the water.  But we landed fish and we all know thats all that matters.  Then of course a blizzard hit as soon as we started home.  A 3 hour trip home turned into a 4-wheel-drive 6 hour marathon interstate ride.  We all know no one has ever drivin worth a dam in Pennsylvania.  We both vowed to never return to the god forsaken place.  My second trip was with my dad in late march.  The steelhead were there in massive numbers.  Good temperatures and very few people fishing.  Why you ask?  Because most if not all of the fresh steel runs are done and the fish remaining in the system probably won’t make it back out and their cycle of anadromous spawning is over.   But fighting butts be sure they were hungry and pissed off.  After 2 days of 20 fish days I couldn’t wait to get back in the fall. 

We arrived on the stream around 9am, 44 degrees, overcast,  it’s Monday morning, no holiday, the unemployment rate in PA isn’t that bad, flows were low, very few fresh steel coming in from the mouth.  So it had to be a good day on the water, because there shouldn’t be many people on the stream.  MISTAKE #2 If you build it they will come, or If you make it easy for anyone to see a big fish and cast at it 100’s of times…they will come.  After gearing up and peaking over the side of the cliff we started counting fishermen.  1,2,3,4,8,12,18,30….you got to be fucking kidding me right?  It’s Monday….no holiday right?  Nope. Hopefully it will clear out by lunch.  Water was low, but not low low low, and clear, but not clear in the deeper holes.   We managed to find a spot just down river of about 15 people.  We had some room and spotted about 13 fish, I’ll plug my Smith Action Optics from here.  GAME ON!!! 

Nothing beats an upstream run into the backing, although going into my backing makes me cringe a little about a failing knot and loosing 100$ fly line, especially when everyone above has to clear out their line.  Was good to feel the raw power and athleticism of a lake run rainbow again. 

Like a sore peter you just can’t beat it.  During the celebrated 2009 1st steelhead of the year hook-up a rough looking fella, probably from Ashville North Carolina, eating a snickers wondered over next to me and asked if we were going to keep it.  He was wading in blue jeans and tennis shoes, which didn’t compare to the 350 giant of a man wearing bright red shorts and tennis shoes we saw down stream.  For some reason I felt sorry for the man, even though the bastard didn’t lift a finger to help land the fish, and let him have my prize. 

It was my biggest fish to date, I keep a 25 inch tape measure in my vest and he girthy 19 inches and was an erect 34 inches.  I would guess about 15-18 pounds, (17.2 according to the fish calculator), but I’m all about the fight and he didn’t win the prize of the day for fight in my book, that prize goes to the ones that fought like gymnastic ninjas and slipped the hooks back at our faces.

A little bit better size perspective This guy, walking off with my fish, was like 6’5″ about 250 pounds.


We wandered around checking out parts of the stream we had never been to before till around 2pm, then split like Brittney Spears legs getting thrown out of a taxi.  Headed towards a section of water that produced big time for us the previous march.  We were about 4 miles from the mouth and the flows were pretty much the same, except this section is just a little bit skinnier than the previous section.  WITH 98% LESS PEOPLE.  I don’t know if it’s because it got a little colder or everyone ate a big lunch.  We pretty much had this section to ourself.  I lost count around 10 fish hooked and fought and it was easy to count the ONE we brought to hand.  A big fat hen than ran me long into my backing.


The day was not a complete bust as we found new info on how to watch the flows up there via web cam which I think is pretty cool.  Despite my dads attempt at getting us to spend the night and do it again in the morning I was determined to go home.  Going home early grants me enough leash from the wife to do it again.  Until next time!!!!!







11 Responses to “Keep Your Pants On!! I’ll get you your Oncorhynchus mykiss!!”

  1. Derick Foster October 7, 2009 at 1:00 PM #

    I’ve been steel heading for about 7 years. Started out traveling to Oak Orchard and fishing the circus act for monster brown’s. We would always leave a day or so early to hit the Lake Erie tribs. Fishing quality started to get worse in NY so we started to just hit Erie. I;ve been a trout fisherman probably since I was 7 yrs old. Became a fly fisherman in college. Then bacame an obsessed flyfishreman after spending 2 weeks in MT about 7 years ago. When I read your article, I felt your excitement…hell I wish I was with you and yet we’ve never met. Great writing…Brian Jarrell (my marketing guy), told me about your link. I;m heading to Eris in November…thinking we may try some tribs in OH this year. I’m bringing Brian Jarrell for the first time. I cant wait to read more.

    • bentrodmedia October 20, 2009 at 5:07 AM #

      Thanks for the compliments Derick. Good luck in NOvember and bring plenty of charturse eggs!!

  2. erdo October 12, 2009 at 8:38 PM #

    that is a monster erie steelhead, congrats

    • Nymph-o October 13, 2009 at 1:27 AM #

      Don’t placate him, we like to keep his self-esteem super low. Any other way and he is literally intolerable.

      • Kokane October 13, 2009 at 1:41 AM #

        Placate him….i’m not big on those fancy ashville words.

      • Nymph-o October 14, 2009 at 2:15 PM #

        “blow smoke up your ass” or is “blow” to big a word to? Your education system has failed you.

  3. Chad October 13, 2009 at 8:01 PM #

    I wish I was one of those jackasses sloshing up the bank with someone else’s fish.

    Seeing pictures of fish like that make my life in this fabric-covered box of crazy (pronounced ‘cubicle’) seem that much more intolerable. And, like Derick, I don’t know you either, but I find that I hate you anyway.

    • bentrodmedia October 20, 2009 at 5:09 AM #

      I ain’t got nothing but love for ya Chad. I totally understand the hatred. I find myself at work after the 3rd day wanting to say fuck this I’m out. I just want to grab the fishing/camping/filming gear and head for the stream, never to return. Hopefully one day I will be eaten by a giant trout never to be seen again.

  4. bentrodmedia October 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM #

    HOw about carboxyhemoglobin dissociation curve or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, i’ve got to many medical terms stored in the brain bank….anything else and the shot glass spills over. I miss you my friend.


    • Nymph-o October 14, 2009 at 2:55 PM #

      now you are just making things up

      • bentrodmedia October 14, 2009 at 3:08 PM #

        when are you going to post again?

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