If you’ve thought about trying one of upstate NY’s many Steelhead waters with a fly rod but aren’t sure where to start…….. Here are five time tested flies that will get you results.
Estaz Egg’s….. egg patterns of all types take Steelhead throughout the season in most Lake Ontario tributaries. In the fall, however, they are particularly effective, as many Steelhead follow the Salmon into rivers and creeks to gorge themselves on Eggs. The Estaz egg is tough to beat during this period, the length of the estaz may be increased on some flies to give the appearance of multiple eggs. In addition a small amount of milky veil can be added to imitate the natural decay present in many of the real eggs.
Black Stone Fly Nymph….. As the season progresses the water cools and the fish tend to become less active. While fish can still be taken on eggs they also tend to adapt to life in the river and begin to focus on the food sources available in their particular stream. For most area waters, Stone fly’s are one of the most common of those sources. The Salmon River enjoys a healthy black stone fly population and the fish learn quickly to eat them. Nymph’s in sizes 8-12 are most common but may vary depending on the water your fishing.
Intruder….. For those who prefer to swing flies there is an endless array of baitfish imitations and other streamer patterns that can be effective. Many steelhead fisherman have moved into two handed rods and these set ups are ideal for this type of fly. The intruder was developed on the west coast but has proven to be very successful for great lakes steelhead as well. Sparsely dressed, many intruder type flies don’t look like much until they get in the water. The profile and motion once in the current however make these flies tough for fish to resist, especially when the water temps are up in the fall and spring.
Egg Sucking Leech….. Anglers who prefer to stick with a single hander and are looking for something other than bouncing nymph’s or eggs off the bottom can try stripping a bugger or better yet an egg sucking leach. Where intruder fly’s tend to perform better swung through current on a tight line, buggers and leeches can be stripped at various speeds and depths and are easier to fish at close range.
Mouse….. For those who dream of explosive takes and love surface action! Fishing a mouse pattern, or any surface pattern, for steelhead is a low percentage play on all but a few days of the year, but who can resist. Twitching a mouse across the head of your favorite riffle at first light is something everyone should try, at least once. The reward may be a hook up you will remember for many years.