Old school – with a twist!

The first fish of the morning, A very nice colored up male.  The JP Ross 7 weight switch did the trick again, helping me to land this beauty of a lake run rainbow.  Another deeply colored lake run brown

Hurricane Sandy made a huge difference in the conditions of our local WNY tributaries. And I was there several days after to take full advantage of high stained water, and aggressive lake run trout.

The salmon had been in full spawn mode for a good week or two and the river bottom was filled with eggs. Sandy dumped enough water to raise the stream levels and stir up the salmon reds, releasing thousands of eggs into the stream. The water also encouraged a big push of fresh fish that were very aggressive. The combination of fish and water made for a very memorable couple of hours on the water that I don’t always get to enjoy.

Over those two hours or so I had to fish, I was fortunate to hook up with a dozen fish, landing seven of them. To say that the bite was on would be a huge understatement! It was almost chaotic.

But that is only half of the story. I also have to mention that I forgot to stock my nymph box with indicators for this little trip. That meant that I had to come up with an alternative way to take full advantage of the full on egg bite without them. Enter the “Old School” method.

Back when I was young - it’s really not that long ago - I would fish my local trout stream (Oriskany Creek) with worms. I would put a little split shot a foot above my hook, cast upstream, let it dead drift and then let it swing on the bottom before reeling my line in and casting again. I would do this over and over again until I felt that tap tap at the end of my line indicating a fish had picked up the bait. I would then set the hook in the hopes that I had timed it perfect and then reel the fish in.

This “Old School” method, with a little twist, made the difference on that day of tributary fishing for me, and I will most certainly use it again!

What I did on that day was to set up my fly and weight the same way as I did back on the Oriskany, but instead of casting upstream, I made the cast at a slight downstream angle. I then let the fly drop to the bottom, dead drift along with my rod ever so gently guiding it along, and then let the fly swing until it was directly below me. The best way I can describe it is a dead drift/swing combo. And boy did it work. Half of the fish that I hooked I could feel take the fly, and the others were either at the middle of the drift or at the very end. I even had two fish pull the fly as it swung, just like you would experience when swinging big streamers.

I can’t say that this method will work with every situation, but it certainly worked on this day with high stained water.

When Mother Nature and a mental lapse give you lemons……Go make lemonade!!!!


Posted November 15th, 2012 at 1:32 PM by Brian Bradfield