When I caught the brown trout I was using an Orvis 11' 8 wt Helios 2 switch rod I borrowed from Kevin to try out and nymphing with a switch rod is an absolute blast. I didn't bring my two handed rod with me on this trip but I certainly will in the coming months. We landed three and lost three browns on the Sandy before packing it up and heading to the Oak. The water was incredibly low and I have never seen so many anglers close together in my life! There were guys ten feet or less apart in every fishable run and pool. After squeezing in and casting a bit it was clear that the Oak wasn't the place to be. We ended the day back at Sandy.
Heading back to Sandy was the best decision we made that day. We bumped into local guide, Jesse, from Wide Sky Fly Fishing. He was super knowledgeable and took us to his favorite spots on the river (We have been sworn to secrecy, you know how it is). Jesse gave us some ideas for the rest of the trip and after exchanging info we parted ways. We have already started talking about the next time we can hook up with him and get into some fish! If you are planning on fishing out that way be sure to give Jesse a call.
After an evening of Labatt Blue pitchers, pouring over google maps, and texting local friends we decided to head to Cattaraugus Creek. A ridiculously early wake up and hour and a half ride got us river side and it was worth it. The Catt is simply beautiful. We met even more guys there and proceeded to head upstream fishing along the way. Settling at a gorgeous run, we hit the water hard with over ten guys spaced out. In about eight hours of fishing we landed three steelies and one brown. I lost a fresh steelhead but before it spit the hook I saw some impressive flashes of bright chrome, good enough for me. It was a tough day but the scenery did make up for the frustration in some small way. The day ended at home base with more beer, cigars, whiskey, and college football. Despite the conditions, its hard not to enjoy these trips away from everyday life. I obviously wouldn't complain about landing more fish but that isn't always what its about.
Sunday was our last day and we had to be on the road by about noon. We figured we could catch some fish at the Oak if we got there early enough to stake out the best holes. We were riverside at 4:45 am and if we had got there ten minutes later we wouldn't have claimed the spot we wanted, its that competitive. The plan worked and I got another brown and Matt got two more. We quit while we were ahead and headed home.
Last year was the first time I fished western NY and I could not wait to head back west again this year. Even though the trip was nothing like what we expected and more than a little frustrating at times, I came down with winter fishing fever in the worst way. There are talks of trip out to the great lakes tribs in December, January, and February. So stayed tuned for some more stories, reports, and reviews in the coming months!