The trip started poorly. Whiteout conditions in the Berkshires followed by heavy lake-effect snow near Syracuse turned a five hour drive into six and a half. They had been forecasting 3-8″ of snow showers and 20 mph winds — not exactly the model of fishing-friendly weather — but we had reservations and deposits and the will to see things through. By the time we (this was my annual late November trip with #2 son) woke up Monday morning, we realized this was going to be far worse than your standard-issue Salmon River Sunshine. Winds of 20-30mph with gusts up to 50. Snow that covered the rear bumper of the Jeep (the Syracuse area received up to 30″). No shovel or plow in our near future. We stomped on the snow to flatten it, and we made it to the Byrne Dairy OK, but when our guide’s truck and trailer had to be towed out of a drift, the bummer decision was made: no fishing today.
And that’s how Cam and I spent most of last Monday afternoon watching the Science Channel in the Pulaski Super 8.
You often hear exaggerated claims of precipitation falling sideways. But we can attest that it does really happen. This was one badass storm.
We made a brilliant plan to fish the creeks on Tuesday. So brilliant that I was already counting our fish on the drive north. Water levels had been up for two days, and those two days were dark and perfect for legions of steelhead to have safely made their way upstream. I’ll cut to the chase and tell you we blanked. We fished long, hard, and thoroughly at multiple fishy spots, but as far as any of us could tell, the closest steelhead were still somewhere in Lake Ontario. The only angler we could find who had any fish to hand was AJ Berry, who took several domestic rainbows on egg sacks. (I mention AJ’s name because he was incredibly generous in sharing water with us.)
I realize that steelheading is not fair. But I would be lying to you if I said this trip didn’t sting more than a little.
The salve for that sting is that we went winter steelheading. We had an adventure. There is honor in attempting something difficult — and whether we succeeded or failed is really a matter of your point-of-view.
The day after the big one. If it looks nippy, it was. Iced guides were a constant hassle, and residual winds made casting an adventure. Highest marks to Cam, who didn’t complain once during two days of truly challenging circumstances. Asked to sum up the trip, Cam said: “It was cold. It snowed. We tried to fish. The fish didn’t help.”
Yea, but I bet years from now Cam will still be talking about this (probably doing a bit of posturing at school tomorrow!). Hope you and Cam can make it to the club next year.
I believe the embellishments have already begun. 🙂
Great story and Cam seemed to tell it well. Looked like a true blizzard. Adventures are part of rich life. Surely the fishing is bound to turn around one of these days.
Indeed. Surely good steelhead karma awaits!
A good Dad is a good Dad
Very kind. I guess I had a good teacher.
Don’t they say the journey is the best part? Well executed, Cam. Sounds like an adventure
you will be remembering many
Thanksgivings ….. and steelhead quests
into the future. Warmly (no pun intended)
I kept telling Cam that this would be a good conversation piece for years to come.
Ditto, I went up Wednesday caught nothing for 2 days
I heard the DSR was on fire Friday….then back to the same old slowness. Hard times for steelheaders.
I feel you pain. We got in that Sunday and fished until dark. 6 hook ups for 4 guys. None landed. Woke up Monday morning to knee deep snow and white out conditions. Packed it in and came home. Not the first time the lake effect snow has cut a steelhead trip short. And probably won’t be the last.
Agreed on the cut short, but a named storm like that is a little beyond lake-effect. 🙂
And to think all that snow 24+ -” from only a week or so ago is gone and chilled the water to a cool 37D.
How’s your season been?
Very hot and very cold with no real rhyme or reason, sometimes within the same day. I was on my way home the day you were on your way up.