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2nd annual Steelhead JAM

Published by Ryan Gouldsbarry [ryguyfi] on 12/06/2010 (1911 reads)
erieOn November 12th through the 14th had it’s 2nd annual Steelhead JAM in Erie, PA. There were close to 30 board members that attended from at least 4 states. The fishing was not all that great, but tossing some line with those who chat on the board daily is always well worth any trip.

I showed up on Friday morning at 7am at Folly’s End Campground. Folly’s has been very generous the past 2 years in letting us use their facilities. They have a fully stocked fly shop, and very friendly management which is always a plus. I was visited by no one at 7am so I decided to gear up and head downstream to one of my favorite runs. As I walk the stream, I realize there aren’t many fish in the typical holes, this became a common theme throughout the weekend. I reached my spot, to see no fish, so continued downstream with my eyes peeled for visible fish in the low and clear water. A few hundred yards downstream I spotted a few fish. Just as I approached I saw a familiar face turn the corner. He had an old rod, a scruffy look to him, and a broken beer bottle neck to use as a slide on the guitar later that evening (Ok, I made that last part up), but we all know him as Shakey. We chatted it up on the bank and were soon visited by bikerfish and his fiberglass rod. I felt out of place with my 8wt graphite rod, and modern drag reel. The fish called to me so I attempted to talk and fish, which am lucky to have enough coordination to do. I spotted a few fish downstream and bikerfish had his hand at them. I soon hooked up with a fish, 3 times, all on the same pattern, and finally landed her. A nice healthy fish which was the first one Shakey got to see up close. They really are magnificent creatures and their power is awe inspiring. I knew there were some other board members coming around lunchtime so I packed it up and walked back to the pavilion.

A few other members showed up and we planned our attack from there. We shared some stories for a while and then headed out to 20 mile. We had a caravan of about 5 or 6 vehicles to hopefully take up a whole parking lot and turn other fisherman away. When we showed up to the mouth of 20 mile and saw that there was plenty of spots, that should have told us how the fishing was. We geared up and fished away. After a short amount of time, and realizing the fish to fisherman ratio was a bit off, we decided to move on. If only we all got the GPS coordinates to the massive amount of fish that a certain board member gave another certain board member, we would all be happy. He said there were fish stacked upon fish and no fishermen in sight. A true gem!

Video of the weekend provided by Jared "Skybay"

As darkness started upon us, we retreated back to our lodging and then headed out to Avonia Tavern. This place was absolutely packed. After a group of us stood there waiting for a table, we realized that in just about every corner of the room there were other members from the board. We eventually got a large table and enjoyed a few drinks and “small” baskets of ribs and wings. Those are the times where memories get made, stories are told, and new friendships are gained. It’s always fun to hear all the fish stories, and learn a thing or two from a fellow fly fisherman.

The next day we all met at the pavilion at Folly’s and planned our attack. We met for coffee, and Heritage Anglers favorite part, the Frisbee sized cinnamon rolls I brought from a local bakery by my house. We decided to follow some local knowledge to Crooked Creek. So we all packed it up and drove out in a big caravan. After we got there, we all realized that the 15 people that came out, would in no way fit on this tiny stream. So half stayed and the other half headed out to another stream. I was joined by FishIdiot and DKile in search of the lost chrome. I left them on a nice little set of falls, and headed downstream. I came down to a bridge and cast to fish after fish, catching and releasing 4 in just a matter of minutes. Did I mention that the bridge is the top end of the nursery waters, and these were all fingerling browns? Well, I didn’t tell everyone that. I then headed up to the others and they all had similar results. We walked a ways upstream, and DKile took a few photographs. We ended up finding just 1 steelhead. We called it a day there, and headed back to meet up with some others.

I met up with LRSABecker and flipnfly and headed out to walnut creek. In events like this I always enjoy fishing with different groups of people as often as I can. My genius idea was to go to the “nuthouse”. I figured I would rather fight the crowds as long as there were fish to be had. There were some fish at the nuthouse, but not as many as previous years. I walked up past the chutes and Becker and flip met up with me soon afterwards. We walked a ways upstream to a railroad bridge. There was a large deep hole, and we could see several fish cruising around. After our presentations were rejected many times, we decided to head back to the parking lot and meet up with other members. We found them sitting in the parking lot, chatting it up, and talking about the ones that didn’t even get hooked that “got away”. After 2 straight days of catching 1 total fish, I was whooped and headed home. There were several other groups who fished different spots throughout the weekend and many had the same results. I truly hope that this is just an off year and the great numbers of fish will return in years to come.

I know that this event was a huge success. Not in terms of fishing, but in terms of getting people together who share a common passion, and be able to share that with others. Success is measured in different ways, and I can’t wait for another successful Steelhead JAM next year with hopefully more board members and more memories to save for a lifetime.

Ryan Gouldsbarry
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Author Thread
Published: 2010/12/6 21:01  Updated: 2010/12/6 21:01
Joined: 10/02/2006
From: Greensburg, Westmoreland Co.
Comments: 283
 Re: 2nd annual Steelhead JAM

Thank-you for your effort in making this jam happen. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to visit some old friends and make some new ones. Thanks as well to Folly's End for hosting us and for all the forum members who made the effort to attend even though the fishing forecast was not good. I'm sure there will be more catching next year!

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