Trip Report: Lake Ontario Tributaries November 2021

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The “Western PA Boy’s” were kind enough to invite me back on another one of their adventures and this trip took us to upstate New York. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for some autumn fly fishing on the Lake Ontario tributaries for spawning salmon, steelhead, and monster brown trout. More importantly, it’s great hanging out with this crew. Smart and funny anglers that included Bruno, Casey, Albatross, Turkey, LigonierA1, and Glenfiddch.

For me, this was a new location and had me rounding up some new gear for such a trip. My friends and sponsor on the site, Allen Fly Fishing, helped me out with a nice 8wt rod setup. AJ from Allen, got me going with a great-looking Compass rod and beautiful Alpha reel.

Some coaching from the crew helped me out with some fly ideas too.
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Fly Fishing
Typically the salmon are slowly up by early November and the big browns and steelhead are becoming more prevalent. On the way up Albatross, Turkey, and Glenfiddch took on some early action, and each hooked into some salmon.

It was a bit of a hike for most of us while the rest arrived on Thursday, we didn’t all get started together until Friday morning on Oak Orchard. The weather was sunny and pleasant for early November. Casey got into a zombie salmon (fish that are literally rotting to death as they end their migration route) to spawn very early in the morning. The rest of the morning was pretty quiet with some salm
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on passing us, but not much interested in any of our flies.

Turkey showed us all up with his tailing glove skills by grabbing a salmon out of the water that was holed up behind a log.

Some of the crowds thinned out and we made our way back downstream. Turkey spotted a beautiful-looking brownie that we almost walked on and LigonierA1 jumped into action. He superbly cast to the beast and after a few attempts hooked into an incredible +20lbs brown trout. Alby netted the fish for him and LigonierA1 calming noted, “I won't be able to handle this fish.” The problem was quickly solved with a tailing glove.

A cold front moved in overnight, dropped the temps, brought in some clouds and wind. Felt more like upstate New York in November. The action seemed a little light on Oak Orchard Friday and we made our way to Sandy Creek for our second day.
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Some really good-looking water, but again not a lot of fish in that tribs. Several of the crew did get into a few hookups, but only LigonierA1 landed another big brown. Several smaller teener browns were caught, but nothing like LigonierA1 had hooked into over the past couple of days.

The general agreement was the river water temps were not cold enough to be bringing in the browns and steelhead. As a matter of fact, we didn’t see any steelhead or other anglers hooking into many fish.

Friends, Food and Libations
As I have gotten older I find that fly fishing is often only a smaller part of the trip when enjoying time with good friends. This concept especially helps me when I haven’t gotten a fish.

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We had some fun meals and made an effort to raise the bar with fillet mignon, baked potatoes, and asparagus one night. Derek heard we had some bourbon and joined us for the evening party. We had several great breakfasts cooked by Bruno and another dinner by LigonierA1 that was awesome.

The food and stories got better as every night went on. Some bourbon tasting helped support the cause.

As mentioned earlier, I geared up with an Allen Fly Fishing Compass eight weight and an Alpha reel.
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The Compass rod worked well for me with the larger eyelets and a medium-fast taper that helped deliver line load with ease at a very affordable price. The Alpha reel is on the higher end of the Allen reel product line and offered a smooth drag, arbor design that reduces the line memory and looks great. Others also Brough along nine weight setups as part of the gear.

I lined up with some WF8F Rio Elite Fly Line, rolling bearing connector, 2x Powerflex Plus Tippet, AirLock Indicator, and a variety of bead head Estaz egg patterns. This pattern with different colors was the fan-favorite among the gang.

Other essentials turned out to be a large net, warm weather gear, and the aforementioned tailing glove. Which becomes pretty handy when handling larger fish.

A great fall trip to some new waters was an awesome getaway for me. It will be on the list for next year as I fell a little short with landing a fish. Hanging with the Western PA Boys is always a blast and really appreciated their hospitality for the trip.
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