I must admit that I am naive to many of the ways people catch steelhead. I traveled, with my Brother Mike, to Altmar, NY about the middle of November 2009. I dropped him off at the conference center at the cold water hatchery compound and hit the stream and soon wanted to hit the guide boats.
I stopped by, Malinda's Flyfishing shop in Altmar to ask whats working on the Steelheads and where a good place on the River to start would be. I purchased several flys and proper size tippet and a neat hat to let every one I know, I was at Malinda's.
Once on the stream, I did not feel alone. All kinds of fishermen were staked out at likely fish holding spots. It all looked to me like a smorgashborg of Fly Fishing Magazine advertisers wading down a fashion runway.
After a couple of river location changes I found an area with the least amount of fishing competition. I cautiously waded into the swift clear water and began casting on a 45 degree angle upstream and mending my line as it passed me. The hope for a fish pickup was plusating in my chest. Twenty casts later I was slowly wading my way to a beautiful pool in a bend on the river. The egg sack bait fisherman that was there had just moved on. In the flat run a few feet above the pool I had a pickup from a 12 inch brown.
I told myself, well its not a 30 inch steelhead, but it sure is a beautiful fish. Just then I heard some laughing behind me. I turned as I was releasing my brownie to look up stream and headed directly at me was a 15 foot drift boat. I thought, wow, thats what they look like on the water. I studied the boat and its passengers as it easily manuevered around me and, oh my gosh, right over my newly found brown trout hot spot in 3 feet of water. I could feel my annoyance building and thoughts of punching a hole in the boat flashed in my head. The boat manuvered expertly to the middle of the pool or long quiet run, that I was headed for, and anchored. The guide cast down stream three bait casting heavy duty rods and reels into the river with some kind of flashy red, pink, and silver spoon on the end of the lines. He stuck them in boat holders and all occupants waited maybe 2 minutes before the first big fish hit and one of the clients hauled it to the boat and it was quickly netted and dumped into a portable cooler on board. I saw two more fish dragged in this way from this boat. The so called fishermen never touched the fish or the lures. Everything was done by the guide. The smiles and the high 5's made me sick. The guide then pulle anchor and continued his drift down stream to the next pool. No class, no maners, no consideration to us happless fly fishermen watching this rediculous approach to fishing.
This scene repeated itself like the Rose Bowl Parade as float boat after float boat drifted past me that day. There were 15 in all. I didn't really wonder why my flys didn't work on the Steelheads. I did manage 4 more browns between 10 and 14 inches.
Do you think I'll ever go back? No, I'll leave this river to Malinda, the commercial fishermen drift boats, bait and bobber fisherman, and those who don't know the difference.:starwars:
Ps, I have pics to go with this thread, but don't know how to stick them in.
I have been on the Roaring Fork in Colorado, and had guides not only take over where I was fishing, but come ashore and let 2 dogs out of the drift boat to run up and down shore...splashing in the water...while they ate lunch.
Neal: I don't think I would go back there either! Kind of reminds me of fishing on the Russian River in Alaska (referred to as combat fishing). I only fished there once, I didn't really have anyone really annoy me but standing shoulder to shoulder is not my kind of fishing. With a little searching you can find spots on the Kenai where the fishing is almost as good with hardly anyone near you.
The problem with public water is that it is public water. It's open to anybody. If you choose to go back, the best thing is to learn where to fish where you know where you will be least affected by the rest of the public. You might consider hiring a guide to show you those places. Then later on, you can fish them on your own. Maybe pick the brains of the fly shop guys more. They might give up some better locations.
There is an urban fishery that is about a 15 minute drive from my house. I actually wader up and rig my rod up at home before I go there. The place that I choose to fish is not where most people fish.
If that water isn't for you, there is always another body of water somewhere. Half the fun is finding it.
Been there done that...or should I say had it done to me? One big tip if you're looking for a better trip in the future; find a stream too small for the driftboaters you described, by the way, they were drop-back fishing with plugs by your description...
Smaller streams will still be crowded most times, but you won't be cut off by the guides like you were. If you're not against a little hiking, you can get into some relatively isolated fishing.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: First Time and Last Time
I can count every single person who fished the areas I was in this summer on one hand. I like it that way. Next year will probably be the same, but the year after that I should be nearly alone. Three of them were working on replacing a bridge in an area I fish. They will be done and gone some time next summer. Much of the problems people have in situations like tjc's, is symptomatic of the population in general. Nobody teaches kids manners today, and haven't in many years. We pay for it with crime rates, trashy shores, and idiots in drift boats running you out of a run,and the rest of the world going to hell in a handbasket. I have less than 2000 people in my whole county, so I can identify and avoid the rude jerks pretty easily. I think it's time to bring manners back.
Before I started guiding for a living I fished a ton and eventually found my own spots that were uncrowded. There are inconsiderate people everywhere but for the most part flyfisherman are polite and nonconfrontational. I'm sorry that you had that experience. Our guides and myself yield to all shore anglers, I have my clients pull /hold their flyline and we never row over water that other anglers are fishing. I'll row at least 100 yards or so until we are clear and start fishing again. I've had guys ask what flies are working, and have stopped and given people a few. Karma means a lot when you are on a river 200 days a year. I also try to find water that doesn't have a lot of boat traffic, and luckily where I guide/ western MT, we have 5 rivers and 400 miles of public dry fly fishing within an hours drive in four directions.
I hope that you can find solitude and enjoyment with your from your fishing, if you are in western MT I'll point you in the right direction to streams and rivers that should have very few jackass anglers and some wonderful fishing with serenity
Brooks JessenMontana Fly Fishing, Missoula Montana, Montana Fly Fishing for Trout. Classic Journey Outfitters.[/url]