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High water conditions today made for tough swinging. Flow was 1200cfs at the dam and 1450cfs at the Pineville USGS gauge. Slight warming trend over the past couple of days brought the water temperature up a little to 38 degrees.

In this flow I had on a 10' tip of T-11 and 5' tippet of 12lb. Maxima ultragreen. I usually put one fly on and leave it on all day. If the steelhead don't like it, too bad for them :chuckle:

Today's fly was this 4" marabou cut-shank in Black/purple. I lost a nice fish on it mid morning that slammed it on the hang down, made one jump and came off. I've had a hard time hooking them when they hit it straight downstream.


Around 1pm another fish hit and at first I thought it was a brown trout because of the slow fight. But then she realized she was hooked and put up a surprising battle for her size even making the click sing a few times on my new Hardy 4" Wide Spool Perfect. A 22" female fresh out of the lake.
 

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Beautiful fly, beautiful fish, and a great looking reel. Enjoy!

I see you went with some tape for the running line slippage- how's that working?

Any updates on the "die-off", by the way? Are they still leaning towards the thiamine deficiency?

Thanks,

-Bill
 

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Thanks Bill! The 3M Templex Rubber Splicing tape is working out great for me. I like using 2 bands of the tape and pinch the line between them.

The steelhead die-off problem seems to have tapered off. I haven't seen any stressed fish in the past two weeks and the lady that runs the fly shop at the upper end of the river in Altmar told me the anglers she has spoken to also haven't been seeing any dying fish lately.

The NYSDEC is pretty certain it is an acute thiamine deficiency problem caused by eating too many alewives out in Lake Ontario. The DEC fish pathologist says that once they have been in the river for awhile and stop eat the alewives their thiamine levels should start to increase and they should start to recover over time. That appears to be what is happening. Certainly some have died but some will recover.

The big unanswered question is why this happened this year? It hasn't been seen before since the steelhead program began on Lake Ontario back in 1974. Is there something that happened in the lake's food chain to cause the steelhead to eat more alewives than normal? Past stomach analysis done in the 1980's showed the alewife made up only 14% of the steelhead's diet.
 

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Didn't you post up an alewive pattern a while back?

They must have loved it so much, that's all they wanted to eat!!!

Well, it's good to hear that they should be doing good after this. Perhaps their preferred food source out in the lake is on a decline? Nature runs in cycles, with up's and down's in populations of every form of flora and fauna, a resulting effect will always be felt somewhere.

-Bill
 

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Nice fish!

I was on the river today but didn't hook any fish. I'm still trying to hook my first steelhead on the swing. Being an atlantic salmon fisherman and usually fishing surface or near surface, i have a hard time to figure out if I'm fishing at the right depth and if I'm fishing the type of water that is productive.

I saw one "dying" fish this morning... Hope it's the last one!

Fred
 

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I'm heading on the 26th for3 days, hope the river isn't blown out. We are getting a lot oh rain down in Va and I think it's heading north. Putting my early Christmas present into action. Orvis Clearwater 7130.
 

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Nice day Paul. Thanks for keeping us informed. Hopefully you're right that the fish are correcting themselves. I am always reminding myself that our wild fish ratio is low and that or artificial fishery will recover due to the hatchery but the fact is our lakes are changing. They are cleaner than they have been in a long time and that must be changing the ecosystem. Our practices of the 80s and 90s may not be the correct choices. Has anybody mentioned anything about how large the alewive population is in lake Ontario? I have to believe it is larger than the upper lakes if they believe the steelhead are feeding heavily on them.
 

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Beautiful fish , love the fly !!
Hard to beat big marabous in cold water :smokin:
Thanks for sharing :)


Mike
 

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I heard some talk about the alewife population being unusually large this year but that the alewife themselves were on average smaller than normal and not as healthy for some reason. This potentially or does contribute to an increased production of thiaminze(sp?) within the alewife themselves. The abundance and smaller size may have contributed to them being a more attractive prey source for steelhead and with the higher concentrations of thiaminize led to the situation. This is just one scenario of many possible even with these 3 factors only considered. Steelhead could be eating more alewife but the alewife on normal years are healthier so the same situation doesn't occur on this level year to year etc.

I'm hoping that this was a perfect storm situation where a bunch of things aligned not in the steelhead's favour and it's not indicative or representative of the future. And quite frankly if it is, while crap for fishing, it will be another step in the evolution of the wild steelhead that exist in Lake O.

Mike
 
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