Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marching into Spring

The mild winter of 2012 has continued into March and the spring spawn has started early. Big females on the East Branch of the Rocky River were sending clouds of silt downstream last week as they cleaned out the redds and prepared to lay their eggs. Aggressive males inhaled large grapefruit leech flies swung behind the females as the water rose during warm rains on Thursday.

Friends joined me on the Chagrin River on a beautiful Saturday morning in a fruitless search for steel on my 50th birthday. Apparently the overnight temps sent the fish back into the deep holes and the bright sun kept them hunkered down deep. Seven of us fished the morning away without touching single steelie. One was spotted and one sucker was hooked; and that was it. At least the beer was cold and the cold pizza was as delicious as ever. Thanks Juris.

By Sunday morning the Rocky River was in prime shape and the spawners were very busy before dawn. I knew the warmer weather would bring out a crowd, but thankfully no one else was out thanks to the clocks leaping ahead. I concentrated on fish holding in a tail out away from the beds and landed a long, spent female on a pink egg. I lost a few others before calling it a morning. As expected, the warmer weather brought about out a big crowd. About 10 guys were stacked shoulder to shoulder on the East Branch as I drove south. Spawning steelhead definitely spawn a ton of anglers willing to crowd into a tight spot. From now on I'll be fishing early or late and going for very long walks in search of quiet water.

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