11-07-04 - 2nd Annual West Side Steelhead Clowns
Waters Fished: Vermilion River
Fish Caught: 0 personally
Outing Date: 11-07-04
Weather: Clouds, sun breaking through later on.
Air Temp: Pleasant (60's)
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: up after recent rains
Water Color: Muddy, visibility about 6"
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Dragon's Tooth Spey mostly
Pattern Color: Purple
Fishing Quality: Slow, but that was expected
After dinner at what was formerly known as BW3 (I highly recommend)
and a night spent at Tim "The Enchanter"'s new home in
Avon Lake, we all got up to head to the Vermilion River in Ohio.
After attending the first WSSC outing in
2003, I was determined to return - this time with an entire
posse from the true "ultra west". With the new "Big
Chub" competition, I'd have to say that this is, to some extent,
Ohio's Pet Fly Smackdown in the east....a gathering of the diehards
for a challenging day on the water and lots of camaraderie.
Now the way it goes, it's one of those outings where you're not
quite sure what you're doing or where you're going if you're not
from around there; just like last year we all hooked up with Vermilion
native Ed Clary (Reel Easy). Last year Ed had done well the day
prior in the water behind his home; this year guess what? He had
3 steelies just a couple days back in the same spot again. Last
year finding fish was tough, so this year Ed decided he'd share
more new (to us) water...the waters behind his home!
After convening at Mill Hollow - the designated "home base"
for the WSSC outing - we all piled back into the cars and headed
over to Ed's place. Ed was extremely generous in lending me a pair
of Neoprenes to use for the day...man talk about SKIN TIGHT and
they were supposed to be my size! It took 20 minutes to get those
things on, but admittedly once they were on they were quite comfortable.
We all then huffed off into the woods...at first not a difficult
hike but then we got to "the spot"; the point at which
we'd truly descend into the river valley below. Everyone made it
safely; I'm amazed that Ed routinely completes this trek, all in
the name of Smallmouth (in the Spring) and Steelies.
Once in the gorge, we hiked upstream to a bend where Ed had done
well the day prior. I spent much of my time rigging up the Centerpin
before getting on the water to join my buddies. Clarity was nil..maybe
6"...so I opted to drift something BIG and DARK. I may perhaps
be the only pinner to ever drift and swing a spey underneath a float!
Ed knows the water here like...well let's just say he was aware
of every dropoff, every rock, every holding spot, every ledge and
cut. Despite this intimate knowledge we spent much of the morning
casting blindly. Admittedly, the Vermilion is a tough stream. I
don't look forward to fishing the Vermilion for the fish...I come
here for the unadulterated setting.
Most of the morning we just ended up walking downstream. Jenkin's
saw some movement, but otherwise it was very uneventful. The butt
had come loose on my new 7wt., So I was FORCED to use the centerpin.
Forcing myself to use it helped me get USED to it!
While some of the guys were further downstream, I held back and
took a lot of photos. When I finally got down to them, I learned
that Ed had landed a steelie out of a deep run, using a nymph tipped
with spawn. In water this dirty, I myself was getting ready to start
begging around for spawn...you needed something "more"
to get a fish to find your fly, something that had scent to it.
Around noon we hiked back out...it was time for lunch!
Much of the afternoon simply consisted of hanging out, meeting
folks, talking about whatever. The food was great - an excellent
pot luck! I can pretty much leave you with the pictures..it's hard
to try and remember (and report) all that was said between 38 anglers.
I will say this, 38 guys went out in the AM, only 4 or so steelies
were landed, and all came on spawn. The "V" is hardly
an EASY river.
BTW, one other thing worth mentioning - on our drive home we noticed
something strange in the northern sky around South Bend, Indiana.
A huge green glow hung in the air, seeming to move randomly without
pattern. Our intial hunch was that it was the Northern Lights...after
returning home we found out that yes, indeed, we had seen the Northern
Lights as far south as Indiana!