Monday, March 28, 2011

Skinny Creeks Fattened Up

The Scotts with Jr.'s first steelie taken with a centerpin.

Last winter Oswego County lived up to its reputation as one of the snowiest places in the country. Indeed, even after the recent thaws, you can still find several feet of snow in remote spots on the Tug Hill Plateau.

Fortunately, most of the white stuff has liquefied and poured down the face of the hill, fattening up the skinny creeks, swelling them to ideal steelhead spawning habitat.

And the fish are stormin' in from Lake “O” in unbelievable numbers. Scott VanDerWater, a Baldwinsville native who spends more time up here this time of year than he does at home, has been nailing massive quantities in Trout and Orwell Brooks , tributaries to the Salmon River, for over a week.

“Trout Brook was loaded with ‘em in the beginning of last week,” adds VanDerWater. “Then the thaw late in the week tripled the volume of water, making it all but impossible to fish. This week the water’s down to optimum levels again and the fish are everywhere.

“The fishin’s been so good, I took my seven-year-old, Scotty, and he nailed one, his first on a centerpin,” boasts the proud elder.

South Sandy and Grindstone Creeks are also enjoying good runs of chrome. A couple days ago, there was still an impassible snow drift across the Selkirk State Park Road leading to the mouth of Grindstone, but it should be melted by the end of this week.

Most fish are being taken by guys float-fishing with all the usual suspects: egg sacs, Berkley Trout Worms, and beads (try local Great Lakes Steelhead Co’s).

This is the greatest skinnywater steelhead bite of the year but it won’t last long, probably another week, maybe 10 days. Then the cricks’ll drop to normal, driving the fish out; and flow after heavy rains, bringing in one or two until about mid-April.

If the creeks are down when you get here, don’t despair. The Salmon River is swarming with so many steelies, in spots its floor looks like it's chrome plated. It'll remain that way until the middle of May.

Scott Sr. with one of his own

Male in March colors

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mission for Fishin’

Casting contest by Mike Riordan

Mike Riordan is on a mission.

“It is my desire to give back to the community,” says the Central Square resident.

And he’s doing it in the fishiest way imaginable.

In his personal response to the old saw: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, he started the Calvary Baptist Church Fishing Seminar five years ago, a program designed to teach youngsters all they need to know to go fishing and actually catch something.

The inspiration for Riordan’s goal came from a typical source: memories of fishing with his dad. After the elder Riordan died, Mike passed on the legacy to his own teenage son. But that only scratched the surface of his deep need to bless others with the gift his father left him.

His quest for fulfillment led him to where he took its “Anglers Legacy” pledge, agreeing to teach others how to fish.

One thing led to another and before you know it, Mike’s church got in on it and the program has blossomed. Now in its fifth year, the CBC Fishing Seminar has grown from a series of beginners classes to a program offering something for every level of fishing experience.

For instance, this year’s event, to be held on March 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., will have classes on everything from the little things like casting a fishing pole, arranging terminal tackle, tying knots and bait selection to specialized techniques like fly-fishing, casting for bass, and trolling and jigging for walleyes. One section will even demonstrate how to fillet your catch.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery will provide live fish for the touch-and-feel and fish identification portions of the seminar.

To ensure you don’t forget what’s been discussed, everyone will be given a book containing all the information—and then some—covered during the day.

Riordan promises an hour break mid-day in which pizza will be served.

Every kid in attendance will get tackle packs, including one from Oswego County Tourism containing Berkley Trilene XL line, Berkley PowerBait Wigglers and PowerBait Atomic Teasers. Door prizes and freebies will be handed out throughout the day. And several raffles will be held.

Best of all, it's all FREE.

For more information and to register go to; or call 315-668-7150.

Calvary Baptist Church is located on the corner of US Rt. 11 and Mudmill Road on the south side of Brewerton.

The following photos are courtesy of Mike Riordan and the Central Square Calvary Baptist Church:

Fish lesson

Live Walleye

Casting lessons

Playing fish

Touchy-feely session