Monday, April 18, 2011

Fishing with Strolis

The second part of the weeklong ACF fishapalooza began last Thursday when I took off at lunch and headed over to the airport to pick up a good buddy Rich Strolis, of Catching Shadows, fresh off his flight out from CT. Rich is a great guy and seemingly guides more than he gets out to fish himself, so I really wanted us to have some success while showing him my central Ohio playground. After a quick stop by the house to drop off some gear and pick up other gear we took off to hit the Mad and chase some browns around. Our target area was a stretch I have not fished in a bit so it was fun to see how it has changed. True to her nickname of 'the Maddening River' she gave up her bites sparingly, but I was able to 'Mufas-ize' an 18" and a 16" fish. We moved a number of other fish with a few that hooked up and then decided they'd had enough and spit the hook. I do believe I will fish her again soon...

After a quick bite and a few Guiness we hit the sack knowing that our wake up call would come early the next day. As the alarm went off I was already eyes open and ready to go. Based on river levels and a few phone calls we decided to head up to the Vermillion to start off the day. We got there to see pretty clear water that was just a bit off color and enough fish around to play with. We walked a long stretch hoping to be able to swing a few flies, though we carried indi rods as well. The highlight of the morning was Rich hooking up on the swing to a big bright fish that took a hard tug and a few rolls before slicing his line for a quick getaway.

The oddity of the morning was a double landed fish. I nymphed through a run and burried my fly deep in the mouth of a drop back male. That guy was having nothing to do with my forceps in his mouth trying to get the fly...a few flops and he popped my line and took off with the fly still in. No big deal I figured as the fish was pretty beat up and not really picture material anyway despite being pretty girthy. About ten minutes later Rich yelled up 'Fish On' so I headed down to help out and found that he had his egg buried right next to my fly! Both flies removed, along with a third, from the mouth of this active dude and away he went.

Lunchtime hit and we took off to head east across the Alley. We stopped at my favorite river and found that it was super low and gin clear, but we decided to take a stroll anyway as it is so scenic. We did see a few fish but there was no getting near them, and the few spots in that stretch with nice dark slots were already manned upon our arrival. Wonder how wet wading in jeans worked out for that one family...brrrr... We finished off the evening with a long walk swinging flies on Conneaut before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning saw us hitting Elk despite the weather...which was ridiculous. We got there to find gin clear water, but the wind was starting to pick up. We kicked up a few fish here and there as we worked our way up river and marvelled and how gorgeous the area was. Long story short the wind was a steady 35mph and gusting to 50mph which meant that any attempt to mend and the wind would blow your whole rig upstream. The trees coming down all around us was a bit unnerving to say the least! At one point we heard a massive crash up around the bend and within minutes the river went to total chocolate for a half hour or so. Twice we had trees come down within about 25 yards of where we had just been so we were both a bit on edge. When the wind calmed down the rain picked up and within a few hours the river was visibly rising and the runs were chocolate milk so we called it a day.

I had a blast hanging out and fishing with Rich for a few days. Preliminary plans are in the works for a trip out east to chase some fish around...

Also had a few good shots emailed over to me from some of my customers that are getting in to solid Michigan browns on ACF flies. Here are a few that took a Cotton Candy Double Deceiver, Red Rocket, and Voodoo Squatch. Thanks for the pictures guys, glad you are hammering on some fish!


  1. Wow, having trees come down around you like that sure would be unnerving! glad to hear you made it out ok, with a few fish caught too!

  2. Nice pics! Glad you guys had a good time.

  3. GFP - Extreme is thrown around a bit too much these days but applied in this was truly extreme conditions for fly fishing on Saturday!

  4. Very nice pics Mike! So you must have got the text /picture of that big male steelhead I caught on Thursday just before your outing!