Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hot Shooting On A Cold Day!

The fishing weather finally caved in, so JD and daughter Leah opted for a goose hunt instead. Here are the results from a New Year's Eve morning shoot with John and Jason from Crooked River Guide Service. These guys do all the work, have the spots scouted out, and sing sweet goose music. This was Leah's first goose hunt and she bagged her two birds, one of which was banded. Think we can get her to wear the band on a necklace?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Solid Chrome- Size XL!

Dog friend, Jeff Liskay, shows an oversized chromer- his largest Ohio fish this year. The big female hit the tape at 331/4" x 191/4" and scaled out just under 151/2 pounds before being released. The fish hit a swung tube fly of his own design.

A well-known angler, Jeff travels the Great Lakes region to feed his steelhead need and was recently appointed as a Patagonia Fishing ambassador.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Doc!

Dog friend Doc Fred Brindle spent his 65th birthday on the water with JD and The Fishdog. Doc had some hot fishing on a cold NE Ohio day. Here's one of a number of Lake Erie steelies that were eating egg flies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Wading Shoe?

As we all know, there is no wading shoe on the market that is perfect under all conditions. The Sticky Rubber version of Patagonia's Riverwalker Shoe comes pretty close. The sole on this shoe grips effectively on a very wide range of bottom substrates. It has has great lateral and front to back support along with solid heel and toe protection. It is the lightest "hard use" shoe on the market and made of materials that have little water absorbtion, so the addition of water weight is minimal. Great for long treks to your favorite steelhead holes when there is snow on the ground!

In totally gnarly conditions you can strap on a pair of Korker's sandals and minimize the "cinder block" shoe syndrome found with heavier wading shoes.

Stop Commercial Sale of Permit in Florida!

Those of us who have had the privilege to fish for and catch permit know their value as a top saltwater gamefish. Please go to Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited ( and sign the petition that will be submitted to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to give permit gamefish status and prohibit commercial sale.

The mission of Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited is is to support research, education, and conservation of flats gamefish. Thanks to Damon Bungard for the permit photo!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Bridges of Ashtabula County

In addition to great steelhead waters, Ashtabula County has the most covered bridges of any county in Ohio. The longest covered bridge in the U.S. was completed several months ago at Indian Trails Park over the Ashtabula River. The Selmen-Gulf Bridge stretches over 600 feet across the valley and rises almost 100 feet above the river. There is great hole right under the bridge!

Ashtabula River in the News

The Ashtabula River recently received status as Ohio's 14th State Scenic River, with the dedication ceremony taking place this past October 30. The Ashtabula has quietly emerged as a top-notch steelhead fishery despite the fact it has not been stocked. At the dedication JD and dog friend, Will Turek, got an opportunity to talk steelhead flies with ODNR director Sean Logan.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Boa tubes

Here's an assortment of Boa Tubes. It is a multi-species/multi-function pattern. Boa yarn is available at many craft stores and is available both solid and multicolored.

Tube: Eumer 13mm or 17mm Ballhead Tube, with liner and junction

Tail: Marabou or Arctic Fox body

Body: Boa yarn, also called eyelash yarn

Topping: Sparkle Scale Flash

Head: Ice Dub or Palmer Chenille

For steelhead, I like the length of the ball tube and junction to be 1 1/2" to 2". The Daiichi #1640 in size 2 is the perfect hook for this pattern.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The Lake Erie tributary bite is on! All streams are finally holding decent numbers of fish and the catching has been great when water conditions are right.

This chromer hit a JD original pattern, the Boa Minnow in blue & white tied on a Eumer ballhead tube. One totally tubulicious fly dudes!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Perfect Water

High water from snow melt and rain on the Lake Erie tribs a few days earlier finally started to drop by Thanksgiving morning. Leah Darkes found the steelhead in a cooperative mood as the water was clearing. She does the grip-n-grin on a nice fish that hit an egg/nymph combo fished under an indictator while The Fish Dog looks on with approval. Leah landed several other fish before heading home for turkey dinner.

Turkey Day Steelhead

Leah Darkes And The Fish Dog experience some hot steelhead action on the annual Thanksgiving morning fishing trip with their old man, JD. Water temps were 35 degrees, so dead-drifting an egg/nymph combo was the technique of choice. Leah stayed toasty in Watermaster II waders and a LW R4 Jacket. As usual, The Fish Dog was wet wading in a smelly fur coat!

K9 Fish Finder!

The Fish Dog does a little underwater recon work!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Weather & Hot Fishing

When water temps fall close to the freezing point, dead-drifting will be most productive for Ohio steelehead. An egg/nymph combo fished under an indicator is hard to beat. Steelhead will be found in deeper holding areas just on the edge of main current flows. Get a fly in front of them and they will eat it! Often peak activity will be "Banker's Hours" from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM- and just a slight rise in water temp will trigger action. Make sure you are dressed for the cold and your gear will function in sub-freezing air temeperatures. The Nautilus CCF reel is one of the best for cold weather. The fully-sealed drag system is impervious to any moisture and maintenace free.

This colorful male hit a purple Prince nymph.

November Chrome

After several high water episodes to flush out fallen leaves, steelhead have begun entering Ohio's Lake Erie tribs in increasing numbers. Fresh from the lake, this chrome hen hit a blue & white Ice Head Zonker on the swing. Look for Ohio steelheading to continuously improve through the winter and peak mid-March to mid-April. Swinging flies can be very effective in water temps down to 38 degrees or so.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Big River Smallie

Buck Juhasz lifts a hefty smallmouth hooked in Ohio's Grand River. At 16 plus inches this fish is an old-timer. The resident fish have slow growth rates and a fish this size is a trophy catch. The bass was released to fight another day.
Buck is well apointed in Patagonia Watermaster Waders and Meshmaster vest!

Grand River Autumn

Dog friend, Buck Juhasz, enjoying action on Ohio's Grand River. Warm October weather provided one last shot at smallmouth bass and he and JD found them in a cooperative mood.

Selecting Flies

Roboman McSpey gives basic sound advice on selecting flies to use. Use a bright color on a sunny day and a dark color on a cloudy day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pretty As A Picture

The colors of October are present in this beautiful specimen of a green sunfish caught in the Potomac River near Harper's Ferry, WV. JD and dog friend Bryan Kelly were rock hopping the shoreline after smallmouth when this colorful guy hit a surface bug. Bryan and Debbi Kelly operate The Angler's Inn B&B in Harper's Ferry. Bryan also guides on the Potomac and owns Kelly's White Fly Shop in Shepherdstown, WV.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Early Chrome

A big dog friend "woof" to Don Salvatore who nailed this wild Muskegon River chromer while stripping an olive Meat Wagon streamer. Don, Wael Dardir, Jeff Liskay, and JD were exploring the lower Muskegon on an R&R day after the Great Lakes Spey Fest. Don was throwing a Scott 7-wt. X2S with a SA 250 gr. Streamer Express Line.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Tubes Have Arrived!

These awesome looking tube flies were tied by dog friend Greg Senyo of Steelhead Alley Outfitters. Eumer materials were used to produce these patterns. The use of tube flies and the materials to tie them are fairly new to U.S. anglers, but have been around in Europe for a number of years.

Greg Senyo has been an Orvis Fly Tyer of the Year and offers a variety of guided trips throughout the Great Lakes area.
NOTE: The Bugger Best Box in the photo fits perfectly into Patagonia's Great Divider and Sub Divider Bags!

For more info on tube flies check out operated by dog friend Tony Pagliei.

WT At Work With The TH'er

Dog Friend Will Turek demonstrates Skagit Casting at the Great Lakes Spey Fest held at Henning Park on Michigan's Muskegon River. Over 100 people representing 7 states and 4 countires attended.

The Spey Fest was hosted by Great Lakes Fly Fishing Co. of Rockford, MI. Kudo's to head organizer Bob Braendle for all his hard work and may thanks to all who participated.

Spey Fest Refugee

Roboman McSpey was found homeless along the banks of Michigan's Muskegon River during the recent Great Lakes Spey Fest. He was mumbling incoherently about head lengths, grain weights, and poly leaders. Here he is in recovery and showing one of his favorite tube fly patterns. Stayed tuned for his ongoing angling adventures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lakeside Chrome

Hey gang, check out this link:

Dog friend and PA guide karl Wieixlmann runs down what is need to chase chromers in Lake Erie. Give it a try!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just What The Doctor Ordered!

Doc Fred Brindle, a long time friend of the dog pushes out a nice loop under overhanging branches on Ohio's Little Beaver Creek. Perfect September weather makes it a great day to be on the water. Assorted smallmouth bass and a hybrid striper made the day even more enjoyable!


Here's a plug for dog friends, Pam & Chris McKimm who operate The Brewkettle in Strongsville, OH. The BK has been rated as one of the top brewpups in the country. The ability to BYOB (brew your own beer) on site makes it very unique. With over 100 recipes and all the ingredients and equipment on hand, you can create your own special brew. One of the best things is being able to design your own label. There is a long wait get a scheduled brewing time, so don't wait if you are interested!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Change of Seasons

As the midwest hardwoods change color with the approach of Fall, so do brown and brook trout as spawning nears. This Mad River (OH) brown is just starting to color up. Another month or so and it will be lit up in full spawning display. As habitat improvements continue on the Mad, succesful natural reproduction will become more common.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

R&D On The Water

During the initial R&D phase, the Crawpin tempted JD's largest redfish ever on a fly. Fishing South Carolina's Isle of Palms with Capt. J.R. Waits, this redfish ate and olive Crawpin. A Scott X2S 908, SA Sharkskin SW Taper, and Nautilus CCF #8 were the tools in use.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Muskegon Smallmouth

Dog friend and ACS Pro, Kevin Feenstra, shows off a sizeable smallmouth from Michigan's Muskegon River. Known mainly for it's trout and migratory salmon and steelhead, the Muskegon is also a top-notch fishery for smallies and other warm water species. To experience Muskegon River fishing, contact Kevin Feenstra and his guiding crew.

MultiSpecies Fly Pattern

Here's another productive fly pattern from JD to try out! This one is called the Crawpin and can imitate a crawfish,sculpin, crab, mud minnow, or whatever. So far, it has tempted smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, rock bass, and even redfish when tied for saltwater use. Ya gotta love flies that can catch about anything that swims! Here's the basic recipe,in the original color. Adjust to your needs:

The Crawpin

Hook: Mustad C52S BLN, size #2
Tail: Tan or peach marabou with copper Flashabou
Body: Root beer Estaz
Legs: Two brown/black rubber hackles on each side, doubled over and tied down in front of the body
Wing: Dk. brown black barred rabbit strip. Push hook through the strip about an inch from the front end and tie down the strip over the barbell eyes
Head: Brown deer hair, flared over top of the eyes and trimmed
Eyes: Medium black nickle or lead barbell style

Add water and catch fish!

Nice Ohio Brown!

A big dog friend "woof" for Buck Juhasz who shows a nice brown trout taken on a nymph from Ohio's Mad River on a warm September afternoon. Several smaller fish were caught on dries the same evening. Buck is well appointed in his Reinvest and Watermaster Waders. The Mad River, located in the rolling hills of Champaign County in western Ohio, is fed by numerous springs that keep the water temperature low enough to support trout year round. Some natural reproduction does occur, but the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocks brown trout fingerlings to maintain the trout population.
For complete info on fishing the Mad River and also guided float and wade trips, contact Mad River Outfitters in Columbus.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dog Friends Hard At Work!

Check out the latest issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine for some words from friends of the dog. Bo Brines from Little Forks Outfitters in Midland, MI has a great article on the Chippewa River close to him. Also, John Nagy of the Lake Erie Steelhead Guide fame has a fly pattern, the Blue and White Temple Dog Tube Fly that features a Eumer tube a nd plastic tubing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Fishdog Float

The Fishdog checks things out from the forward station of the Freedom Hawk 14 Kayak. Aspen and JD floated the upper Allegheny River from the Kinzua Dam down to Warren, PA, recently. A number of smallmouth bass and trout were hooked, landed, and released. Allegheny Outfitters rents canoes, kayaks, and also provides boat transport for this portion of the river. Patagonia's Great Divider bag fits right in the cockpit and keeps important gear high and dry.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In the Eye of the Media

JD has been visible in a variety of media recently. First of all, he has had several articles published in recent issues of Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine. JD and dog friends Steve Madewell and Jeff Liskay introduced Frank Smethurst of Trout Unlimited's On The Rise TV show to the joy and pain of Ohio steelhead fishing. Finally, JD had a short story included in the book "Friends On The Water" published by Val Atkinson.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Northwoods Solitude

Here is a view of Michgan's Wakely Lake from the cockpit of the Freedom Hawk 14 Kayak. Wakely is one of the top warmwater lakes in Michagan with special catch and release regulations and a limited season. It is a short hike off Rt. 72 about 10 miles east of Grayling.

The leaning post and moveable stabilizing pontoons on the Freedom Hawk 14 make it a pleasure to fish waters like Wakely Lake.
Note the Great Divider keeping all the gear high and dry.

Flies On the Big River

Mark Southard of Forward Cast Fly Shop in Louisville, KY, enjoys an evening session on the Ohio River below Markland Dam. Common catches here include smallmouth bass, white bass, wipers, stripers, largemouth bass and sauger. This type of water is wide open top exploration by fly anglers and represents one of fly fishing's final frontiers. It is a perfect example of the "Dream Global, Fish Local" philosophy.

Wounded Road Warrior

JD's 2003 Element took a hit last week and was temporarily out of commission. A piece of 2x4 was kicked back by a car and hit the windshield while travelling at 70 mph. Thank God for safety glass! The Dog Mobile was out of action for a day, but is road ready again!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Freedom Hawk 14


Jerry Darkes and the Fishdog sneak out for a couple hours fishing in the ultimate warm water fish hunting machine! Finally, a fishing kayak that is stable enough you can actually stand up in and fish. Check out the lean bar and outrigger type stabilizer pontoons on the back. They are easily deployed with handles that can be activated from a sitting position. For more info on the Freedom Hawk 14 click here.

Also, notice in the photo a couple other key warm water fishing accessories. Scott Fly Rod's 8' warm water rods (6, 8, and 10wt) make manuevering a fish to the boat easier. And Patagonia's Sunshade Shirt, PFD vest and paddling pants make fishing from a kayak especially comfortable and safe.

Muchos Gracias to D'Arcy Egan,, for the photo!

Dream Global, Fish LOCAL

The grass is always greener on the other side... or is it? Often we are so busy planning our next trip out of state or out of the country to some exotic location we overlook the riches of our own backyard.

In the midwest this is particularly true of the warm water fishing opportunities that abound right out our backdoors. Often give short shrift, largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike, muskie, walleye, panfish, wipers, stripers, carp, gar, freshwater drum all provide good sport and ample distraction with a fly rod.

Do yourself a favor. Next time you think about traveling half way around the world for another 8" trout, check out that farm pond or tributary river right out your back door. You just might be surprised to like what you find.

Will at LBC.jpg

Dog friend and Spey Casting guru Will Turek set down the two-hander long enough to float Ohio's Little Beaver Creek. In spite of the high water, this big river smallie, with a number of smaller fish, was caught during the day's outing.


Dog friend George Ayres with a nice bass taken on the Detroit River in Michigan. George and Jerry Darkes spent a great day fishing some with dog friend and Scott Fly Rod pro-staff member Capt. Brian Meszaros.


Different day... same great fishing. Chad Miller with a nice White Bass on the Detroit River in Michigan during another sucessful outing with Capt. B.

For more motor city fly fishing, check out Capt. Brian's website at

Warm Water Tube Flies? You Betcha

Maybe the next fly tying CRAZE? These river smallmouth hit tube fly patterns tied on Eumer Pro Fishing Accessories tube fly tubes and fly tying materials.

Made in Finland, Eumer products are the craze "across the pond". They have just recently become available in the U.S. and are currently represented by ACS in the Midwest.


This big smallie smashed a traditional Scandanavian tube fly pattern.

tube bass.jpg

Another nice fish taken on a crayfish pattern tied on a Eumer Tube. (Thanks to Will Turek for the pic!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friends of the Dog

We are proud and happy to blatantly promote and endorse the following on this continually growing, randomly organized list. If we forgot you for now, remind us, we are both getting old.

Feenstra Guide Service,
Capt. Brian Mezaros,
The Brew Kettle,
Lake County Metroparks,
Steve Madewell,
D'Arcy Egan,
Moldy Chum,
Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders,
Way Upstream,
Cleveland Metroparks,
Midwest Fly Fishing Magazine,
West River Publishing,
Wildcat Creek Outfitters,
Tube Flies,
Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine,
Schmidt Outfitters,
Mad River Outfitters,

Who We Work With

We represent these top companies:

Angler Sport Group,
Dr. Slick,
Eumer Pro Fishing Products,
Fishdog Films,
Freedom Hawk Kayaks,
Nautilus Fly Reels,
Pacific Fly Group,
Regal Fly Tying Vises,
Scientific Anglers,
Scott Fly Rods,

Check these companies and their products out and for more information ask the fish dog.