About Me

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
My name is Ron Lewis. I consider myself to be an avid fly fisher and have migrated towards quality over quantity these last few years. Not that going out and catching a half dozen Browns on the Mad River is a bad thing...I am just hooked on the high I receive while bringing a 28" Brown to hand, or have a day when eighty-one inches of fish are released in three hours. And yes, these feats were accomplished on the Mad River in Ohio. If you find yourself in the area get in touch. Also, be sure and look up Ohio Trophy Trout Hunter on Facebook and join the group. Guide Rates: Bridge to Bridge - $250 Custom Walks - $Call for Pricing Instruction on the Mad River - $200 (Instruction on the river consists of a personal assessment of the anglers skill sets, and then formulating a 3 hourish lesson designed for targeted angler improvement.)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fourteen On...Seven To Hand...





My trip to the Alley was a great start to the 2015 Fall Steelhead Run.  I arrived on the Alley Wednesday with little more than an hour before darkness ended any further fishing opportunities.  Building up to this moment there was a lot of advice toward delaying the trip due to the forecasted weather.  There is usually opportunity; one just has to find it. 

Fortunately, I was able to maximize the time I had Wednesday, and managed two fish on a Gregg Senyo AI streamer.  After complete darkness, I found myself standing in the river listening to dozens of fish making their way upstream to find their spawning grounds.  I threw a few casts out there, but came to the conclusion feeding time had been replaced by moving day.  I was totally content with just standing in the darkness and listening as the fish pushed past my feet, seemingly without caution.  I knew I would be returning to this spot early in the morning to find many of these fish in their temporary shelters, dragging them kicking and screaming to my net. 

So I thought, upon my return to the river, it had risen two plus feet and the flow went from mellow and clear to extremely fast, turbulent, and on the muddy side.  There would be no fishing on this river.  With this sinking in, I decided to head towards Pennsylvania, only stopping briefly at Conneaut Creek to find her on the rise, as now every Ohio stream was out of play…Pennsylvania bound. 

I went as far as Walnut Creek, and the sadness overtook me when the realization of Western PA not fishing on this day set in.  It was time for research and exploration. 

I have no idea how many miles I put on the road and feet Thursday, but it was a lot.  In the end, I finished the day with numerous access points entered into the Outdoor Adventure Vehicles’ GPS and back at Conneaut, which was now blown and still on the rise, and then back on another Ohio stream, which was showing promise, having dropped about twelve inches, and now with about the same in visibility. 

It was time to eat and get some rest.  Friday was to have an early start and a long day with plans to meet up with Scott Smallwood and Jordan Rambo, fish all day, then make the five hour trip home. 

I woke up on my Birthday to learn Scott was not able to make it due to reasons out of his control, and Rambo had to work.  More rain had hit overnight so I decided to place my odds back in PA, planning to arrive at Walnut Creek just after first light. 

Upon my arrival at Walnut, I found a full parking lot and shoulder-to-shoulder combat fishing as far as the eye could see.  This was disappointing, and I set coordinates to a spot on Elk Creek, finding dozens of cars in one lot, and seven in another.  Knowing this meant overcrowding, I decided to try my luck at yet another location on the Elk. 

Here I found promise, five cars in total and about a half-mile walk to the river.  I decided to give it a shot and geared up trekking my way toward the water.  To my dismay, I found the same combat fishing situation I had spent much of the morning running from.  Since I was where I was, I decided to follow, I mean slide down the goat trail to the river. 

As I walked and greeted the folks along the way, I kept hearing the same story…”that guy three down had one on, nothing else going on around here”…this was truly going to be a pure research trip.  I walked, and I walked, and I walked some more; every time I thought I was at the end of the line, I was proven wrong. 

It finally happened, I found the last person well over a mile down the river, and five hundred yards downstream from him was a straight span of water without a sole on it.  The area was flat with no cover to speak of until about two hundred yards down stream.  It was here, a cut behind a root-ball had formed a nice long run with slack-water behind it.  


I figured there had to be fish in this run and a few casts of my streamer verified there were.  The take was hard and lightening fast….game on…so I thought.  Another hour or so proved fruitless.  Streamers and tactics were changed many times over and nothing.  It was time to set up a Czech rig and see what else might be available in this run.  

A few casts of the Czech rig attested there were still fish before me.  After every few casts, fish were getting off, breaking off, or, finding my net.  Oh, and other characters were moving in!  

Fortunately, they did not pressure me too much and only stayed half the time I was there.  In total, I managed twelve hookups at this location, netting five fish, and breaking off four.  Two of the four that broke off were huge.  One gave the ultimate aerial display, leaping several feet into the air and crashing into the wall of the stream, landing behind a log where I figured I had certainly lost it.  The fish then sprang several more feet and over the log to continue impressing the small crowd, until finally running downstream, rolling in the line and breaking off the strongest connection in the rig.  I would have loved a picture, but this Steelie was having none of it.  I think it is time for a GoPro!

In the end there are a few lessons here.  First, have fun and practice so when your best opportunities present themselves, you are in a position to best take advantage of them.  Next, if you are fishing locations you know contain fish, but are not catching any, change up your flies and techniques until you do find a technique or fly that works.  No one style or fly works all the time.  I believe my success on this trip was generally due to my use of the Czech rig.  Hooking up with twelve fish in four hours, without any other person doing so in the same run, tells me my style was getting the job done.  

Finally, this trip was classic Steelhead fishing.  What this means is, you as the angler are given numerous variables such as weather, flow rates, and temperatures.  You have to weigh this information, project the outcomes, and then determine where your best odds of catching fish remain. 

I am always asked where I am going to fish when planning a trip and the answer is always the same.  One cannot determine where they are fishing until all the variables are weighed, and a particular stream or area presents as the best opportunity to catch fish.  You may have the time available, love fishing the Chagrin, but the only fishable river could be in Pennsylvania.  Not knowing the Pennsylvania streams at this moment has likely just killed your only hard earned opportunity to fish Steelhead Alley for the year.

My hope is for you all to get out there and perhaps I will see you on the water as I too enjoy our resources. 


Trout Run Weir
Lake Erie...too rough to fish.


New pattern I am working on...;)



Friday, October 23, 2015

Mad River CleanSweep - Fall 15'

If you build it, they will come!
Conversations can often lead to nowhere, or they can create some of the most amazing moments; instants of time greater than any one person, and certainly greater than one individual could ever imagine.

Bitter cold greeted the Mad River Clean-Sweep volunteers as we began to amass at the rivers edge, and one of these moments in time commenced to being realized…pure greatness!


Trash from 36
Frost covered rubbish soaked and stung the fingers as Ohio weather greeted us with wind-chill temperatures in the thirty degree range, but the Army of ant like volunteers pressed on as if there were no barriers to the mission, rid the Mad River of the abuse she has suffered at the hands of man. 

Twenty-one individuals gathered at the Mad River’s 36 Bridge on October 17, 2015, not to fish, but to return the treasured Brown Trout fishery to as litter free as humanly possible. 

Got Bike?
Three drift boats covered the river from the 29 Bridge, to the bridge at Eagle City.  Simultaneously, three mobile land teams covered the river’s parking spaces from the Pimtown to the St. Paris crossings.  This sweep cast the broadest scope of a Mad River cleanup to date, netting 200 square feet of tightly packed rubbish, weighing in at 1750 pounds.  One can only imagine the surprise as the payloads began being dropped off, and the realization set in as to how unprepared we were to handle this amount of trash.  The solution was to make a mound and return the next day with a dump trailer to haul everything off to the landfill.

Still short by a boat load...
The Clean-Sweep derived from a conversation on an Ohio Trophy Trout Hunter Facebook thread.  It was brought to the successful fruition by coordination from many individuals, organizations, clubs, and sponsors.  I would like to thank Scott Smallwood, Tom Allen, Don Boysel, TU Mad Men Chapter, Miami Valley Fly Fishers, Central Ohio Fly Fishers, Buckeye United Fly Fishers, Cabelas, Mad River Outfitters, ReelFlyRod.com, and Urbana University for all of their coordination, donations, and members’ support.  Most of all, I would like to thank each individual volunteer who sacrificed their day to assist with the first, but far from last, Mad River Clean-Sweep. 
Lessons were learned and the future bi-annual events, as well as other planned solutions, should prove to maintain the river in as pristine condition as possible, and do so in a streamlined process.


May you all keep your lines tight, and our waters clean…see you in the Spring for our next CleanSweep!

Please enjoy the pictures...
Final crew off duty at 6PM











Sunday, April 12, 2015

First 2015 Spring Alley Trip

As many of you know I had planned a Steelhead Alley trip for April 8th and 9th, but had to cancel due to all the weather forecasts combined with river conditions.

That was until Scott Smallwood called with news from Josh of Mad River Outfitters.  The weather forecasted was failing to make it to the actual East Alley basin over the past few days.  They speculated these rivers were being protected from the storm cells due to the significant ice on the Great Lakes creating a cold front.  When the warm Northern air hit this front, the cells were pushed directly East outside of the watersheds for the Eastern rivers.  I am no weatherman, but, when you looked at the history of those past few days and put a little science to it, it all made sense to me.
 
Long story short, I took a call from Scott at 1930hrs while I was cooking dinner bitching about not getting to fish and he convinced me there was a chance…a chance!

That’s all it takes sometimes.

By 2100hrs I had the wife fed, kitchen cleaned, car packed, and was on the road to Columbus to meet with Scott and Steve.  My wife thought I was crazy!

We departed Columbus around 2230 and began our adventure.

Arriving in Geneva, Ohio around 0100hrs on the 9th we checked into our room and after a long five-hour nap on the floor for me, we were ready to roll and show the world how it is done.  Then, I checked the gauges…bad news, the rivers in Ohio were all up and blowing out.

Continuing to review the data, we elected to try the backup plan to the backup plan… Pennsylvania!  On the road again…

Arriving at Elk Creek, we witnessed the most beautiful sight a tired, hungry, and committed Steelheader could view…clear water with dark holes and decent flows.  It was game on!

Rain caught up with us, but our area was being spared the worst of it.  Getting waders on, we met a great guy, Jordan Rambo.  Jordan and us hit it off and we decided we would all be fishing together this day.
 
In the water, the group immediately found a bunch of dark shadows scurrying about and excitement began to build.  Within minutes, fish on came from Scott…we did it…it was going to be a great trip!

Sucker!!!…fish on…Sucker…fish on…Sucker…you get my point!  We did catch a few fingerlings from the previous weeks stocking and continued to do so all day.

Then it happened…my line went taught as the indicator slid back toward the seam and I raised the 9’ 7wt Recon to ensure hook set.  FISH ON!!! 

A few seconds later and this was obviously not a sucker as Chrome Steel slid about giving the rod a workout, and us an aerial display.  A few minutes later I was getting my grip and grin on and she was back with her friends.

As we continued to molest the water Scott took a Steelie to hand, lost one more beast, and we had a few hookups that were suspicious.  In between this, a lot of Suckers and fingerlings were taken to hand and safely released.

We took a little break and decide to go up river from where we were as the rain began to threaten the river more minute by minute.  Trekking on ahead I released a cast into a slight depression where the bottom was looking as if it were dark blue.  Mend, mend, and once again, it was FISH ON!

About this time our luck had run out as far as weather was concerned.  The rain began arriving in blinding sheets as I fought to bring this beautiful Steelhead to hand.  I used my hand net to tail her and satisfied I had her secured, I reach for my camera.  As I pressed on the power button she broke my grip, bent my rod in a gravel grinding U shape, and snapped the line clean.  No picture…just a story!  A great story though!

By the time I tied back on, the water was a nice cream color and prior to us getting off the river, it looked like coffee.  Trip concluded…

In total we managed three fish to hand on the 9th and likely had a few more on, but with no confirmation.  That made for a great trip when it seemed all but lost on three occasions prior to departing for PA.

About twelve hours on the road for about five hours of fishing, sleeping on the floor, and getting to bed at 0130 on the 10th, made this guy a tired man at work the next day, but it was all worth it.

Getting out with Scott and Steve, meeting new friends, and learning new water is what it is all about.

The Alley is back to producing nice fish so get on out there. 

Tight lines and wade safely!

#OhioTrophyTroutHunter












Mad Situation 4/12/15

The Mad has once again taken a large amount of warm ground water and reached flows upward of 3300cfs on the Paris gauge.  That’s a good thing…

She is now hovering in the 700 region and by looking at the graph is likely a deep green in color.  This is a little on the high side to wade, so if you choose to do so please be overly cautious. 

Monday should be perfect in flow and have good color if she gets there before the next bout of rain forecasted.


If you do get out post a report.  I am working today and tomorrow so no fishing for me.  That sucks!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mad River March 27, 2015

Welcome back.

The river was in great shape yesterday as far as flow and color were concerned.  Temperature was not the best, but it has also been worse.  Today will likely be the last of the decent water for this latest river rise.  After today, I would expect low, clear, and cold water.  Thats three strikes on the Mad!

I dropped in around 11AM and was disappointed to see my walk was being walked.  Since my ride was on the way, I decided to stick to my plans and do what I tend to do...relax, and hope to get at least one.

It was cold, in case you didn't get that, it was cold...I must be getting wimpy as I age because it seems every year it takes longer to get my "Steelhead" hands.  This year with limited fishing I have no cold hands tolerance.  A friend, Phillip did advise IceBreaker gloves.  I will be giving these a try.  I have more gloves than my wife has shoes!

I began the day with a top of the water column presentation and was having no luck with every color presented.  I decided to get the fly down and that seemed to do the trick.  Totally opposite of how I would normally fish the conditions, but, never draw absolutes with anything.  There is always a time and place to look at other tactics.

Eventually I found out they wanted a slow or no presentation.  Once again, way outside of my normal fishing technique.

I ended up with three to the net.  19 inches topped the tape and the other two were in their mid teens.  I did not measure them because it was cold...I only measured the 19 because I thought it may have been 20 inches or so (look at the shoulders on this guy).  Did I mention my  hands were cold :).  I missed a double take and one other, seeing both, they too were in there mid to late teens.  That made for a nice day on the water.  Took a bonus chub and snagged a poor Sucker to round out the Mad River "Trifecta" :).

It was a great day to get out.  I know a couple of others did as well and had a tough day fish wise.  So if you were on the water and were skunked, know other good anglers had the same result.  In the end I think it was about figuring them out...thats what I seem to have a knack for.

The next forecasted rain is Thursday and the temperatures are supposed to be in the 50's and 60's the whole time.  This should kick the river into overdrive; both fish and fishermen will be in a frenzy.  Good luck finding unmolested waters but if you do, you have a great chance at a big score.

Please remember to catch and softly release.  These fish do not belong on a wall!.  Take a good photo or two and the fish can be recreated for a lifetime of enjoyment.  They are also not going to be good eating if they are big.  If you must sink your teeth into a Mad River Brown please make it a one or two year old...about 12-14 inches.  That said, the best fish in the area is at the fish farm upriver...eat all your Omega 3 from there if you would.

Be safe on the water!