New York’s Black River

When discussions of winter steelhead fisheries arise, most conversations lead to popular fisheries such as the Salmon River or Niagara River. But there are other options out there; some can rival the big boys when it comes to numbers of trophy sized trout. The Black River in Dexter, NY, is the northern most steelhead stream along the American side of Lake Ontario.

Black River, NY

While fish ladders allow steelhead to migrate up through the city of Watertown, most of the action takes place below the first dam in Dexter. Since the dam is only a few miles from the open waters of Lake Ontario, fresh run steelhead and browns appear at the dam throughout the fall and winter. As with any trout fishery, there are prime times and preferred gear that takes fish on a consistent basis.

Eggs, Eggs and more Eggs

It’s no secret that winter steelhead and browns love eggs, whether it’s the real deal or imitations thereof. The trick to picking the right bait is being tuned into the fishery and having a few options available. Jason Hamilton of Under the Float Guide Service is an egg fishing junkie and has a pulse on this fantastic fishery. “The Black has a reputation for its strong fall salmon run, but most folks don’t realize how good the steelhead and brown trout fishery can be,” says Jason.

“I find that Trout Beads are hard to beat in the fall when eggs are prevalent from the spawning salmon. But as we transition into winter, the fish tend to prefer real eggs tied in sacs.” As for the eggs, Jason will utilize eggs lightly cured in Pautzke’s Borx O Fire or straight fresh eggs. “The bite can change on a daily basis; some days the fish will take the cured eggs as fast as you can feed them and ignore the eggs on the next day. Having a variety of eggs will keep you on the bite!”

Be sure to mix up the netting colors when tying eggs sacs. The same blue netting that is popular to the south on the Salmon River works well here. But since the Black runs with a heavy tannic stain, bright netting is also a good bet. Bring a healthy mix of pink, white and chartreuse, the latter being the color preferred by the trophy browns that lurk here.

Float Fishing Reigns Supreme

The bottom of the Black River is strewn with boulders and broken rock, so bottom bouncing is difficult at best. Float fishing is the method Jason prefers to present his egg sacs.  “There are fast runs and deep holes below the dam in Dexter that are ideal for float fishing,” comments Jason.  “I find that big floats, those that can hold 12-20 grams of weight, are necessary to get your bait down and stay down in the swirling, heavy currents of the Black River. The fish aren’t as picky about the presentation as they can be about the bait.”

With the big floats, make it a point to bump up your mainline and leaders to handle big fish in the heavy flows; 10-14 pound mainline and 8 pound fluorocarbon leaders are standard gear for this fishery. Be sure to check your hook points and leaders often as the ragged bottom can chew up terminal tackle, which can lead to lost fish if not checked often.

Change up with plugs

The best steelheaders are well versed in several disciplines; it pays to know several techniques in case the fish ignore the usual presentations. For Jason, running plugs through the prime holding lies can produce some extra bites on really tough days. “I usually run plugs when the float bite dies off; there are just days when the fish have had enough eggs and you need to change things up” Jason told me on a recent outing. “I prefer a plug that can run deep and stay down in big currents; Wiggle Warts are hard to beat in the winter, their wide wobbling action drives stale fish nuts!”

As with most plug fisherman, Jason like to run four rods with the lures set back at the same distance.  “I like to put a wall of plugs back to the fish. They can’t take it when all the plugs come wobbling back in their house. Sooner or later, they are gonna whack one!” Color preference can vary, but bright metallic colors produce most often. Start with a variety of colors and let the fish tell you what they want. When the plug bite gets dialed in, double hook ups are not uncommon!

Come Prepared

The winter weather in upstate New York can be brutal, but those nasty windy days can often be the best. Several years ago, I was headed south on I-81 from Alexandria Bay with some Canadian friends bound for the Salmon River. Problem was a snow squall overnight had the highway coated and treacherous. Being Thanksgiving Day, we had limited time to fish and decided to get off the highway in Watertown and take our chances on the Black River.

Thank goodness we did because we landed 20 steelhead and 6 browns that morning, even as the snow squalls picked back up making visibility nearly impossible at times. Bring all the warm clothes you can manage and be ready for snow and wind.  If you do, you will be rewarded with trophy trout and a lack of fishing pressure. – Reference: Lake Ontario Outdoors

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Great All Clad stainless steel cookware set to get you started

I was reluctant to pull the trigger and buy this set. I kept telling myself that my cookware more than adequate. However, when I upgraded my cooktop to induction, some of my top stainless steel pots and pans was not compatible. My old set was a very nice (expensive) stainless steel set imported from Portugal. I had it for 10 years and I loved it. When I cooked my first meal on the new All-Clad set, I fell in love all over again. On the induction, they heated quickly and evenly. I was able to cut down my prep time and get my dinner on the table faster.

I chose this set because of the sizes of the pans. If you look at other stores (Williams Sonoma etc) many of the pans of the “same” set are different and hence the price difference. My favorite pan is the 3 qt saute pan with lid. This is my go-to pan for everyday cooking such as Chicken Marsala or any other skillet dish. The size is perfect for a couple. The 1 1/2 qt sauce pan is perfect for rice and the 3 qt sauce pan works very well for pasta. I cooked scrambled eggs this morning in the 10 inch fry pan and they turned out great. They are not non-stick, so you really have to know how to cook on stainless steel. It is very different than non-stick.

The pan must be heated before adding the oil or butter. This creates a very thin layer of oil and prevents food from sticking. Many people also make the mistake of trying to turn the food too quickly. If the meat does not release easily from the pan, it is either not ready to turn or the pan is too hot. If you are cooking on the highest temperature, you are doing it wrong. If you have never cooked on stainless, there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you master it, you won’t want to use anything else.

All-Clad 41126 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware, Silver

Stainless steel pans are very popular among most kitchen appliances due to a number of reasons. They’re considered to be strong, non-reactive and very durable as compared to other metals.

One of the best pans I will recommend to all mothers and professional chefs is the All-Clad 41126 Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid. A 12-inch pan brushed with a silver coating, this cookware saves you the hassle of searching for pans from other brands.

This fry pan has a 12” interior that provides ample space to cook more food for the family. The non-stick coated interior makes cleaning a breeze while the heavy aluminum lining at the bottom allows this fry pan to endure temperatures of up to 500°F.

With such an outstanding performance in the modern kitchen, I would like to recommend the All-Clad 41126 Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid to all mothers, chefs or those who wish to get a decent housewarming present to a special friend.

Pros

  • This fry pan is designed with an aluminum core that allows it to distribute heat evenly.
  • The 12” interior provides ample space to cook an entire chicken.
  • The handle is slim and strong enough to give you a proper grip of the pan when cooking eggs or meat.
  • Available with a lid, this pan heats up quite fast making the food cooking process a breeze.

Cons

  • This pan is not non-stick so you’ll expect some food debris to stick on the walls which will make cleanup quite difficult.
  • The handle isn’t insulated so it gets really hot when cooking

Tips & Tricks To Purchase Your Ideal Cookware

Choosing good pots and pans to buy for your home is not easy. With people now opting to eat healthier by cooking their own meals at home, it’s enticing to own good cookware. However, the number of cookware brands seems to grow every day. As of now, there are so many details to consider before thinking about good pots and pans to buy. Their material, style, and price. If you are overwhelmed by all the cookware choices out there, check out here for simple guide to sharpen your shopping skills before buying.

Number of Guests

Consider how many people you will be cooking for. If you are often alone small pans, such as 8-inch ones are a good choice. However, if you have a large family or regularly entertain guests, you may want to go for the 12 or 14-inch sets.

Cleanup

How much time do you wish to spend on cleanup? Generally, non-stick pots are much easier to clean that stainless steel. Hand washing vs. dishwasher-cleaning, if you prefer the later, then always check the cookware to see if it’s dishwasher safe. Studies show that hand washed non-stick pots normally stay in shape and last longer. So always read the manual to make sure you clean the cookware properly. For instance, blue steel, copper, carbon steel, and uncoated cast iron pans are not dishwasher safe.

Chemical Reactions

Lastly, consider the reactivity and conductibility of the pots and pans. Good conductors will react a lot quicker to temperature change and also cook your food more evenly. For instance, aluminum and copper are excellent heat conductors compared to stainless steel which is not. Aluminum is also lightweight and reasonably priced compared to other metals. However, aluminum is prone to staining and tends to react with acidic dishes such as tomato paste. This means that your food can absorb some of the metal, making it bitter or worse lead to health issues in the future.

best pan

Top Three Cookware Sets

As a professional chef and a Dad, I have had my fair share of experience with various cookware sets. Honestly, I had to deal with a whole lot of annoying cookware sets before I finally found my feet with the skill of recognizing the best. Online reviews on best cookware set reviews did help me pick a few good ones. Here are the 3 best cookware set that I’ve used this year to help you pick the right items for your culinary endeavours.

The Rachael Ray Cookware Set

I have had this twelve-piece cookware set for quite some time now, and what I can say about it is that it’s not only stylish, but also made of very high quality; it’s simply the best I ever had. The good thing is that the pans are light in weight and the handles are designed for easy grasping. Furthermore, the lids fit tightly onto the pans. Amazingly, these cookware items have high resistance when it comes to breaking – I have already dropped them a few times. The other cool
feature with these cookware items is that their surface is non-stick, thus making the cleaning job simple.

The Vremi Cookware Set

From the time I bought this cookware set earlier this year, I could tell that it would go a long way towards styling up my little restaurant. It is a complete set with 15 pieces that make a vital contribution towards satisfying my culinary needs at the restaurant. Furthermore, I can tell that these items are durable because even after using them almost every day, they still look good as new. These items are also non-stick for easy cleaning.

The Farberware Cookware Set

My wife’s parents bought me this cookware set for my birthday last summer. Although I was at first a bit skeptical about their quality, I have since proved myself wrong. These items are simply top notch when it comes to quality. They have a non-stick surface and they are resistant to scratch or shutter – my daughter has dropped them several times and yet they have remained intact; and have I said how cute they look?