Call it the big chill – the past week has featured a gradual cooling, with this weekend featuring bone-cracking cold and sub-zero temperatures. Last Sunday, on the other hand, was down-right balmy, and here we are a week later with windchill temps in the minus 20 range! The cold is well-overdue, but will definitely lock out fishing opportunities as ice builds back up.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Most of the Catskill waters will offer limited fly fishing as a result of the ice formed during the recent bout of cold weather. The catch and release section of the Beaverkill and Willowemoc are open all year as well as the West Branch of the Delaware where it borders Pennsylvania and the Mainstem of the Delaware River. Under current conditions, large streamers and nymphs will be the best fly types to use. Wooly buggers, little black stonefly nymphs, and pheasant tail nymphs should all produce, but keep in mind that with water temps in the 30’s, it’s a slower game.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows have been cranked up significantly and are currently at approximately 1,500 CFS at Pineville. Combine the high flows with frigid air and low water temps, and the Salmon River fishing is really not looking too good at the moment. Fishing reports from the Douglaston Salmon Run have been poor, mainly due to the weather and flows.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: While local creeks now have good easy flows, the recent cold spell has choked them with slush ice, solid ice, and shelf ice, making them generally inaccessible.
- Lakes: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports the following for the Finger Lakes: 1) Cayuga Lake: Water temperatures are running around 41 degrees on the surface. Some nicer salmon are starting to show themselves along with this season’s many immature fish. The big news has been good numbers of lake trout roaming shallow, likely feeding on gobies. Pike are available, 2) Seneca Lake: Pike fishing here has been fair to good with a nice assortment of various sizes available. A few salmon and browns are around. Water temps are around 40 degrees, 3) Skaneateles Lake: Expect good fishing here for rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. Launching is available out of Mandana, and 4) Keuka Lake: Lake trout are hitting around Branchport in deep water.
The following are fly fishing events for the upcoming weeks of February:
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be holding their next monthly chapter meeting on Thursday February 18, 2016, Endicott Public Library, 7:00 PM (Fly tying demo at 6:30). The meeting presentation will be done by Mike Hogue, entitled “Fly Fishing the Ozarks”. Mike will be talking about his experiences fly fishing Missouri spring creeks, Arkansas tail-waters, and cool and warm water lakes. The tail-water fisheries in Arkansas are world famous for their monster brown trout and Mike has ventured to this region many times to fish these fabled waters. His talk will cover all aspects of fishing the Ozarks, including fish species, successful tactics and locations. If you like fishing for monster brown trout and want to learn some new techniques, or if you want to learn about another exciting trophy trout destination to put on your list of trips to take during your lifetime, you won’t want miss this talk. Mike, by the way, is the owner of Badger Creek Fly Shop. He is also an accomplished writer and speaker on all topics related to fly fishing. His articles have appeared in Fly Tyer, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Journal and Eastern Fly Fishing. He was also the North Eastern Council VP of conservation and was on the IFFF national conservation board for 3 years. The public is invited and there is no charge for the presentation, which is part of the BC Flyfishers Chapter of IFFF monthly meeting.
- The next Al Hazzard TU general meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 16th at 7 pm at the Vestal Library. Local guide James Kirtland will be presenting.
- As recently announced, the BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF is holding a Fly Rod Building class which will start on Feb. 27th, continue on March 19th, and end on March 27th. The price for the class is $125 and that price includes a two piece six weight blank and all the component materials to finish the rod. It is possible to build a different weight rod if desired, but this may cost a little more. The class is being taught by Joe Swam, a very experienced rod maker, who gave a terrific presentation at the December chapter meeting on building bamboo fly rods. As in BCFF fly tying classes, there will be others on hand at the rod building class to assist with rod building. Email chapter President Nick DiNunzio at email@example.com, if interested. A down payment of $50 is required by Jan. 31st.
- The Fly fishing show has come to town. But there’s only one show left that’s reasonably close to the Southern Tier and that event will be held in Lancaster, PA at the Lancaster County Convention Center on March 5 & 6. Ticket prices vary to some degree but expect to pay $15 minimum for a one-day pass and up to $38 for a 3 day pass. For that fee, expect to see quite a few fly fishing and fly tying legends, the likes of Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Joe Humphreys and George Daniel, to name just a few. You’ll also get to see the latest in fly fishing tackle, attend presentations, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded fly fishing addicts. It is well worth a day of your time.
As they say with New York, ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute’. After some incredibly cold and snowy weather, we’ll do a bit of warming up during the week ahead. We could hit a high in the low 40’s on Tuesday, then cool a bit, only to climb back up to the low 40’s by the weekend. Despite the warming, the effects of this weekend’s frigid weather will stay with us for a while. If venturing out, wear cleats, carry a wading staff, and always bring a change of clothing and drying towels. A thermos of coffee or hot soup is a good idea as well.