The Southern Tier finally put on a winter coat – a white one. Snow hit the region in dustings, but enough to put a solid layer of the white stuff on the ground. Temps plunged into the teens, and lower. Ponds are for the most part, ice covered, and the rivers have ice now in them. Water levels in most creeks, streams, and rivers are on the high side.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing during the third week of 2016:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Nothing much to report for the Catskill Rivers, other than that the flows have stabilized but are currently trending up slowly. 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 mid to upper 30’s, it’s a slow game.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows are stable at just a little above 1,000 CFS at Pineville. Water temps are in the mid thirties. Anglers should be careful wading and very careful if attempting to cross the river when flows are over 1,000 CFS. Additionally, be sure to dress for the weather and be prepared for snow squalls. Over the last few days, fishing reports from the Douglaston Salmon Run seem to be improving, with fresh chrome being caught, indicating that more fresh fish should be moving up into the mid and upper river. Mid to upper river reports have been a combination of good and not-so-good, depending on who you talk to or which website you visit. One angler reported seeing just 4 fish hooked over a day and a half of fishing in the upper river, and that is certainly not so good given the conditions. Keep in mind that while egg patterns can always work, nymphs will also be a good bet. Smaller black stoneflies can be an excellent choice on the warmer days. Remember to change things up when the fishing gets stale. It definitely pays to experiment with size and color of flies as well as in type.
- Finger Lakes Tribs: Fall Creek has settled to a nice flow and is currently trending up slightly at about 350 CFS. Egg patterns, nymphs, and streamers will all take fish. Fishing the lake shore and the mouths of the tribs may also be good. Remember that Finger Lakes trib fishing is closed except for Fall Creek, where it is open from the downstream side of the Route 13 Bridge to the falls.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Most local creeks are stable and trending slightly up thanks to recent precipitation and snowmelt. Nymphs and streamers will be the best fly choices right now. If fishing the creeks, remember to slow the pace down as water temps are way down. The general trout season is closed. Local creeks, like Owego Creek and Cayuta Creek, remain open but under artificial lures / catch and release only exceptions. Other creeks, like Nanticoke Creek, are closed. Always check the DEC fishing regulations before heading out.
- Lakes: No real change here, other than the winter cold is finally settling in. John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone is reporting the following: 1) Skaneateles Lake – Fishing should remain good for rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, smallmouth bass (catch and release) and yellow perch. Launching is available at Mandana and possibly at the State Launch. Water temp is 43 degrees, 2) Cayuga Lake – The southern portions of the lake are producing salmon, brown trout, lake trout and northern pike. Landlocked Salmon are mostly sublegal fish. Launching is still possible at Long Point State Park. Expect good lake trout action, pickerel and perch around the central to northern portions of the lake respectively, 3) Seneca Lake – Pike fishing here is fair to good with a nice assortment of various sizes available. Salmon fishing has been poor thus far, though a few are around, 4) Owasco Lake – Current has kept the Emerson Park ramps open. Water level is very low. Expect good pike and fair to good lake trout action. Perch action should be very good, and 5) Keuka Lake – Lake trout are hitting around Branchport in deep water.
The following are fly fishing events in the third week of 2016:
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will continue its fly tying classes. The second class – streamers and wet flies – will be held on Saturday, January 23rd at 9 am at the Endicott Public Library. There still may be room in some of the next classes so anyone interested in participating should contact John Trainor at email@example.com. Classes are $15 each or all four for $50. Materials are included in this price.
- The BC Flyfishers are also announcing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested. A down payment of $50 is required by Jan. 31st.
- The BC Flyfishers will be holding their January chapter meeting on Thursday January 21, 2016, at the Endicott Public Library at 7 pm (fly tying demo at 6:30). The presentation topic is “Turn annoying cruise phone calls into an exotic Bone Fishing Adventure”. Dan Leonard and Tom Ehret, BC Flyfishers members, will present a short video of their bone fishing trip to the Bahamas. Dan turns one of those annoying special cruise deals, that we all get on the phone, into an amazingly CHEAP exotic bone fishing trip to the Bahamas and three days and two nights in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You’ll be very surprised at how CHEAP the two of them were able to wet a line in a fly fishing paradise.
- The Al Hazzard chapter of Trout Unlimited will be holding its January chapter meeting on Tuesday, January 19th at the Vestal Public Library at 7 pm. The speaker will be Stanley Cole.
- The Al Hazzard chapter of Trout Unlimited is offering an advanced tying class with Andy Nazak. The class is $30 per 3 hour session and will start on Saturday, January 30th. The fly tying event will be held from 10 am – 1 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Jefferson Ave, Endicott, NY. The class is limited to 5 people per session. More details will be provided at the chapter’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 19th.
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of IFFF will be holding their annual Social Night at Tanino Ristorante Italiano in Horseheads, NY on Monday, February 1st. The evening will start at 6 pm with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. At 7 pm there will be a buffet dinner with salad, pasta, chicken, vegetable, dessert and coffee, tea or soft drinks. The cost is $25 per person. The speaker will be a nationally known expert on the environmental issues of hydrofracking, Cornell Professor Dr. Tony Ingraffea. Tony’s talk is entitled Shale Gas/Oil; Evidence on Leaky Wells, Methane Emissions, and Energy Policy. Dr. Ingraffea has spoken at previous TTFR chapter meetings and is a fellow fly fisher from Ithaca Trout Unlimited. The talk will share the emerging science of the impact of natural gas harvesting and leakage, and methane’s accelerating impact on climate change. Research at Cornell and elsewhere is showing the cost effectiveness of alternative energy technology, raising the importance of governmental policies which encourage it. You will find Dr. Ingraffea both engaging and entertaining. You won’t want to miss this event. This event is open to members, visitors and guests. Attendees are especially encouraged to invite spouses, family members or fishing buddies to enjoy the evening as well. Reservations should be made as soon as possible for this popular Dinner Social Night. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Questions can be directed to Bob Schaeffler email@example.com (607) 734-2104, or Steve Harris firstname.lastname@example.org (607) 973-2509.
- The Fly fishing Show has come to town. If planning on attending one of these shows in the Northeast US, you’ll have a few choices: 1) Marlborough, MA at the Royal Plaza on January 22, 23, & 24, 2) Somerset, NJ at the Garden State Convention Center on January 29, 30, and 31, and 3) 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.
The week ahead will be fairly typical winter weather, with a bit of a warm-up at the end of the week. Look for plunging temps in the early part of the week with 1 – 3” of snow in the forecast for Monday and possible lingering lake effect snow throughout the week. Highs will drop into the low 20’s but then will gradually warm towards the later part of the week. Lows, however, will hover in the low to mid teens. Daytime highs will edge upwards over the freezing mark and are forecast to hit the low 40’s after next weekend. If heading out, check the DEC regs and bundle up.