The Southern Tier experienced some very cold temps last week, putting ice in many of the rivers and getting water temps down. That all reversed over the weekend with a warming trend and more rain.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing during the second week of 2016:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Nothing much to report for the Catskill Rivers, other than that the flows are up thanks to last week’s rains. 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 BWO 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 up again thanks to recent precipitation. Flows rose to over 1,100 CFS but are dropping slowly as of this writing. Water temps are in the upper thirties but will drop again with the cold that is coming. Anglers should be very careful wading at current flows and should not attempt crossing the river. 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 were solid, indicating that more fresh fish should be moving up into the mid and upper river, while mid to upper river reports have not been very good. 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 achieved its biggest flow since the fall of 2015 as of this weekend at 1,300 CFS. It is currently dropping quickly but big pushes of water like this can always bring fish in. 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 as of the New Year, 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 up way thanks to lots of the wet stuff in the last week and weekend and are still a bit turbid. 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. Check the DEC fishing regulations before heading out.
- Warmwater Rivers: All local river flows are dirtied up, flowing very high, and are very cold. This will be the last regular report for the fishing season until conditions improve significantly.
- Lakes: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone is reporting that Lake temperatures on the smaller Finger Lakes are likely in the 30s while Seneca and Cayuga Lakes are around 42. Lake fishing reports are as follows: 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 second week of 2016:
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will continue its fly tying classes. The first class was held on Saturday, January 9th with a great turn-out. The next class will be held on Saturday, January 23rd at 9 am at the Endicott Public Library. There is still some room in some of the next classes so anyone interested in participating should contact John Trainor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes are $15 each or all four for $50. Materials are included in this price.
- The Leon Chandler Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Tompkins County Cooperative Extension 4-H Program are proud to offer their own series of fly tying classes. The Introduction to Fly Tying class features nine two-hour sessions with several different instructors who will teach the basics of tying the dry fly, wet fly, nymph and streamer patterns that are the most effective in our area. The first class will be held on Saturday, January 9th from 6 – 8 pm at the Tompkins County Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue Ithaca, NY. To register, contact Athena Steinkraus at 607-272-2292 (extension 139) or at email@example.com.
The second week of 2016 will be cold and like last week, then turn mild later in the week. Look for some significant snow tomorrow, especially in regions where lake effect snow can hit. Temperatures will hover in the mid-20’s to around the freezing range until Friday when daytime highs will hit the mid 40’s, only to drop back to freezing on Sunday. If venturing out, be sure to study up on how to dress for cold weather fly fishing.