The gift of Christmas was record-setting warmth. Anglers who ventured out over the holidays could shed the layers for sure when daytime temps exceeded 60 degrees. The official start of winter is past, meaning the amount of daylight will gradually become longer. Colder weather is finally starting along with a little bit of the white stuff.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing during the first week of 2016:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: The first week of the new year will be cold and wet, though there are some potentially warmer days later in the week. Rivers are in good shape and ice free for now. 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. All trout are catch and release this time of year. 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.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows are finally dropping after several weeks at very high levels. Water temps are down in the mid-thirties now. Anglers should still be very careful wading at current 1500 CFS flows and should not attempt crossing the river. Additionally, be sure to dress for the weather and be prepared for snow squalls. Most fishing reports have been poor. Keep in mind that while egg patterns can work, they will be less effective and that nymphs will begin to be a better bet. Smaller black stoneflies can be a good 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: The tribs are flowing higher and more full as a result of recent rains and the boost of water no doubt brought some 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.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are up thanks to lots of the wet stuff but remain fairly clear with cold temps. Nymphs and streamers will be the best fly choices right now although more mild weather could bring out a few risers for midges and olives. 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: Local river flows are up significantly and none of the rivers are wadeable at this time. Any fly fishing will best be done from water craft. Water temps have dropped with the recent cold weather so wait for windows or warmer weather before heading out. With river temps well below 50 degrees, fish will be deep in their winter lies for the most part and not as eager to take a fly. Fish very slow with sinking type lines.
- Lakes: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone has the following to report on Finger Lakes action: 1) Skaneateles Lake: Fishing should remain good for rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, smallmouth bass (catch and release) and yellow perch, 2) Cayuga Lake: Fishing for lake trout ranges from fair to excellent. Fish are still feeding and they are in excellent condition. Pickerel and yellow perch are biting on the lake’s north end. The southern portions of the lake are producing salmon, brown trout, lake trout and northern pike. Landlockeds are mostly sublegal fish, 3) Seneca Lake: Pike fishing here is fair to good with a nice assortment of various sizes available. Salmon fishing has been poor, though a few are around, 4) Owasco Lake: Expect good to very good pike and perch fishing here. Lake trout fishing is fair to good.
The following are fly fishing events in the first week of 2016:
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of IFFF will be holding its first monthly chapter meeting on Monday, January 4th at 6:30 at the Big Flats Community Center. Kirk Klingensmith will be presenting GOOD CONNECTIONS. This talk will cover strategy, tips, and knots for fly fishing leaders, backing & fly lines. Everything which fly fishers need to know to rig from the reel arbor to the fly. For beginners, Kirk will present the basics straightforwardly, so you can see it is tractable to get started catching fish. For the learners, Kirk will share options and situations to deviate to enhance your fish catching fun. Kirk fly fishes for trout, steelhead, salmon, bass, carp, and saltwater from bonefish to snook to striped bass. Kirk will share how techniques from this range of experience can help your fishing. There will be a handout with knot diagrams, website links, leader formulas and other reference materials. At 6:30, rather than our typical fly tying demonstration, Kirk will be demonstrating technique to make a whipped loop, heat weld loops, and spliced fly line connections. The presentation begins at 7:00. Big Flats Community Center is at 476 Maple St, Big Flats, NY 14814.
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be kicking off its fly tying class of a 4 class schedule. The first class will be held on Saturday, January 9th at 9 am in the basement room at the Endicott Public Library. The first class will focus on tying nymphs at an intermediate skill level. There is still some room in some of the 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 class was first conducted at a beginner level in the winter of 2015 and was a great success.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first week of 2016 will begin very cold but then turn mild later in the week. Temperatures will plummet on Monday with a nightly low in the single digits. Highs will gradually increase, however, and by mid week will hit the low to mid 40’s with lows hovering in the high 20’s to low 30’s. Most of the week will be cloudy with the exception being Wednesday when skies clear. Happy New Year!