Winter was here the week before last but decided to go underground last week. Temps hit a high in the upper 50’s / low 60’s over last weekend and proceeded to run mild for most of the past week. Ice-cover may be suffering as a result, but local creeks and most rivers have lost their shelf ice, opening fishing up again. A good rain had most creeks, streams, and rivers up late in the week but they are now settling down.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: The spate of warmer weather over the past week may have re-energized the trout a bit. 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 dropped since rising last week and are now at around 550 CFS. Water temps have increased slightly to the low to mid 30’s. Over the last few days, fishing reports from the Douglaston Salmon Run continue to be more optimistic as are those from the upper end of the river. Nymphs appear to be working well and nothing beats a small black stonefly pattern, particularly on the warmer days. But egg patterns are also working. 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.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Most local creeks are stable to dropping but water temps ought to be rising a bit with the warmer weather we’ve been having. Shelf ice should not be an issue over the short term. Nymphs and streamers will be the best fly choices right now but if fishing the creeks, remember to slow the pace down as the fish will be less active. 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: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports a lack of snow and above average temperatures have opened up his guiding schedule and is allowing extended fishing on the Finger Lakes. We’ve had relatively little snow and the temperatures have remained above average. John’s lake report 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, 2) Cayuga Lake: The southern portions of the lake are producing salmon, brown trout, lake trout and northern pike. Landlockeds are mostly sublegal fish. The Long Point boat launch is ice free now. Expect good pickerel, lake trout and perch fishing around the northern portions of Cayuga Lake, 3) Seneca Lake: Pike fishing here is fair to good with a nice assortment of various sizes available. A few salmon and browns are around. Water temps are around 40 degrees, 4) Keuka Lake: Lake trout are hitting around Branchport in deep water, and 5) Owasco Lake: Expect launching to be possible (though challenging) here after the rain and thaw this week. Expect good fishing for northern pike, yellow perch and lake trout.
The following are fly fishing events for the upcoming week:
- 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 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.
- The Leon Chandler chapter of TU will be holding its next chapter meeting on Tuesday, February 9th from 7 – 9 pm. The topic for the meeting will be “Travel Log or What I Did Last Summer”. The meeting will be held at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology at 159 Sapsucker Woods Road just off Route 13 in Lansing. This is an informal meeting where chapter members come and discuss trips that they took during the previous year and share their pictures, stories, and lessons learned. As of this time, it looks like the following members will be speaking – Frank Andersen will be speaking about fishing for Striped Bass and other species on Martha’s Vineyard. Mike Hogue will talk about fishing for trout in Arkansas and one other member may also choose to talk about his recent exploits.
- 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.
The week ahead will start off relatively mild and end up very cold. Temps will hover in the low 40’s initially but then gradually slide into the teens by the weekend. Lows will really drop to the low single digits by the weekend as well. The single digit lows are sure to build back shelf ice and increase ice coverage of ponds and lakes. Be careful wading by bringing a wading staff, wearing studded boots, and layering up. Additionally, always have an extra set of clothes handy as well as towels in case of a spill.