Last week was another mix of late winter / early spring weather. The weekend was downright mild but then temps dropped and the Southern Tier saw a little bit of everything – snow, ice, sleet, rain, and even thunder on Wednesday night. The heavy rains of mid-week combined with snow-melt and caused another round of flooding. A day later, many areas got hit with some lake effect snow. The weekend gradually warmed and today’s high could near 60. Come on Spring!
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Most of the Catskill waters look like they will be high and borderline fishable at best for at least the earlier part of the week. Check the USGS water gauge as recent rains in combination with snow melt could keep flows high. As always, beware of shelf ice and slippery banks. 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, 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 where they are, it’s a slower game.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows remain very high at 2,200 CFS at Pineville. The combination of rain and snow melt has caused the river to be somewhat stained due to run-off although reports are that it is clearing. Shelf ice and anchor ice have diminished. Fishing reports are poor to fair with some steelhead coming to hand on egg patterns, worm imitations, and stone fly nymphs.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are generally down from last week’s rain and snow melt. They are good and full and have that early spring snow-melt look to them. Fish slow and deep with nymphs or streamers and time fishing for the warmer afternoons. Little black stoneflies should be about when there’s warming conditions.
- Lakes: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports the following for the Finger Lakes: 1) Cayuga Lake: seems that the lake trout, perch and pickerel aren’t the only fish that like eating gobies – today (2/23) I caught a 20″ salmon that was packed with them! Wow – who would’ve thunk it! Salmon, lake trout and northern pike are hitting. Most salmon are sublegal, but larger fish are showing up. If they keep chowing gobies all winter, maybe we’ll see more and more legal fish sooner rather than later, 2) Seneca Lake: Pike fishing here was fair to good with a nice assortment of various sizes available. A few salmon and browns are around, 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:
- As previously announced, the BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF is holding a Fly Rod Building class which started on Saturday, Feb. 27th. The next class will be held on Saturday, March 12th. It’s too late to sign up for the class, but the public is invited to stop in and watch Joe Swam, a very experienced rod maker, help class participants in transforming their rod kits into fish-fearing fly fishing tools! Email chapter President Nick DiNunzio at email@example.com, with questions, comments, or for more information about the BC Flyfishers.
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be holding their next monthly chapter meeting on Thursday March 17, 2016, and it should be another good one. The meeting will be held, as usual, at the Endicott Public Library at 7:00 PM, with a fly tying demo at 6:30 PM. John Shaner, a previous speaker at BC Flyfisher chapter meetings, will make another great presentation, titled “Get Ready for April Trout Fly Fishing”. John Shaner is a returning speaker. He’ll make a 2 part presentation covering all he feels is necessary to be in tip top shape for the opening of inland trout fishing. The first part of John’s talk will walk through tackle maintenance and care. It may seem insignificant but you won’t be happy if you lose a big fish after being idle over the last few months. The second, more significant part of his presentation will cover many surprising things most anglers don’t know about leaders, tippets, connections, and how to make them all more efficient. These facts are based on his angler observations when he was a full time guide and based on the questions asked by fly fishermen during his many years of experience with Cortland, Orvis, and Hardy. John will bring props and will have many examples to show the audience. John will also be our informal fly tyer and will be tying the classic version of Sawyers’ Pheasant Tail nymph, a great pattern for opening season.
- The next Al Hazzard TU general meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 15th at 7 pm at the Vestal Library. Speaker and topic have not yet been announced.
- It’s still not too late to catch The Fly Fishing Show if you missed the Somerset show. The final 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.
- Also in March, the Leon Chandler chapter of Trout Unlimited will be holding its legendary Ithaca Fishing Day, scheduled for Saturday, March 26. This event includes casting, fly tying lessons, demonstrations, fly fishing vendors, and a lot more. A future post will cover the details on this great event, so stay tuned.
- And, as detailed in a recent post, the Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of IFFF Fly Fishing Academy will be holding their 9th annual fly fishing class on April 2. Their school is a popular full day fly fishing school, where beginners and advancing fly fishers can develop their skills. The chapter welcomes youth from 11 through adults. The academy staff includes seasoned fly fishers and the casting staff is led by an IFFF Certified Casting Instructor.
The week ahead will start off with mild temperatures, then transition to more seasonable early spring weather. After a mild weekend, look for Monday and Tuesday to hit highs in the mid to upper 40’s under partly sunny to partly cloudy skies. A front will then sweep through the region on Wednesday, dropping highs to the low 30’s and lows to the teens, and possibly dropping as much as 3” of snow. The rest of the week will see a very gradual climb in temperatures. While highs will hit the low 40’s by weekend, lows will remain well below freezing. As a result, be careful of shelf ice if venturing out and always check the USGS water gauge, wear cleats, carry a wading staff, and bring a change of clothing and drying towels. A thermos of coffee or hot soup is a good idea as well.