Last week, temperatures continued to run on the higher side for spring, with a mix of cooler weather and some lows close to freezing. The sunny days have been bringing out some good hatches and warmwater rivers are dropping and warming. There are some great fly fishing events and outings coming up for this last week of April and on into May.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: The flows on all of the Catskill rivers were settling to nice wading levels but keep an eye on the USGS water gauge as of this writing as the rain has some of them reversing trend. Water temps have been excellent at the mid to upper 50’s. Hatching activity has been fairly consistent with BWOs, caddis, hendricksons, and blue quills all showing themselves. Some apple caddis are starting to show up, but most of the caddis are small dark chimarra caddis (18-20’s) and tan caddis.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows were dropped again last week and are now at 650 CFS at Pineville. Water temps are now in the upper 40’s and nearing the magical 50 degree mark. The DSR is reporting fair fishing right now and is anticipating more dropbacks and an influx of some big smallmouth as water temps increase. Whitaker’s fly shop is reporting dropbacks are scattered throughout the river with the mid to lower end of the river producing the most action. The drop backs have been holding in the faster water in the head or tailouts of the deeper holes and are suspended in the water column. Anglers have had success in the Schoolhouse Pool, Trestle Pool, Pineville, Sportsman Pool, Papermill, 81 Hole, Town Pool, Longbridge, Staircase, Black Hole and the DSR. Anglers who are fly fishing have had results swinging streamers with sinking leaders. Anglers who are bottom bouncing or float fishing have had success with egg sacs and pink worms. With lower water and warmer temperatures coming, the number of dropbacks heading downriver should increase.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks remain in excellent shape, flowing cold and clear. The continued stretch of mostly warm sunny weather has turned on hatches. While streamers can still be effective in the deep holes, nymphs, wets, and dries will be the better choice with the amount of bugs in the water. Pheasant tail nymphs and hare’s ear nymphs can’t be beat as standard fare but variations of these and imitations of caddis larva and pupa will also work well. Stock a variety of sizes because some of the hendricksons can be on the large side. For waters that hold mainly stockies, pheasant tail emergers on the swing can work well. And don’t forget some attractor patterns like a green weenie. Stockings will continue through the rest of April, May and June, with some two year old browns in the mix.
- Lakes: Two reports are listed here. The first is a recent report from John Gaulke on Cayuga Lake: Anglers flat-lining are doing well around the south end of the lake on mostly sublegal landlockeds and a few barely legal brown trout, with the occasional solid big brown or salmon. There’s a lot of small debris on the surface of the lake and some large swathes of nice green, warm water (surface temps are running from 44 to 48 degrees) but it’s turning into more of a troller’s ballgame out there. Lots of fishy water to cover! Once we get some good steady north winds, the fly-fishing and spincasting should turn on a bit. A very nice salmon (23” +/-) was hooked by a fly fisher fishing from shore last week. Some very nice fish have been caught this season out in the lake. John also reports the lake fisheries are in a spring pattern. Expect good to very good fishing for lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and brown trout. Water levels should be close to full pool on all of the lakes now. Here’s John’s lake-by-lake report: Cayuga Lake: Expect good to very good fishing for lake trout, brown trout and landlocked salmon. Fly-fishing is productive for the salmon and brown trout, 2) Seneca Lake: Expect decent lake trout fishing from Sampson State Park north to Geneva. Expect fair salmon fishing with chances at big fish out of Watkins Glen, 3) Skaneateles Lake: Expect good fishing here for rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. There are always a few bass, jumbo perch and lake trout around early in the season, though the laker component goes way up in May, 4) Owasco Lake: Perch fishing is very good here. Lake trout action should be fair to good. Expect some decent brown trout and rainbow trout fishing here this year, and 5) Keuka Lake: Lake trout fishing is reported good in Branchport in deep water.
- Warmwater Rivers: The warmwater rivers continue to drop and warm. Some of the smaller rivers are now in fly fishable condition, especially the headwaters. Water temps are close to the low 50’s and this means smallmouth bass will start moving into the shallower areas of the river to feed and get ready to spawn. The main stem of the Susquehanna will be crossing under the 4,000 CFS flow rate and drop further in the week ahead provided the forecast rain does not reverse the drop. The feeder rivers to the Susquehanna; the Chenango and Tioughnioga, are also dropping and warming. For now, continue to watch the USGS gauge, the weather, and pay close attention to the conditions of the larger feeder creeks and river headwaters. It’s definitely time to tune up gear and tie up some large streamers in olive, black, and brown.
- Ponds: Most ponds are shaping up nicely, thanks to the stretch of warmer weather and the recent bright sun. On a visit to one local pond, largemouth bass and sunfish could be seen swimming about in the warm shallows. Bass are skittish in the bright sun, however, while sunfish seem to feed regardless of conditions. Best fishing will still be in the late afternoon or early evening on warm days. Buggers of various sizes along with other streamers, large nymphs, and worm imitations.
The following are upcoming fly fishing events:
- The Al Hazzard chapter of Trout Unlimited will be holding its annual West Branch of the Delaware river clean-up on Saturday, April 30. The chapter is looking for as many volunteers to help clean up as many hands make light work. If interested, plan to meet at Firemen’s Park, in Deposit. Gloves and trash bags will be provided. The event starts with coffee and donuts from 8 am to 9:30 am. The actual clean-up activity will take place from 9:30 to noon, with hot dogs and burgers provided at noon. Volunteers should bring waders, if possible, as the clean-up sometimes requires some bank wading. Volunteers are encouraged to wet a line after the clean-up and lunch.
- The TTFR will also be holding its May chapter meeting on Monday, May 2nd when they will host featured speaker, George Daniel. George is a member of Fly Fishing TEAM USA, and a two time Fly Fishing U.S. National Champion. George’s passion is in fly fishing education and teaching others to enjoy this activity that we all love. He logs over 200 days a year on trout waters near and far from his home in Lock Haven, PA. He has published articles in virtually every fly fishing periodical out there, and has authored two very popular fishing books, Dynamic Nymphing and his most recent book, Strip Set. George will be speaking on streamer techniques featured in Strip Set. The TTFR chapter is also happy to share that George’s visit will be cosponsored by friends from the Leon Chandler Trout Unlimited and Catherine Creek Trout Unlimited. Please note that this meeting will occur on the first Monday of the month (May 2). The location will be at the Big Flats Community Center, 476 Maple Street Big Flats, NY 14814 in the Great Room on September 8, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
Look for generally cooler weather in the week ahead, with some rain in the forecast on Tuesday and Friday. High temps will struggle to reach the mid 60’s by the weekend and skies will be cloudy with the exception of a sunny Wednesday. Lows will range from the freezing mark to the mid 40’s.