The recent warmth and sunshine has really kicked spring into gear. Trees on the hillsides are starting to show just and tinge of green, skunk cabbage is poking up along the creeks and streams, and farmers have plowed their fields for planting. The pace of fly fishing events and outings will increase now that anglers are becoming more active.
Here’s what you can expect for fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: All of the Catskill rivers are very clear with great flows for both wading and floating. The bugs have been starting in the afternoon hours with a mixture of Little Black Stones in size #16-18, Hendricksons in size #14-16, Chimarra caddis in size #18-20 and a few #12-14 Quill Gordons. Surface activity typically starts around 2 pm, give or take an hour, depending on the air temp. Subsurface nymphing and swinging wet flies will be productive. A weighted pheasant tail and small stonefly nymph has been a good combo if fishing deep. There have been some spinners at random times throughout the day.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River flows have dropped and are currently at a little under 1,000 CFS at Pineville. Water temps are now in the low to mid 40’s and will certainly continue to warm in the week ahead. The DSR is reporting improved fishing in the upper section of the run while Whitaker’s fly shop is reporting mixed results, with best results from anglers covering a lot of water in the mid to lower river. Dropbacks and spawned out fish are being caught on anything from egg patterns, worms and nymphs, to swung streamers. 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 recent stretch of warm sunny weather has turned on hatches. On one evening on a local creek, tan caddis, olives, and hendricksons were all coming off in a fairly heavy hatch. 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: John Gaulke of the Finger Lakes Angling Zone 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. This will be an interesting year on Keuka. Friends that fish the lake often haven’t seen an alewife in a fish stomach since the winter of 2014/15!
- Warmwater Rivers: The rivers need some more dry weather to get down to fly fishable condition. Some of the headwaters of the smaller rivers may actually be there as of this writing. Water temps will surely climb out of the 40’s with another week of generally warm and sunny days 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 is finally below the 10,000 CFS mark and dropping steadily. 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 BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be hosting local Finger Lakes fly fishing guide, Eric Mastroberti for its April chapter meeting. “Finger Lakes Fly Fishing Opportunites” is the presentation title and it is bound to be a great one! The meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 21st at the Endicott Public Library at 7:00 PM with a fly tying demo by Eric at 6:30 PM. Eric will discuss the fly fishing opportunities of the Finger Lakes and their principal tributaries. This presentation will cover information on how to approach fishing these large bodies of water from shore, the target species and seasons, equipment, and flies. Weather patterns and conditions will also be discussed. The majority of this presentation will be focused on trout, salmon, and smallmouth bass fishing, although many other quality gamefish species reside in this region. Eric’s presentation is intended to be a primer for exploring the many excellent opportunities there are for people, however it is not meant to be exhaustive. Eric will also be our informal fly tyer and will be tying one of his favorite nymphs to use for migratory spring rainbow trout. As background, Eric grew up just outside Ithaca and has spent well over half of his life fishing the Finger Lakes and New York. He has also fly fished throughout the country, including many of the western states. He worked at the Community Fly Fisher in Ithaca and has been educating folks on the subject for over sixteen years. He is an independent guide and fly tyer, and he teaches fly fishing at Cornell University.
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF is offering a raffle for a day-long float of the beautiful West Branch of the Delaware. April is upon us and within a few weeks the bugs will be on the water with opportunities for daytime nymphing and evening dry fly fishing. Fishing from a drift boat gives an angler access to areas of the river that cannot be reached by wade fishermen. This means that the winners of this raffle will often be fishing areas where the fish have seen much less pressure. Additionally, as evening comes, the drift boat anchors in a prime location where large numbers of lightly pressured fish often rise in the evening. Another obvious advantage of a float trip is the opportunity to really see the beauty of the river system. The trip is for 2 so the winner can invite some other lucky soul, fly fisherman or not. The winner will have the expert guidance and fishing location selection provided by Tim Barrett, NY state guide. The trip may be redeemed at any time from May 1 through October 31 by mutual arrangement with Tim. Don’t miss this opportunity – enter the raffle. A trip like this for 2 with any Delaware River guide will cost you in excess of $300. Tickets for the raffle are $26 each or 3 for $50. And don’t wait – the winner will be drawn at the BC Flyfishers April 21 general meeting. Purchase using PayPal by clicking the Paypal link on the BC Flyfishers website, here.
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers (TTFR) chapter of IFFF has a fishing trip scheduled for Saturday, April 23rd. The chapter will be fishing at Rainbow Paradise, near Coudersport, PA. The trip will leave from the Corning Wegman’s parking lot at 9 am. Contact George Roy at 607-962-5446 or by email at email@example.com, if interested.
- 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.
The week ahead will be a dandy, weather-wise. High temps will range from the high 50’s to the low 70’s, with lows ranging from the high 30’s to the low 50’s. There’s a possibility of some spotty showers on Friday, but otherwise the week will be partly sunny to sunny. This should result in warmer water temps and reduced flows.