On Sunday I headed to the Tioughnioga, encouraged by my last visit, challenged to see what more this pretty little river could offer me. I fished the Schoolhouse Pool and my fly went unanswered, so I waded upstream to my favorite – the Lone House Pool.
Working upstream, dead drifting a crayfish imitation, I immediately hooked up with fallfish and some pudgy bass. At the head of the pool where the water is fast, I fished a nymph upstream and let it swing down and after a few passes caught a decent bass – bulked out like a couch potato. I’m sure the bulk of that “beef” was crustacea – as the sheer number of crayfish in the Tioughnioga never ceases to amaze me. Indeed, not long after catching this bass, a large, and I mean “5”-large” crayfish hydroplaned across the surface in tail-swiping spurts. Right behind it was a solid 14″ bass that swam with incredible speed in front of me, only to give up the chase at my feet and scoot back in to the depths of the pool. I’ve seen bass chase minnows in the shallows with incredible speed and veracity, but never have I seen one chase a small lobster like this!
I continued to work the pool, and hooked up with a solid fish that broke off (the old LDR – as in Long Distance Release) after giving me about 30 seconds of down-and-deep headshakes. Heartbroken over losing a #6 Murray’s Road Kill Nymph, I decided to do a little exploring and headed upstream further.
I waded up through the flat calm of the power line pool and fished at its head, where there’s some current and depth. This pool is big and broad but runs much slower than the Lone House Pool. I hooked up with a decent fish here but again lost it. Then I spooked two bass far up in the riffles – their only trace being a bloom of river sediment.
I continued upstream and found another very deep run – its murky green depths shouldered by night-stand size boulders. The current was slow here, and the far shore had abundant shade, but I’m thinking this may have been walleye water as I certainly didn’t get a look-see from a bass.
As I waded further up, now a good 3/4’s of a mile upstream from the Schoolhouse Pool, I noted the water getting fast and thin – the river flanked by hemlock, sycamore and silver maple. This section of the “T” could have been trout water were it not for the 68 – 72 degree water temps. As most of you probably know, 70 is pert-near lethal for trout. Maybe back in the day of the Iroquois, by whom the river is named (Tioughnioga supposedly means “banks of flowers”), and well before global warming, brook trout hung in the deep shaded pools of this river.
Wading back with the current, I fished a little more, sniping casts at possible bass hideouts but failing to connect again. On the drive home I decided the river was “summer” low and that it just might be time to move my fishing down stream – to the wide rivers where the big boys play. I’ll certainly be back next spring, but maybe, just maybe, a dusk-time visit to the deep Schoolhouse pool is in order before crimson leaves carpet the Tioughnioga.