Archive for September, 2013

Summer of no smallies…

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Smallmouth Bass Fishing, Uncategorized with tags , , on September 2, 2013 by stflyfisher

It’s been a frustrating summer if you’re a smallmouth bass angler, particularly, the feather-thrower type. Aside from some great spring pre-spawn fishing and a few choice slots where the rivers were coming down and clearing, the summer has been a bust due to high water and turbidity. Generally, the climate norm for this area is high and heavy flows in Spring followed by low flows and clear water by July. in the last few years, however, the lower-than-normal levels in Spring have made for some terrific pre-spawn fishing at the cost of higher water and turbid conditions in summer.

One of a bunch of pre-spawn smallies caught on the Susquehanna...

One of a bunch of pre-spawn smallies caught on the Susquehanna…

River rats like myself have missed so many aspects of smallmouth fly angling. Among them, nymphing dead drift in the many river riffles, streamer fishing and popper fishing during the evening and early morning “blitzes’, and fishing the great white fly hatch…

Last year was also wet, but I was able to fish some of the white fly hatch...

Last year was also wet, but I was able to fish some of the white fly hatch…

As recently as 2 weeks ago, the Tioughnioga, Chenango, and even the Susquehanna were dropping and clearing. I had some success then but the murk was more than I’d like and I always wonder how that impacts fishing. The smaller rivers are usually the better choice when water levels and flows are up, and even the river braids on the Susquehanna – shallower with a few deep pools than the main river – tend to clear before the main river. Yet even as I write this the rivers are up again. I’m starting to think the fall feeding frenzy is in jeopardy of not being within reach of wading anglers…

What’s not so great for smallmouth anglers has been manna from heaven for trout anglers. The tailwaters, particularly the West Branch of the Delaware have fished well, and the high water events have brought along some great mid-season streamer fishing. In mid-June, heavy rains brought the reservoir up and washed alewives over the dam. The streamer fishing for those anglers with access to a drift boat was reportedly phenomenal.

Alewives can be washed down the tailwater rivers during high water events. Picture courtesy of Delaware River Club.

Alewives can be washed down the tailwater rivers during high water events. Picture courtesy of Delaware River Club.

I’ve done much more fly fishing on the West Branch this year, thanks to all of the rain. Once the smallie rivers get down and fishable, I typically give trout fishing a rest. But this year I was very thankful for a great tailwater so close by.

Yours truly with a nice West Branch rainbow...

Yours truly with a nice West Branch rainbow…

And the abundance of cold water also blessed the trout themselves. While nymphing, I caught quite a few small browns and rainbows. Anglers might not be pleased to catch small fish, but I was grateful to see such a sign that the trout are prospering…

So, global warming, climate change? Will this go on over future years? Is it the “new norm”? I suppose the only thing anglers can do is apply the Marine Corp mantra to their fishing…

Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome

 

Advertisements