Archive for August, 2016

The week ahead in fly fishing: August 29th

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Uncategorized, Writing on August 28, 2016 by stflyfisher

There goes August…  Fall waits anxiously in the shadow of summer now. The cooler mornings still yield to the heat of the day, but you can feel autumn coming. Grasshoppers, crickets, and flying ants are about, adding another dimension to fly fishing. Salmon are starting to trickle into the Great Lakes tribs, creating the usual stir for anglers who look north. And the warmwaters are jumpy with young-of-the-year bait, fleeing hungry smallmouth. Sweet corn is prime – the cornfields bristling with tassles. Yes, fall waits quietly for its time…

Fly shop talk: Finger Lakes guide John Gaulke’s fishing report is posted here as part of my weekly fishing report (with his permission). I have never met John and plan on booking a trip with him to learn about fly fishing our great Finger Lakes at some point but really enjoy his reports as well as his insight on fishing and the environment. John recently posted two interesting items on his website. One was his wisdom on why he fishes. It echoes mine and that is that fishing is all about figuring things out. John says he does not get any big thrill out of heading to Cayuga Lake and seeing how many Lakers he can catch because it’s something he already does very well. His advice is solid: if you want to become a better fisherman, DON’T PRACTICE WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW. And I will add to that, spend time on figuring out what you do not do well. Or even try different angles on a species you pursue. Ultimately, that will make you a better fisherman.

The other point Gaulke makes is his prediction on the salmon fishing in Lake Ontario and the tribs. He feels 2016 is shaping up to be a very interesting year on Lake Ontario in terms of the King Salmon fishing.  In a nutshell, the June – early August fishing was top-notch west of Rochester out to the Oak and beyond. It was spotty east of Rochester.  Earlier than that, it was good from the Niagara Bar east.  Over the past week, the salmon action has moved east in a big way and the fishing has been outstanding from Oswego out to Mexico.  The fish are staging and a few have already showed up in the Salmon River.  Yet the fish out west have more or less disappeared!  They haven’t moved “inside” yet.  And the guys aren’t catching a lot of giants deep.  It may be early, but Gaulke is theorizing that wild fish have a knack for finding the bait.  The wild fish get on the bait while stocked fish tend to be more homebodies.  Gaulke estimates that the wild fish numbers are up there, possibly 50% or more.  Could it be that the Kings that found the best bait, the Chinooks that were chowing all summer west of Rochester were mostly wild Salmon River bred fish?  And now they’ve moved east?   Will the Oak see poor runs and very few “inside fish” this year?  Very interesting…

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A gorgeous fresh king recently caught by Salmon River guide Tony Gulisano. The salmon are starting to show.

Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:

Catskill Rivers: The West Branch Angler report that the West Branch has dropped a bit as we haven’t had much rain this week.  The upper West at Stilesville is flowing at 478 cfs with a temp of 48 and down at Hale Eddy the flow is 611 cfs and 51 degrees.  As usual, with these warm nights, you will need to check the temp when fishing any of the other rivers or branches for high water temps.  We are still seeing a few Sulphurs on the upper West as that hatch winds down.  The 18-22 Blue Winged Olives have been pretty consistent, especially on the cloudy days.  A few summer Cahills in the 14-16 range can be seen on most of the river, same goes for the 12 Isonychia.  18-20 Winged Ants have been a good fly to throw at the picky fish in the river and we should start to see some good numbers of flying ants on the water, especially on the lower half of the West as we get closer to September.  We have had some decent streamer activity in the mornings or on days when the water is stained.  As we move towards fall the streamer bite is likely to get better as the surface activity slows and the browns are moving up for the fall spawn.

The Delaware River Club reports that the best dry fly action is still on the upper West Branch above Hale Eddy. We are still seeing a mix of olives, sulphurs, golden drakes, cahills, and a few isonychias.  The hatches have been a bit sporadic and sometimes later in the day but generally patience has paid off.  The lower West Branch has had some activity but mostly when the sun drops in the evening.  The lower West is the place to be if you want to nymph due to the green slime in Deposit.  Nymphing has been best before the sun hits the water but some people are finding productive riffles during the day.  Move around if you’re not getting any action.

  • Hatching:
    Slate Drake – 12-2xl- Isonychia bicolor
    Sulphur – #16-20 – E dorothea
    Light Cahill – #14 – 16 – S. ithaca & canadense
    Golden Drake – #12-2xl – Potomanthus
    Trico – 22 – 26 – Tricorythodes sp.
    Tiny Blue Winged Olive – #22 – 26 – Psuedocloeon spp.
    Blue Winged Olive – #18 – 20 – E. lata
    Light Blue Winged Olive – #16 – 20 E. attenuatta
    Tan Caddis – #16 – 20 – Hydropsyche spp.
    Dark Brachycentrus sp. – #14 – 18 – Dark Grannom
    Little Black Caddis #18 – 20 – Chimarra sp.
    Blue Winged Olives #16 – 18 – Baetis vagans (updated name: Baetis tricaudatus)

Local streams and creeks: Nothing new here. The low, warm water warns, “stay away.” Give the creek trout a break for now.

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that Laker action continues to be top-notch this week on Cayuga Lake. Bonus browns, salmon and rainbows are making for good mixed bags. Here’ the lake-by-lake report:.

  • Cayuga Lake:  Fishing here has been excellent for lake trout. The bite has generally been good throughout the day. Bonus rainbows, browns and salmon are showing up with regularity. Weedmats remain common.  Congrats go out to Greg for his massive 30″ 14lb. 14oz brown trout!  He earned it!
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout action should be good here with shots at bonus rainbows, browns and smallmouths. Smallmouth bass fishing should be good.
  • Seneca Lake:  Lake trout fishing remains poor to fair at best – at least in the northern portions of the lake from Sampson to Geneva. Browns, rainbow and salmon action has been fair to good. Weeds and waterfleas are a nuisance, moreso for trollers.  Round gobies have shown up around Peach Orchard Point and are likely throughout the lake. This was expected with the link via the canal system to Lake Ontario.
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Smallmouth bass fishing is very good.  Bonus perch are around as well as the usual rockbass.  Lake trout action should be fair to good.
  • Otisco Lake:  I will likely be back out here around mid-September. Bass fishing has reportedly been good with some Tiger Muskies in the mix.

Ponds: Bass and sunfish remain active and willing partners to fly fishermen under current conditions, with low light early or late being the best time for fishing. Topwater is a good choice and don’t forget the damselfly, grasshopper, cricket, and beetle patterns. Poppers will work well along weed edges, structure, and lilly pads.

Warmwater rivers: The warmwater rivers continue to behave nicely, flowing at easily wadeable levels with slightly cooler water temps. The smallmouth bite is definitely picking up. I’ve now seen numerous instances where bass are blitzing bait. I think the fish may be sensing the coming fall due to cooler water temps. And there’s a lot of bait for the bass to chase; shiners, small chubs, dace, mad toms, sculpin, and crayfish, as well as juvenile bass and fallfish. Early morning and late afternoon to sun-down are the best times to hit the river. Focus on the pool tailouts where smallmouth often set up to chase bait in the shallower water. Key in on structure and in particular, rocks, downfalls, and weedbeds. Streamers are the best bet, however, poppers can also be good, particularly in pools and slower water. Remember that different types of poppers work with different water. “Loud” poppers – those with concave faces – are best in deeper water, where as sliders are best in shallow water. Even aggressive bass will spook if they feel threatened. And keep in mind, as reported last week,  that if a bass misses your fly, throw it back immediately as “hot” fish will often give you a second chance.

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This nice bass could not resist a popper fished along a weed line.

Fly fishing events: Area fly fishing clubs and chapters will be getting back to “business” now that September is around the corner. More to report next week on the month’s activities.

The week ahead weather: WBNG Meteorologist Nathan Hopper is forecasting a change in our weekend weather. After some clouds move in late Sunday / early Monday, things will clear up and temperatures will be in the upper-70s, however, the chance for showers stays with us Wednesday and Thursday as we will have a moist weather pattern with enough energy to support some shower activity. After the disturbance moves out of the Southern Tier on Thursday, expect cooler weather to come through, making things feel much more seasonable and somewhat fall-like for the end of the week. Highs will be around 70 degrees Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Labor Day weekend may be a good one, weather-wise.

Following up on my comments in last week’s report, be sure to inspect all your gear before the fall fly fishing really starts getting good. There’s still plenty of time to order any supplies or replacement items or to even send gear out for repair. I recently re-studded my boots and was amazed with the difference in traction in the river. 3/8″ sheet metal screws do a pretty decent job and are a lot cheaper than the OEM replacements. .

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The week ahead in fly fishing: August 22nd

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2016 by stflyfisher

As I walked my dog this morning I was reminded of the coming of fall. The morning air was much cooler but it was the darkness at 6 am that really did it. Daylight is getting shorter as we move through late summer and towards the autumnal equinox – the time of the year when day and night square up even-steven. After that, we make the slow slide into more dark than day…

Fly shop talk: The latest copy of Fly Fisherman magazine is focused on “fly fishing made easy”. I found it a pretty good read with a lot of articles on fundamentals, although I was not sure what to think of the “fly fishing made easy” theme. The main barrier to getting more blood into the sport is the intimidation many might feel as they try to tackle (no pun intended) the various aspects of fishing with the long rod. I applaud efforts to promote the sport by breaking it down to fundamentals, but it is still not easy.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

Thomas Paine

One of the most difficult aspects of fly fishing is, of course, casting. And the magazine covered casting with a very good article, including some terrific pictures of Lefty Kreh demonstrating the art. Perhaps the most important part of the article was left to the last 4 paragraphs on practice: “if you want to become proficient at golf, you go to a driving range. You also practice your putting aside from the regular time you spend golfing. If you bow hunt, you cannot be proficient unless you spend adequate time hitting a target. Fly fishing is no different. To improve, you must practice outside of a real fishing situation.” The article goes on recommending 15 minutes of practice every day over the course of a summer or fall. Practice on the lawn is free of the distractions one faces on the water, like seeing rising fish, or watching fish chase bait. So take 15 minutes on a nice summer evening and practice casting. As the guide’s lament goes, “if only they could cast.”

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The absent-minded maestro was racing up New York’s Seventh Avenue to a rehearsal, when a stranger stopped him. “Pardon me,” he said, “can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” “Yes,” answered the maestro breathlessly. “Practice!”

Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:

Catskill Rivers: Most of the Catskill Rivers got at least a bit of a bump in flows, thanks to the weekend rains. The West Branch of the Delaware spiked the most with flows clearing the 900 CFS mark by Sunday night. All the rivers are dropping and clearing now, and quite quickly at that. The West Branch Angler reports that they are still seeing decent flurries of Sulphurs in the upper West, around Deposit.  The Olives are also pretty solid bugs to have and even on the sunny days you’ll see them mixed in with the Sulphurs.  Isos are also good bugs to have, even if you aren’t seeing any on the water.  A few summer Cahills are also around on most of the river.  It’s trico time on the lower West, upper East and the upper Main if temps are ok, should be a good week for them as the daytime and night temps are going to cool a bit.  Don’t forget a few terrestrials for the picky fish that just won’t take your Sulphur. The Delaware River Club reports that the clarity is good on the West Branch as of today.  The flows are already dropping back to normal and the upper West Branch is in decent wading shape. The lower West is 834 cfs this morning so it is definitely wadeable too and is dropping quickly. There are a lot of tricos in the air this morning but we haven’t seen any on the water yet. The upper West is still seeing a good mix of sulphurs, olives, and golden drakes. Throw in a few isonychias and that should cover the hatches. The rain and cool night have dropped the water temperature a couple of degrees. The lower East Branch and Mainstem will still be too warm to fish but it’s nice to see the temp drop. We will see cooler air temperatures and sunshine over the next few days. Here’s what’s hatching:

  • Slate Drake – 12-2xl- Isonychia bicolor
    Sulphur – #16-20 – E dorothea
    Light Cahill – #14 – 16 – S. ithaca & canadense
    Golden Drake – #12-2xl – Potomanthus
    Trico – 22 – 26 – Tricorythodes sp.
    Tiny Blue Winged Olive – #22 – 26 – Psuedocloeon spp.
    Blue Winged Olive – #18 – 20 – E. lata
    Light Blue Winged Olive – #16 – 20 E. attenuatta
    Tan Caddis – #16 – 20 – Hydropsyche spp.
    Dark Brachycentrus sp. – #14 – 18 – Dark Grannom
    Little Black Caddis #18 – 20 – Chimarra sp.
    Blue Winged Olives #16 – 18 – Baetis vagans (updated name: Baetis tricaudatus)

Local streams and creeks: Most local creeks got another much needed shot of water from Sunday’s rains. They are still very skinny, though. Leave these waters alone as long as dry conditions prevail.

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that Laker action continues to be top-notch on Cayuga Lake. Owasco Lake should be offering some very good fishing now as well.  Here’s the lake-by-lake report:

  • Cayuga Lake:  Fishing here has been excellent for lake trout. The bite has generally been good throughout the day. Bonus rainbows, browns and salmon are showing up with regularity. Weedmats remain common.
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout action should be good here with shots at bonus rainbows, browns and smallmouths. Smallmouth bass fishing should be good.
  • Seneca Lake:  Lake trout fishing was slow the last time I was there. Browns, rainbow and salmon action has been fair to good. Weeds and waterfleas are a nuisance, moreso for trollers.  I will be back out here for more torture soon 😉
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Smallmouth bass fishing should be good to excellent.  Lake trout action should be fair to good.
  • Otisco Lake:  I will likely be back out here around mid-September. Bass fishing has reportedly been good with some Tiger Muskies in the mix.

Ponds: Ponds got another recharge from the weekend rains. Bass and sunfish remain active and willing partners to fly fishermen under these conditions, and low light early or late is the best time for fishing. Topwater is a good choice and don’t forget the damselfly, grasshopper, cricket, and beetle patterns. Poppers will work well along weedlines and lilly pads.

Warmwater rivers: All of the warmwater rivers were at great levels with cooler water and it looks like Sunday’s rains gave them another boost. Look for the lower Susquehanna to rise a decent amount and color up a bit early this week. Direct fishing time on the Tioughnioga and Chenango later in the week. Currently even these smaller rivers are on the rise but will crest first and drop long before the Susquehanna. Another option is the Chemung River which remains on the low side.

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The Susquehanna River is on the rise due to Sunday’s rain. Above 3,000 CFS wading can get iffy, so fish other waters unless you have access to a boat.

I was out on the Susquehanna on Saturday evening and was impressed with some pretty decent bait busting action at one pool tailout. I cast a popper above the tailout, worked it across with a few pops, and had a very large bass come completely out of the water for my offering. The bass missed my fly but I immediately threw back to where it had risen and was rewarded with another take. I had the fish on a mere 10 seconds before it pulled free but my experience should be a reminder that: 1) it’s a good time to fish surface or near surface during low light conditions, and 2) if a fish boils your popper and misses, throw it back as quickly as you can as “hot” fish will often give you a second chance. With some exceptions, most fish that feel the hook will not take again, however.

Fly fishing events: Area fly fishing clubs and chapters take the months of July and August off so there is nothing to report here at the moment.

The week ahead weather: A cold front passed through the Southern Tier over the weekend bringing with it much needed precipitation. In fact Binghamton received a record-setting 1.20″ of rainfall. Behind that front has come higher pressure, cooler temps, wind, and lower humidity. This front will bless our area with sunny skies and milder temps for Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs will reach the low 80’s with lows in the lower 60’s. Another cold front will approach late Thursday and into Friday. Expect cloudy conditions for Thursday with a slight chance of some afternoon showers and thunderstorms. There will be a better chance of showers and thunderstorms on Friday. Quiet weather will return this weekend with partly cloudy skies on Saturday and Sunday.

The shortening days and cooler temps should remind all anglers to start prepping for fall / winter fly fishing. It’s a good time to check / repair waders and boots. If you use studded boots, don’t forget to check for missing studs and replace them as necessary. Don’t overlook the laces as well. If not already in use, check your wading staff and do an inventory of fall and winter clothing.

The week ahead in fly fishing: August 15th

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2016 by stflyfisher

August is rolling along hot and lazy. Though thunderstorms over the last week have helped to somewhat ameliorate the drought, the attendant humidity has not been welcome nor has the oppressive heat. Some of the smaller brooks, creeks, and streams could still use more water and it looks like we may get help for them this week…

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Tiny “no-name brook” as I refer to it, is showing its bones through this dry summer. This picture was taken Sunday, 8/14.

Fly shop talk: Summer is flying by and with it the smallmouth bass fishing. As I fished the Chenango River with another angler I know, we talked about the fishery. He agreed with me that every bass we’ve caught without exception has been very healthy – well fed to even stout with beautiful coloring and classic smallie fight. I’ve caught a lot of smaller to mid-sized fish this year, a good sign that the fishery is healthy and that spawning is going well. Of course nature has its cycles so one never knows what next year brings, but I’m grateful for our rivers and looking forward to fall when the bass put on the feedbag.

Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:

Catskill Rivers: The West Branch Angler reports that the West Branch has cleared up pretty significantly over the last 24 hours down at Hale Edddy and is even clearer up top around Deposit.  The current flow at Hale Eddy is 675 and 54 degrees with plenty of visibility for all types of fishing.  Look for Sulphurs starting around noon on the upper West and with cloud cover expect a few BWO’s in size 18-22.  The streamer fishing will be decent with the slight stain. The Delaware River Club reports that the rivers are still dropping and are clearing up nicely.  The water temperatures are higher than we’ve seen in the mornings due to the sunny days, warmer nights, and warm runoff.  The Upper West Branch around Hale Eddy is fine and the Upper Eat Branch above Harvard is okay.  If you fish below those points check the water temperatures with a thermometer.  The West Branch in Hancock peaked over 70 degrees yesterday afternoon.  The temperature should drop back a little as the ratio of warm runoff to cold release changes but we are starting off higher than normal down here.  The lower East Branch and Mainstem are both starting off over 70 degrees this morning. The sulphurs and olives hatched like normal on the upper river but the fished seemed put off by the quick change in flow.  There were some fish eating but not as many as we expected.  Hatches are the following:

Hatching:
Slate Drake – 12-2xl- Isonychia bicolor
Sulphur – #16-20 – E dorothea
Light Cahill – #14 – 16 – S. ithaca & canadense
Golden Drake – #12-2xl – Potomanthus
Trico – 22 – 26 – Tricorythodes sp.
Tiny Blue Winged Olive – #22 – 26 – Psuedocloeon spp.
Blue Winged Olive – #18 – 20 – E. lata
Light Blue Winged Olive – #16 – 20 E. attenuatta
Tan Caddis – #16 – 20 – Hydropsyche spp.
Dark Brachycentrus sp. – #14 – 18 – Dark Grannom
Little Black Caddis #18 – 20 – Chimarra sp.
Blue Winged Olives #16 – 18 – Baetis vagans (updated name: Baetis tricaudatus)

Local streams and creeks: Most local creeks got at least a shot of water from the recent thunderstorm activity we’ve experienced. However, the effects of the drought we’ve been through has meant a lot of our smaller waters are already dropping and clearing. Leave the smaller skinny water alone for now and as long as the heat and dry conditions prevail.

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Very skinny waters…

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports Laker action remains solid on Cayuga Lake.  No word on Owasco Lake lately but fishing there generally gets better throughout the summer.  Here’s the lake-by-lake report:

Cayuga Lake:  Fishing here ranges from good to excellent for lake trout. There are good numbers of sizeable lakers throughout the lake and they bite on and off throughout the day. Bonus rainbows, browns and salmon are showing up with regularity.

  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout action should be good here with shots at bonus rainbows, browns and smallmouths.  Smallmouth bass fishing should be good.
  • Seneca Lake:  Lake trout fishing is poor.  Browns should be fair to good.  Tremendous amounts of baitfish are virtually everywhere.  Weeds and waterfleas are a nuisance, moreso for trollers.  I will be back out here for more torture soon 😉
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Smallmouth bass fishing should be good to excellent.  Lake trout action should be fair to good.
  • Otisco Lake:  Tiger musky fishing was slow for us on 7/27.  Part of it was the weather pattern.  Expect action to pick up as waters cool (hopefully) in September and onwards.

Ponds: Ponds got a little recharge from recent rains. Bass and sunfish are very active and willing partners to fly fishermen under these conditions, but low light early or late is best. Topwater is a good choice and don’t forget the damselfly, grasshopper, cricket, and beetle patterns. Poppers will work well along weedlines and lilly pads.

Warmwater rivers: All of the warmwater rivers are up due to the recent rains. Increased flows have been spotty due to where heavy rain hit but now all of the warmwater tribs are heading north. With more rain in the forecast, it may be another week before fishing levels and clarity are good again. Anglers looking to get back into fishing for Mr. Bronzeback and his accomplices should look to the headwaters of the smaller rivers first.

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With the high water, this could be the end of the white fly hatch. It can run through the end of August, however, so keep an eye out as evening comes to the rivers. And finally, it’s time to start preparing for fall fly fishing. I usually gear up bigger for the aggressive bite. Big flies such as deceivers, half & halfs, and big clousers are often great for rousting out big bass. I’m talking about flies I’d normally use for blues and stripers. I’m always amazed how aggressive the bass can get. Josh Filter of the Leon Chandler chapter of TU once stated, “no fly is to big for a smallmouth.” I believe him.

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Here’s a nice bass I caught last fall on a 4″+ white deceiver – proof that big is better in fall!

Fly fishing events: Area fly fishing clubs and chapters take the months of July and August off so there is nothing to report here at the moment.

The week ahead weather: The warmer weather we’ve had will continue in the week ahead along with humidity and the potential for a lot of rain. Look for highs to moderate a bit down to the low to mid 80’s but for lows to range in the low to upper 60’s. Following storms from the weekend, we’ll have a break from periodic thunderstorms and hot humid weather but that won’t last long as another batch of drenching rain and storms will surge north and east on Tuesday into Wednesday. A slow-moving front will pull plenty of tropical moisture northward from the Gulf Coast early in the week according to the AccuWeather Long-Range forecast.

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As the front exits the region later in the week, the frequency of storms is expected to lessen. The end of the week into the weekend should be much drier.

Remember that this is the time of year to be extra vigilant with regards to sun protection. Cover up with protective clothing or lather up with sun screen, and wear a hat and sunglasses. The eyes can suffer on bright days and a good pair of polarized sunglasses will definitely help in spotting fish. Also, hydrate before heading out and have water handy. Heat exhaustion is nothing to mess with and will ruin a day on the water, or worse.

 

 

The week ahead in fly fishing: August 8th

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2016 by stflyfisher

We are easing into August and the first first week was not a bad one. We received some much needed precipitation and enjoyed decent temperatures. While the effects of a dry July remain with us, some bodies of water did get a boost from recent rain.

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The upper Susquehanna River in Windsor is running a little murky and a good 5 degrees cooler than the Tioughnioga and Chenango, thanks to recent rains.

Cooler evenings have also helped, particularly for the coldwater species. Sweet corn is now being locally picked, hoppers are about, and herons and egrets are feasting in the rivers, lakes, and ponds. Ospreys and eagles are no doubt doing pretty well too. I’ve seen quite a few out on my forays to local waters.

Fly shop talk: Starting next week, I’ll use this section of the week ahead fly fishing post to record what I hear on the water and journal my own observations on fly fishing, tackle, the environment, and other musings.

Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:

Catskill Rivers: The West Branch Angler reports that the rivers are all still in good shape and have dropped a little bit. The West Branch at Hale Eddy is flowing at 606 cfs currently with a temp of 50 degrees.  The upper East at Harvard is just under 200 cfs and 59 degrees. As not much as changed your best bet for rising fish during the mid-day hours is going to be upriver around Deposit. Subsurface fishing on the lower half of the West can be productive with small nymphs for the Sulphurs and Olives and the Iso nymph can be very productive as well. The Delaware River Club reports normal hatching on the upper West Branch. It does seem that the mid-day hatches are coming in waves with the main hatch coming off almost into the evening. Nymphing has been best in the morning before the fog burns off the water. Hatches are the following: 

  • Slate Drake – 12-2xl- Isonychia bicolor
    Sulphur – #16-20 – E dorothea
    Light Cahill – #14 – 16 – S. ithaca & canadense
    Golden Drake – #12-2xl – Potomanthus
    Trico – 22 – 26 – Tricorythodes sp.
    Tiny Blue Winged Olive – #22 – 26 – Psuedocloeon spp.
    Blue Winged Olive – #18 – 20 – E. lata
    Light Blue Winged Olive – #16 – 20 E. attenuatta
    Tan Caddis – #16 – 20 – Hydropsyche spp.
    Dark Brachycentrus sp. – #14 – 18 – Dark Grannom
    Little Black Caddis #18 – 20 – Chimarra sp.
    Blue Winged Olives #16 – 18 – Baetis vagans (updated name: Baetis tricaudatus)

Local streams and creeks: Low and slow – that’s about all one can say about area creeks. The recent rain we did receive did little to revive many waters. Leave the smaller water alone for now and as long as the heat and dry conditions prevail.

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that laker action is top-notch on Cayuga and Owasco Lakes. Cayuga will likely provide some excellent fishing over the next 5 weeks at the very least. Here’s his lake-by-lake report:

  • Cayuga Lake:  Fishing here ranges from very good to excellent for lake trout. There are good numbers of sizeable lakers throughout the lake.  Bonus rainbows, browns and salmon are showing up with regularity.
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout action should be good here with shots at bonus rainbows, browns and smallmouths.  Smallmouth bass fishing should be good.
  • Seneca Lake:  Lake trout fishing is poor.  Browns should be fair to good.  Tremendous amounts of baitfish are virtually everywhere.  Weeds and waterfleas are a nuisance, moreso for trollers.
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Smallmouth bass fishing should be good to excellent.  Lake trout action should be fair to good.
  • Otisco Lake:  Tiger musky fishing was slow for us on 7/27.  Part of it was the weather pattern.

Ponds: Ponds are definitely dropping and warming. Bass and sunfish are very active and willing partners to fly fishermen under these conditions, but low light early or late is best. Topwater is a good choice and don’t forget the damselfly, grasshopper, cricket, and beetle patterns. Poppers will work well along weedlines and lilly pads.

Warmwater rivers: The warmwater rivers experienced a divergence in flows in the past week. While the Tioughnioga and Chenango are running lower and clear after last week’s rains, the Susquehanna is running higher and murky at the moment. Water temps are in the 75 – 80+ degree range and somewhat cooler on the Susquehanna. Wading is safe to easy depending on where you go. The murk in the Susquehanna is fishable in the upper river but less so in the lower river around Vestal. It might be another week before the Susky clears up. The smallmouth bass fishing has been solid but reports indicate it can be hit or miss. Keep a focus on weeds and structure during the mornings and evenings where bait likes to hide but don’t forget the tailouts of pools. On one after-work outing I found fishing the riffles and deep runs to be less productive than the slower pool below. What I would normally consider marginal water was a steady pick of decent bass. It always pays to move around and experiment with color and the depths being fished.

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This smallie is no monster, but is in excellent condition and primed for the fall feedbag.

It also pays to keep an eye out for feeding fish. Fleeing minnows are always a sign of something stirring the pot below. I recently witnessed a bass chasing a sizeable minnow in very fast water, upstream no less. One swing of a streamer through that water was an instant hook-up. When the bass are lit up, it is important to throw a fly in their direction very quickly. Carp are pretty active all day long in the weedy pools and tailouts. They can be caught with buggy-looking nymphs and crayfish imitations. Sight-fishing can be especially effective to mudding fish. Finally, the white fly hatch has started but seems quite spotty. Look for the hatch to start around 8 pm and proceed into dark. There have been reports of ridiculously heavy hatches along with sparse ones or none at all.

Fly fishing events: Area fly fishing clubs and chapters take the months of July and August off so there is nothing to report here at the moment.

The week ahead weather: We certainly enjoyed a few days of warm and pleasantly dry weather but it looks like that will end by mid-week. Temps will creep up on Tuesday but dew point temperatures will be on the rise. A cold front will approach our area on Tuesday night and with it, a chance of showers and T-storms. There’s a good chance, according to local forecasters, that the cold front will pass through and stall to our south. That will give us showers and T-storms for much of the extended forecast. So expect warm and muggy weather from Wednesday on with highs in the mid 80’s and lows in the 60’s. The overcast skies and potential for precipitation could be a good thing for fly fishing and for the fish. This is the time of year to be extra vigilant with regards to sun protection. And just because it is cloudy doesn’t mean you can’t get a sunburn. Cover up with protective clothing or lather up with sun screen. And don’t forget a hat and sunglasses. The eyes can suffer on bright days and a good pair of polarized sunglasses will definitely help in spotting fish.