The week ahead in fly fishing: February 20, 2107

An old saying (attributed to Mark Twain) – “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.” – seemed to be right on the money as far as this past week’s weather goes. The week was relatively cold, with some overnight temps getting down into the teens, and the area received snow in measured doses from a coastal storm and lingering bands of lake effect snow, but much of the snow pack that built up during the week is gone, thanks to ridiculously warm weekend weather. It was a little too much of a shift for some who prefer shut-in weather while tending to stuffing fly boxes, while others took advantage of spring-like conditions to wet a line.

Fly shop talk: Warm days amidst winter weather, such as those experienced this weekend, always make me think of stoneflies. Following are some facts about these wonderful bugs, the early season versions of which are always happy to greet cold-weary anglers:

  • There are some 3,500 species of stoneflies worldwide, with new species still being discovered. Stoneflies are found everywhere except Antarctica.
  • All species of Plecoptera are intolerant of water pollution and their presence in a stream or still water is usually an indicator of good or excellent water quality.
  • Stoneflies usually spend 10 months to 2 years living and growing as larvae in the water. When ready, the larvae emerge from the water and transform into terrestrial adults. While there is some evidence to suggest that a few species in the West may emerge in open water, stoneflies largely owe their lesser status to a terrestrial emergence style. This keeps them safe from trout at a stage when most mayflies and caddisflies are highly vulnerable. With few exceptions, they emerge by crawling out of the water onto rocks, sticks, or other shoreline objects.
  • Adults are not strong fliers (clumsy is a better word!) and generally stay near the stream or lake they hatched from.
  • The male signals his desire to mate to the female by beating the ground with the tip of his abdomen. The pattern of beats is different for each species. If the female is receptive she replies with a series of taps on the ground with her abdomen. The pattern of taps is different in males and females, and between different species.
  • Mating usually happens on the ground or on vegetation. The female then flies over the water dipping her abdomen in to wash off the eggs, or she swims on the surface while laying eggs. Each female can lay hundreds of eggs.
  • The eggs have a gelatinous coating that swells up and absorbs moisture. This enables some eggs to survive in streams that dry up periodically.
  • Stonefly nymphs are adept “clinger/crawlers.” They have double claws on their tarsi which help them grip and clamber over fast-water rocks, and many of them have flattened bodies to make clinging even easier.

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

Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: The Douglaston Salmon Run has been reporting a series of so-so results until most recently. The weekend’s results have been much better, possibly due to the warmer weather. Anglers had good luck nymphing and in some cases, swinging flies. Whitaker’s is also reporting improved results throughout the river although nice weather has increased the fishing pressure. The upper section of river between Altmar and Pineville had the most fishing pressure, but anglers did land fish in this section. Anglers who fished the Lower Fly Zone reported having the most action on nymphs. Anglers who were willing to walk or fished on drift boats reported landing some fish in the mid section of the river. The anglers who fished the lower section of the river reported good results bottom bouncing or float fishing on egg sacs and beads. Those anglers who were fly fishing did well on stoneflies or egg patterns under an indicator.

Suggested Patterns:

  • Wiggle stone in blue, peacock, chart, pink. size 10
  • Rusher nymph in blue, purple, red, chart. size 10
  • Steelhead hammer in blue, purple, black, red. size 10
  • Black stonefly in size 10.
  • Flashback nymph size 8.
  • Steak-n-eggs in orange, pink, chart. size 10
  • Flash-a-bugger in olive/black. size 8
  • Sucker spawn in peach, cream, white, blue

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone is optimistic about fishing now that warmer weather will extend into the coming week. He’s reporting that now’s the time for good landlocked salmon fishing!  Here’s John’s lake-by-lake report:

  • Cayuga Lake:  Fishing has been productive for landlocked salmon and brown trout along with occasional rainbows and lakers.  Both fly-and gear fishing is working.   The water level is low here and launching and retrieving boats could be a hassle for some. Expect good lake trout jigging as well as good casting for pickerel/pike.
  • Seneca Lake:  Fishing is currently fair to good for landlocked salmon and brown trout.  Perch and pike fishing should be good.
  • Keuka Lake:  Lake trout fishing should still be good here.
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout and northern pike fishing should be good here.
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Rainbow trout, landlocked salmon and yellow perch fishing should be good here.

Fly fishing events: Here’s a summary of upcoming events:

  • The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be holding its monthly chapter meeting on Thursday, February 23rd at 7 pm at the Endicott Public Library. An informal fly tying demonstration at 6:30 pm will precede the main meeting. The presentation topic is HUNT MONSTER BROWN TROUT in NEW ZEALAND. Frank Cole and his companion, Steve Pettit, will talk about their journey in 2011 to beautiful New Zealand to catch trophy Brown Trout. They trek the lower third of the South Island over several rivers and lakes with Simon, their demanding NZ guide, through “chubby rain”, cold and heat. Perhaps, the most beautiful place to fish for trout in the world, the scenery is stunning and the trout are amazing!
  • The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF held the first of a series of four fly tying classes  on Saturday, February 11. The class is focused on tying guide flies – flies known for their simplicity and high effectiveness in fooling fish. Some very skilled and experienced fly tyers will be leading the remaining three classes. While the class is closed to new participants, the public is welcome to come, observe, and learn more about fly tying, fly fishing, and the BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF. If interested, read more here. The next class will be held on Saturday, February 25 at 9 am in the basement meeting room of the Endicott Public Library.
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John Trainor’s fly tying tools of the trade were on display during February 11th’s fly tying class. The next class on February 25th will feature more guide flies. Picture courtesy of BCFF Chapter President, Nick DiNunzio.

  • The Fly Fishing Show is in town. For those who missed the Somerset NJ show, the final “reasonably local” opportunity to attend will be the Lancaster, PA show which will be held Saturday, March 4th through Sunday, March 5th. Exhibitor booths will include non-stop casting demonstrations, seminars, fly-tying, a Women’s Fly Fishing Showcase, Fly Fishing Film Festival, book signings and the newest fly fishing tackle and gear. Fly Fishing Show admission is $15 for one day and $25 for both days. Children under age 5 are free as are Scouts under 16 in uniform. Active military with an ID are $10. Hours are: Sat. – 9 am-5:30 pm; Sun. – 9 am-4:30 pm.

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  • The Eastern Waters Council of IFFF, parent organization of the BC Flyfishers and Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter, is having a contest to bring in new members, called “Giving the Gift Of Membership”. The contest is to encourage current members to buy an IFFF membership as a gift to a fly fishing friend, fishing buddy, or family member. You will be entered in a raffle for a new Sage Rod and Reel. To enter the contest, call Kat Mulqueen (406-222-9369 X106) at IFFF headquarters, tell her you are from the BCFF chapter or TTFR chapter, Eastern Waters Council and that you want to participate in the Giving the Gift of Membership. You will need to provide the giftee name, address and email and pay for their membership. There is also a prize for the club that brings in the most new members. You will be helping your buddy, your Club and the IFFF, and you will be eligible to win an awesome new rod and reel! The contest ends May 1st.

The week ahead weather: WBNG’s week-ahead weather forecast is as follows:

 

A weak cold front is drifting in from the north, and looks to make Monday and Tuesday a little cooler. Sun will dominate on Monday, before clouds increase overnight Monday ahead of our next chance for precipitation Tuesday night. Temperatures rebound Wednesday and Thursday into the low- to mid-50s as high pressure returns and keeps our weather fairly quiet. Average high temperatures for this time of year are in the low-30s. Another low-pressure system looks to develop off the eastern Rocky Mountains and move northeastward toward us. This system puts the chance for rain showers back in the forecast and drop temperatures off the table for next Sunday, as we return to more seasonable temperatures.

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