The week ahead in fly fishing: February 27, 2107

Spring certainly visited the Southern Tier with gusto this past week. Record temperatures were set with highs, at times, hitting the low 70’s. And those high temperatures went to work on the snow pack, swelling local creeks, streams, and rivers with snow-melt. Most ponds and smaller lakes are largely ice-free and all of our snow is gone. As nice as it was to get a tease of spring and even early summer, let’s hope the weather returns to normal and some of the white stuff hits the ground again.


The East Branch of Owego Creek flows high and turbid with snow melt in this picture taken on Friday, February 24.

Fly shop talk: I’ve recently been attending the BC Flyfisher’s fly tying class, learning how to tie guide flies. The class has provided an opportunity to connect with other anglers, shake off the fly tying rust, and learn how to tie some simple but very effective fly patterns. Guide flies are fish catchers – cheap in material use and fast to tie. And as John Trainor stated in one of the first two classes, when you lose some of the nymphs to the bottom, which you should be doing if you are fishing where you should be, you don’t mind losing them in comparison to a more technical fly that you just purchased at a fly shop. Guide flies are probably the epitome of effectiveness and tying them should remind us all that fly fishing need not be as pricey or “difficult” as it is sometimes portrayed. Going forward this year, I’ll be carrying plenty of these patterns in my vest, but more so, I’ll try to keep my fly fishing just like these guide flies – efficient and effective.

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

Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: The Douglaston Salmon Run has been reporting poorer results lately, mainly due to river conditions. Most of the snow is melted and the run-off has really kicked flows up significantly. Whitaker’s is reporting the much same and advises anglers to check river flows before venturing out.



Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that water temperatures are in the 41 degree range on the surface of the larger Finger Lakes. The action over the past three days has been good to very good for the most part. Here’s his 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 are working.   The water level is low here and launching and retrieving boats could be a hassle for some. Lake trout jigging is good to very good.
  • 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 Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of IFFF will be holding its next monthly chapter meeting on Monday, March 6th. Make sure to mark your calendars because this will be a good one. Joe Goodspeed, Sales Rep. for Thomas and Thomas, will be visiting to talk about Fly Fishing for Muskies. Joe is known for being a very diversified fly fisher who thinks outside the box and targets many different species. His talks are always interesting. Prior to his presentation, Joe will be tying a fly he uses for musky fishing. Joe always has some interesting stories and techniques to share, so you will not what to to miss this presentation. Fly tying demo will start at 6:30 pm, with the presentation starting at 7:00, at the Big Flats Community Center, 476 Maple Street, Big Flats.
  • The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF held the second of a series of four fly tying classes  on Saturday, February 25. 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 two 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, March 4 at 12 pm in the basement meeting room of the Endicott Public Library. On hand to teach will be Joe Cambridge, who has presented at previous BCFF monthly meetings.

The “Turd”, shown here in fly tying instructor Tim Barrett’s vise, was one of four guide flies taught in this past Saturday’s BCFF Fly Tying class.

  • 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.


  • 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 few snowflakes will end up falling on Sunday, with light accumulations, from 0-1″, expected, particularly at the higher elevations. MINOR flooding is also possible through Sunday evening, as ground conditions are such that the heavy rainfall received Saturday could cause flooding in some areas.

Colder air sets up and hangs around through Sunday night. More mild air looks to return Monday and stay through midweek, with temperatures possibly reaching into the mid-50s again come Wednesday. We are watching a few batches of rain showers, one on Tuesday and another low-pressure system on Wednesday. Both of which look to shake up the first half of our week. Some snow showers are then possible on the back end of that low-pressure system on Thursday. High pressure takes over Friday and Saturday, as quiet and more seasonable weather returns to the Southern Tier.




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