The week ahead in fly fishing: March 6, 2107
March officially came in like a lamb. With a high of 60 degrees and a low of 47, there was no doubt in the way March opened. But a day later that all changed. Temperatures plunged, the wind blew hard enough to knock down limbs and cause power outages, and the lake effect snow started dusting the hilltops. With a high of 47 and low of 21, March 2nd seemed to try and turn the month to a lion-like start. And it just got worse over the weekend, with temperatures hitting the single digits and in some areas, negative numbers.
Fly shop talk: Joe Cambridge taught this past week’s BCFF fly tying class and for those who attended and listened attentively, there were a lot of kernels of fly fishing wisdom that came with his class. I’ve captured some of them here for the benefit of all:
- Less is more in fly tying. Cambridge repeated to take a small amount of dubbing, for example, and if it seemed right cut it in half. He repeated this advice in tying the Fatal Attraction streamer. Too many streamers are tied with too much material.
- Chewed flies fish better. Joe told a story about an old-timer he fished with who would insist on giving the younger Joe a new replacement fly after he’d caught a few fish on the fly he was using. Youner Joe thought he was getting the better end of the bargain, getting new flies, but soon learned differently when the older, wiser, angler out-fished Joe.
- Joe discussed fishing a streamer he loves to use on the Finger Lake tribs – the Fatal Attraction. He prefers to dead drift the streamer, then make it look like a helpless minnow struggling against the current, rather than stripping it aggressively. “How many minnows have you seen attack trout?”
- Soft hackles can be deadly. Joe told the story of fishing with a relative in Scotland who gave him a box of wet flies when he returned to the USA. Joe looked at them and dismissed them as being effective for being so sparsely tied. Years later he was fishing to trout that were taking emergers and could not hook a fish. After trying everything he discovered the box of soft hackles and thought, ‘what do I have to lose’. He immediately took fish after fish and became a believer in this fly type. And so did an old angler who asked what he was using. Joe gave the angler a soft hackle and he too began to take fish. A while later he offered Joe $5 a fly for every one of the soft hackles he had in his fly box.
Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:
Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: The Douglaston Salmon Run continues to report lackluster results but these appear to be largely connected to weather conditions and high river flows. Whitaker’s also reports that very few anglers have been on the water over the last couple of days and as a result, they are not getting many reports.
Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that water temperatures are in the 39/41 degree range on the surface of the larger Finger Lakes.
- Cayuga Lake: Fly-fishing and casting with gear has been productive for landlocked salmon and brown trout along with occasional rainbows and lakers. Lake trout jigging is also productive. The water level is low and launching and retrieving boats could be a hassle for some. Perch/Pickerel action should be good up north. Pickerel/pike season closes on March 15th.
- Seneca Lake: Fishing is currently fair to good for landlocked salmon and brown trout. Very few boats were out of Watkins Glen perch fishing when we went out. Expect fair to good pike fishing. Pike season closes on March 15th.
- 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 third of a series of four fly tying classes on Saturday, March 4. The class is focused on tying guide flies – flies known for their simplicity and high effectiveness in fooling fish. Local tyer and fly fisher, Joe Cambridge, taught Saturday’s lesson with some great flies like the Partidge and Orange Soft Hackle, the Peacock and Starling Soft Hackle, and the Fatal Attraction Streamer. These flies will all work very well in our local waters. 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 11 at 9 am in the basement meeting room of the Endicott Public Library. On hand to teach will be Kevin Gilroy, BCFF chapter member and professional fly tyer.
- The BC Flyfishers will be holding its next chapter meeting on Thursday, March 23rd at 7pm, with an informal fly tying demo at 6:30 pm. Rick Cramer, owner of Troutfitter Fly Shop in Syracuse will be the speaker and his presentation will be on expanding your trout fishing horizons to include streams around Syracuse. Troutfitter is one of the very few quality fly fishing shops in our area. Rick will tell us about his shop, provide us with discount cards, and acquaint us with more trout fishing locations in the in the Syracuse area. Specifically, Rick will talk about Otselic River, Skaneateles Creek (and Lake), Oriskany Creek and Chenango Canal, and Fabius Brook. Find out where to access them, what flies to use, and Rick’s favorite spots. Rick will be handing out maps showing access points so bring a pencil to add your notes on best locations. Why be stuck fishing the same local venues? It’s time to add new scenery and locations to your fishing repertoire. Come and join us and bring a friend.
- 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:
Parade Day shaped up to be the coldest Parade Day in the last 16 years. The next coldest Parade Day was in 2013 when the high temperature was only 25 degrees. Saturday’s high topped out at 15 degrees. Sunday looks to be about 20 degrees warmer than it was on Saturday, with highs in the low-30s for most. Our weather looks to stay quiet for the next few days, as Monday will have temperatures in the low-40s with high pressure and dry conditions dominating.
We are tracking our next low-pressure system that looks to trek north of the United States through southern Canada for the first half of the week, dragging a warm front, then a cold front, across our area Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures Tuesday look to climb into the 50s for most, with the passing cold front bringing the best chance of rain showers.
As temperatures fall behind the cold front, some of the lingering precipitation could be snow or lake-effect snow.