The week ahead in fly fishing: March 20, 2107

We are now technically in Spring, but last week sure didn’t seem like it. Winter storm Stella made sure the Northeast did not forget that winter isn’t over until Mother Nature says so! Stella dumped a record amount of snow in our area. Binghamton picked up almost a foot of snow in just 4 hours early on March 14 and ended with an all-time 24 hour record snowfall of 35.3″ total accumulation, according to

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Amidst the storm, in the Vestal hills…

Snow leaders were a little more upstate of the Southern Tier: Hartwick, NY had 48.4 inches and Lake Placid, 42 inches. Besides sore arms and backs, the storm left us with a nice snow pack that the trout will surely appreciate. If not for the snow, I was ready to predict an early season bite for smallmouth and another bad year, like last year, for small water trout. Hopefully the next few weeks will be consistently cold at night and cool during the day, allowing a gradual (and natural) snow melt, and cool and adequate flows through early summer.


Just an aside, but the term “Bombogenesis”, used in describing Stella, is defined as a powerful low pressure system that intensifies rapidly. Bombogenesis begins as cyclogenesis, where an area of low pressure develops and strengthens. In weather-speak, bombogenesis, or “bombing-out”, occurs when the central pressure of a low pressure system drops 24 millibars within 24 hours in combination with a large temperature gradient, usually between a cold continental air mass and warm sea-surface temperatures. Over that temperature contrast, an intensifying jet-stream disturbance triggers air to rise, starting the bombogenesis process. Nor’easters can turn to weather bombs due to cold air surging southward from Canada combined with the warm ocean waters of the Gulf Stream. The result of bombogenesis is a dramatic increase in wind and precipitation in the form of snow in winter.

Fly shop talk: Today is the Vernal Equinox, the astronomical event where the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic. All over the world, days and nights are approximately equal. The name equinox comes from Latin words which mean “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the Sun’s rays about equally because the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. The Earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.



From this day forward, we will enjoy the increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets. So regardless of the weather, think spring, but because it is, and those longer days of fly fishing are not far off…

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

Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: The Douglaston Salmon Run reports that flows have dropped but conditions have been somewhat on the slower side.

pineville flow

There have been some steelhead landed along with some browns and domestic rainbows, mostly on egg sacks, although nymphs are also producing. Whitakers Sports Motel reports that with the recent drop in water level and improved weather conditions, a few more anglers are getting out on the water. Anglers who are covering lots of water are having the most success. In the lower end of the river anglers are getting into some fresh fish while fishing the transition water. In the upper end of the river anglers are getting into a mix of fresh and darker fish in and around the deeper holes and runs. For those anglers who are fly fishing, nymphs or egg patterns under a strike indicator has been productive. For those anglers who are bottom bouncing or float fishing, egg sacs and beads has produced steady results.

Suggested patterns:

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

John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that things are back to normal in the Central NY Region. The Ithaca region did not get nearly the amount of snow that other parts of NY received.

Here’s John’s lake-by-lake report:

  • 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 has come up quite a bit and launching shouldn’t be a problem at most launches – at least for now!
  • 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.
  • Keuka Lake:  Lake trout fishing should still be good here.
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout 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 Al Hazzard chapter of Trout Unlimited will have its next chapter meeting on Tuesday, March 21st at 7 pm at the Vestal Public Library. On tap for the evening’s presentation is Mike Breed of the Chenango Valley High School who will talk about the Trout in the Classroom project.
  • 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 Leon Chandler chapter of Trout Unlimited is sponsoring Ithaca Fishing Day. The chapter has expanded the focus of this event beyond just fly-fishing to encompass all aspects of fishing and cold-water conservation. The date for the event is Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm. The event will be held at the Ithaca High School, in the cafeteria. Ithaca Fishing Day is a unique event that invites the entire community to come and experience a day of educational opportunities focusing on fishing and cold-water environmental conservation. It’s free to the public and all proceeds raised benefit the youth-related environmental education activities of our local Trout Unlimited Chapter, including the Trout in the Classroom program currently in seventeen local elementary, middle and high schools. Programs are planned throughout the day; including the opportunity to interact with one of the Trout in the Classroom fish tanks. As always, special programs will be featured on a variety of important and interesting topics. This will include presentations by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Mel Russo, and Shahab Farzanagen; as well as free fly-casting and fly-tying instruction throughout the day. This event offers unique opportunities to learn fishing and fly tying tips from masters from around the region, and includes demonstration tanks featuring live locally collected aquatic insect specimens.
  • It’s still not too late to sign up for the Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of IFFF’s Fly Fishing Academy, scheduled for Saturday, April 8, 2017, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. This year marks the TT5R’s 10th anniversary for the Annual Fly Fishing Academy. The event will be held at the Campbell-Savona High School in Campbell, NY. This is a high quality fly fishing course, open to Adults and to Youth 11 yrs old and over. 
    This full day class is designed for beginner and intermediate fly fishers to develop and expand techniques and skills. The day includes three casting sessions led by a Certified Casting Instructor. Learning sessions throughout the day are taught by fly fishers with vast experience and include fly fishing strategy, knot tying, gear selection, fly selection, getting started with trout and bass, and more. Nymph, dry fly and streamer techniques are demonstrated in a full-scale model stream. Lunch and snacks are provided. No equipment is necessary. Class fee is $85 for Adults (ages 16 and over); $40 for Youth (ages 11-15, accompanied by a registered Adult). TTFR Members are also eligible for a $10 discount. Space is limited and filled last year, so you are encouraged to register early. Prepaid registration is required by Fri., March 31st. Contact Steve Harris 607-377-4956 or Kirk Klingensmith 607-346-7189
  • 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:

Tuesday brings plenty of clouds through midday. Some breaks of sun are possible in the PM. There is a slight chance of a late PM sprinkle or shower especially NE/E. Most of the day looks dry. Highs will be in the mid to upper 40s. With any extended periods of sun, a few 50 degree spots are possible. An Arctic cold front will cross our path overnight Tuesday and bring a chance of snow showers. The most noticeable difference from this front will be the sharply colder air mass in its wake.

Highs Wednesday will only be around 20 with a 30% chance of some snow showers. Winds will pick up and gust to 25-30mph. Chills will be near/below zero. Clearing takes over later in the day and into the overnight. Lows into Thursday morning will be in the single digits. Some of the coldest locations would be near/below zero with the snow pack still in place.

Bright sun is expected Thursday with highs back around 32. Friday brings a 30% chance of rain/snow showers. Next weekend looks unsettled due the location of front. South of the front will be much warmer than north of it. Along the front and north will see a higher chance of rain and snow. South of it will see more dry time. Until exact placement becomes evident, both weekend days will have a 40% chance of some showers. Highs will be around 40 with overnight lows near 32. Sunday there could be some wintry mix showers in the Catskills, but for now the chance is low.




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