The week ahead in fly fishing: May 15, 2107

Mother’s Day is upon us. For the male anglers out there, this was not the weekend to hit the water, perhaps, at best, a few hours. For the female anglers, of course, it is just like Father’s Day – hang up the sign – “Gone Fishing” and the day is yours.

Fields are plowed and the hills are greening up. Turkey season is now half over, or half begun, depending on your view.  The rainbows are mostly done spawning, and bass – both smallmouth and largemouth – have begun their amorous ways.

Water remains the theme in the Southern Tier. There’s been a lot of it, as last reported. Creeks, streams, and rivers are showing the excess. Here’s the latest data:


Fly shop talk: Many of us have at least one person to thank for being in the wonderful sport of fly fishing. in many cases it’s a family member or close friend. And when it is someone close, the bond formed from that sharing can enrich the lives of both the teacher and student. Once given, the gift of angling never really goes away. In my case, my brother-in-law, whom I barely knew at the time, passed on this great gift. he took me to the famed West Branch of the Delaware on a July morning and on my own, using his tackle, landed a bright butter yellow 18″ brown. Call it beginner’s luck – that fish hooked me more than I hooked (and released) him. I’ve thanked Jeff ever since and this year built him a fly rod as a 60th birthday present. And while I learned things building the rod, perhaps the best part of it is that like teaching angling, that rod will also keep giving; to grandchildren, and on down the line. So what about you? have you thanked the person who got you into fly fishing?

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

Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: Flows on the Salmon River have dropped and the fishing reports have been pretty good.


Water temps are in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. The DSR is reporting some nice-sized Atlantics, along with steelhead, browns, smallmouth bass, and even walleye being landed. The fishing remains mixed, as are the methods, but there are some nice fish coming into the river as well as some steelhead dropping back.

Whitakers Sports Store and Motel is reporting that the water level dropped again over the weekend and finally a stretch of mild conditions is expected for later in the week. We still have a few drop backs hanging around and the lower end of the river has been producing the best action. Areas such as the Town Pool, Longbridge/Staircase and Black Hole has produced the best action early in the morning and later in the day. Depending on the day anglers who fished the DSR have reported getting into a mix of drop backs, Atlantic Salmon or smallmouth bass. For those anglers who are fly fishing, swinging streamers with sinking leaders has been most productive.

Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that some stability with the weather is helping the Finger Lakes fishing.  Debris has settled out and water clarity has improved markedly.

  • Cayuga Lake:  Salmon and brown trout are distributed around the whole lake now for the most part.  Expect the same with browns and rainbows. Water temperatures are warming up and fish are moving out and deeper, though good numbers can be found in certain places shallow – but they are clearly scattering (which isn’t a bad thing). Lake trout jigging is good to very good.  Pickerel and perch are hitting well on the north end of the lake.
  • Seneca Lake:  Fishing is fair to good for landlocked salmon and brown trout.  Lake trout jigging had been slow.  Expect fair to good pike action here.
  • Keuka Lake:  Lake trout fishing is fair to good here.
  • Owasco Lake:  Lake trout fishing should be good here. Perch fishing is very good. I expect good pike and rainbow trout fishing here this year.  Work is currently being done on the launches at Emerson Park.  At least one ramp is open from what I heard but it is a mess up there.  The Marina at the south end would probably be a better place to launch.
  • Skaneateles Lake:  Yellow perch fishing is in full swing. Bonus bass, salmon and lakers are in the mix. I expect top-notch mixed bag fishing here now.  Smallmouth and rockbass should be starting to move up in large numbers.

Catskill Rivers: Generally speaking, the Catskill Rivers are high and largely unwadable. Fishing from a drift boat is the best way to fish the river system. 

  • The West Branch Angler is reporting that all rivers are still very clear after a weekend of some off and on rain. There are still some pretty prolific Blue Quill hatches on the West Branch and the Hendricksons slowed down a little bit this weekend but should pick back up as the temps creep up.  There are lots of caddis around lately too with some pretty good numbers of Apple caddis throughout the system. The streamer fishing has remained pretty good lately with the high volume of water currently in the system.
  • The Delaware River Club is reporting that the hendricksons are hatching well and the fish have been eating them. The water levels continue to drop and more wading opportunities are opening up. March browns are moving up the system and hopefully the caddis become more active in the sunshine.
  • Ken Tutalo of Baxter House Fly Fishing Outfitters reports that the action right now is very good in most places. Anglers can expect to find action with Dry Flies, Nymphs and Streamers. The Dry Fly is steady and reliable and most days from 3:00 until dark the trout are feeding heavily. There are some funnel points in the river that are so full of fish that it has been crazy. Hendrickson Duns and Spinners are on the menu on the tailwaters while March Browns and Caddisflies are happening on the freestones. Sulfurs should also join the mix any day now. There are also lots of Caddis on the water at this time. There are still Apple Caddis along with many others in various sizes. As far as location goes, the fish are totally spread out due to the heavy influx of mayflies. We are getting streamer strikes in every water type at this time.
  • Hatching:
    Hendrickson – #12 – 14 – Ephemerella subvaria
    Hendrickson – #16 – Ephemerella X
    Blue Quill – #16 – Paraleptophlebia. adaptiva
    March Brown – #10 -2xl – Maccaffertium vicarium
    Gray Fox – #12-2xl – Maccaffertium vicarium (Stenonema fuscum)
    Blue Wing Olives – #18 – Baetis sp.
    Dark Grannom – #14 – 18 – Brachycentrus spp.
    Apple Green Caddis #16 – 20 – Light Brachycentrus sp.
    Tan Caddis #16 – 18 – Hydropsyche spp.
    Little Black Caddis – #18-20 – Chimarra sp.

Local creeks: Local creeks got another god plug of water but are dropping and clearing as of this report. Streamers will be the best bet as long as flows and water clarity are off, but certainly by later this week, fishing should be back to normal. The warmer weather could provide some solid dry fly action. Fishing with nymphs and wets will always be productive as well.

Warmwater Rivers: Warmwater rivers are still too high for wading but are OK for fishing from a boat. The smaller rivers, like the Tioughnioga, will be first to clear and drop. It’s been hard to judge the prespawn with water levels and temps so variable but this week’s warmer weather is sure to kick it into high gear. Smaller rivers with lower flows will be the best bet for now, unless fishing from a boat. Fish water adjacent to shallow bays, tributary mouths, eddies, and shoreline structure. When the pre-spawn bite is on, large streamers will work well – smallies are typically aggressive and feeding up for two reasons – 1) their metabolism is picking up as water temps rise, and 2) they need to store up for the rigors of spawning.

Ponds: Ponds continue to warm and the largemouth bass are actively staging for spawning and in some cases may actually be on beds. Fishing will begin to pick up with warmer weather and this week’s climb into the 80’s will certainly help energizing the fish. Panfish will also be active. While it’s not popper time just yet, cruising fish could be tempted with large dry flies or a terrestrial pattern.


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

The BC Flyfshers chapter FFI is featuring return speaker, Bruce Pencek for the May chapter meeting on Thursday, May 18 at the Endicott Public Library at 7:00 PM (informal tying demonstration at 6:30). The topic will be “American Tenkara Fishing”. Bruce Pencek returns from Virginia (via Hancock) to talk about American Tenkara – the translation of no-reel/fixed-line fly-fishing tackle and techniques from the mountain streams of Japan to the diverse waters and fish of North America. He will talk about selecting and rigging tenkara tackle and give his thoughts about how fixed-line rods have improved his success with western techniques – dry flies, Euro-style nymphing, even streamers – for trout, smallmouth, and carp. (With luck, he might have some illustrated tales about his fixed-line fishing in the Southern Tier in the days leading up to the talk.) He’ll provide some handouts with his recommendations for information sources and vendors. Before the talk, he’ll tie some of the flies he uses regularly.

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

The low that gave us the showers and thunderstorms on Mother’s Day is spinning off the coast of Maine. This gave us some early clouds and showers. Skies will become partly cloudy, but it will be a cool and windy day. Winds diminish tonight and skies will be mostly clear. We’ll have partly cloudy skies on Tuesday with highs climbing into the 70s. We’ll be even warmer on Wednesday with highs in the 80s. With the warm, and slightly muggy weather, there could be a few scattered showers or thunderstorms. Showers and thunderstorms will be in the forecast for Thursday as a cold front comes through. Highs once again will be in the 80s. We’ll have partly cloudy skies with highs in the low 70s on Friday, with mostly sunny skies on Saturday. As a low moves in, we’ll have clouds and showers on Sunday and Monday with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: