The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of high water events. The Southern Tier has certainly received a lot of rain, and in combination with saturated ground from previous snow melt, local creeks, streams, and rivers have all been full to overflowing. According to NOAA data, Binghamton is at 16.74″ of precipitation versus a historical norm of roughly 10″ for this time of year. So yes, it’s been a wet one. And Binghamton claimed the “snowiest city” award this year with 135.2″ total, edging out Syracuse. All of that is good for the fishies, especially after last year’s severe drought.
Fly shop talk: I recently watched a video on David Magnum, a fly fishing guide from Destin, Florida. David is addicted to Tarpon – 120 days of his season are focused on fly fishing for these brutes. The video reminded me that often in life, the enemy of the best is the good. In other words, rather than fly fishing the seasons, maybe one should focus on one fish species? One of the guides narrating the video talks about guides who pursue what’s biting for their clients, versus “fisherman guides” who will go all out for the targeted species even at the risk of a fish-less day. David Magnum “…dedicates his life to it, to one species – tarpon – and for him being hungry, and always wanting more, that makes him a better guide, and I think if you do that for 20 years or however long, when that’s all you think about is that one certain species 24/7, I think you will become better…”
Think about your own fly fishing and watch this video. Is the better fisherman narrow and deep, or wide and shallow? And what do you want your angling legacy to be?
Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:
Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: Flows on the Salmon River are finally being dropped down to safe wadeable levels…
The Douglaston Salmon Run is reporting pretty good fishing, overall. Water temperatures are holding at in the mid to upper 40’s and with flows down wading is better. Anglers in the lower river are hooking up with egg patterns, beads, and nymphs. Some smallmouth bass are starting to show up as well. The fish are mainly dropbacks with a few bright fish in the mix.
Whitakers is also reporting good fishing with the majority of anglers getting into some fish. Drop backs are scattered throughout the river from top to bottom. The mid to upper section of the river is also holding spawning fish in and around the gravel areas. For those anglers who are fly fishing, swinging streamers with sinking leaders or egg patterns and nymphs under a strike indicator have been the most productive. Anglers are also reporting having good luck at some of the smaller local tributaries.
- Wiggle stone in blue, peacock, chart, pink. size 10
- Steelhead stone in purple, red, orange. size 8
- Rusher nymph in blue, purple, chart, red. size 10
- Steelhead hammer in blue, black, red, chart. size 10
- Steak-n-eggs in chart, pink, orange. size 10
- Black flashback nymph in size 8.
- Sucker spawn in cream, white, peach, blue. size 8
- Glo-Bugs in chart, oregon cheese, steelhead orange, egg. size 10
Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that just as the lake is rising again after last week’s deluge and will wind up higher than it was before. It is already as high as it has been over the past two weeks. There is some MASSIVE debris floating around. There are some monster logs floating around up north of Long Point. Expect tricky if not impossible launching at Taughannock. ALL LAKES ARE LIKELY HIGH NOW AND MAY BE VERY MUDDY IN AREAS. Skaneateles Lake is usually the least affected by heavy rainfall. Here’s John’s lake-by-lake report:
- Cayuga Lake: Lake trout jigging is good off of Long Point. Salmon fishing was returning to top-notch form and then the rain came…
- Seneca Lake: Fishing should be fair to good for landlocked salmon and brown trout. Lake trout jigging was very slow over the weekend of the 1st/2nd.
- Keuka Lake: Lake trout and yellow perch fishing should be good here.
- Owasco Lake: Lake trout fishing should be good here. Perch fishing is very good.
- Skaneateles Lake: Yellow perch fishing is in full swing. Bonus bass and lakers are in the mix. Now’s the time for top notch rainbow trout (with some Landlocked salmon) on the fly or on jigs.
Catskill Rivers: The West Branch Angler is reporting that flows are still but dropping at a slow but steady rate. The West Branch is still too high for safe wading. All of the rivers are very clear and the streamer fishing has been pretty good and consistent throughout the system. We saw quite a few bugs yesterday on all rivers but the fish are still a bit slow to look up. If fishing, you will see rising fish but many are rising one or two times and then are done. So, you have to be ready for any opportunity and get the fly over the fish quickly within a minute or so. With this weeks warming temps we are anticipating the dry fly fishing to become more consistent and we should start to see more bugs every day.
Ken Tutalo of Baxter House Fly Fishing Outfitters reports that this weekend saw an interesting mix of weather conditions on the upper Delaware. Saturday was a tough day, it was windy, cold and winter like. Sunday was a beautiful spring day, with sun, warm weather and light winds which made for a great day on the water. This time of year sun and overnight lows are very connected to water temperatures and trout activity. Although, Sunday seemed to provide ideal conditions for great early season dry fly activity, Saturday night’s cold temperatures (below freezing) prevented the river from really coming to life. Over the weekend steady rising fish were found, but the activity was brief. Both days saw decent bug activity that was mostly ignored by the fish. This was because of cold water temps and wind. The cold water makes the fish lethargic, they really don’t have to eat much when the water is under 45°. It is still early season in the Catskills. However, the system is ready to pop. We are seeing more bugs every day. Expect to see solid dry fly activity as soon as weather conditions stay sunny for a few days.
The Delaware River Club is that streamers are still catching fish and hendricksons, blue quills, and black caddis are about. The early hatches can be a bit sporadic in the beginning as they grow so be patient out there looking for risers.
Hendrickson – #12 – 14 – Ephemerella subvaria
Blue Quill – #16 – Paraleptophlebia. adaptiva
Quill Gordon – #14 – Epeorus pluralis
Blue Wing Olives – #18 – Baetis sp.
Little Black Caddis – #18-20 – Chimarra sp.
Tiny Black Stonefly – #18 – Capniidae sp.
Early Brown and Black Stoneflies – #14 – 16 – Taeniopteryx spp.
Local creeks: Local creeks were looking very good before last weeks heavy rains but now are very full and somewhat murky.
Water is still cold but the warm sunny days are bringing the bugs out – small mayflies and even some caddis. Stocking continues. Keep streamers handy but also have a nice selection of nymphs, sets, and dries handy.
Ponds: Ponds are clear of ice and slowly starting to warm. Fishing will remain slow until we have a good string of warmer sunny days and nightly lows climb.
Fly fishing events: Here’s a summary of upcoming events:
- The Al Hazzard chapter of TU is holding its Annual River Clean-up on Saturday, April 29 from 9 am to noon at the Fireman’s Park in Deposit. It’s suggested to bring work gloves and boots. All volunteers can help themselves to coffee and donuts at 9 am and then hot dogs and hamburgers at noon. Bring your fishing gear and enjoy an afternoon of fly fishing after serving the river right!
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of FFI will hold its May meeting on Monday, May 1st at 7 pm. Henry Ramsey will be presenting, “Matching and Fishing the Sulphur Hatch”. Henry will teach on how to fish the sulfur hatch and what flies to use. The various species of mayflies characterized by fly fishers as sulfurs are very prolific in our area and in Pennsylvania. They provide local anglers many opportunities to catch trout on the nymph, emerger, dry fly, and spinner patterns that duplicate those insects. This presentation will go into the various stages of these insects’ lives and the imitations Henry uses to fish them. Henry is our third co-author of the new Keystone Fly Fishing book. He is an extremely innovative and talented fly tier and speaker. He also co-authored Matching Major Eastern Hatches, which catalogs many of his favorite fly patterns. His tying work has been featured in several publications including the Art of Angling Journal; The Game Journal; Fly Fisherman; and the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. He is a contract fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants and is a member of the Daiichi Hook and Regal Vise Pro Staffs. If you want to catch more trout this year on sulfurs, you won’t want to miss this presentation. Prior to his presentation, Henry will be tying one or more of his patterns. Also at the May meeting the chapter will be holding its Musky Fly Raffle, raffling off the Flathead Sucker Musky Streamer shown in the Fly of the Month write-up in last month’s Newsletter. This is the actual fly that Joe Goodspeed tied at our March meeting. If you are a musky fisherman you will certainly want to have this fly in your box. Raffle tickets will go for $5 per ticket and will be sold during our May meeting.
- Although still a few weeks away, the Twin Tiers Five Rivers chapter of FFI is starting to plan their annual trip to the Cohocton River. This trip is usually quite productive, with fresh-stocked browns added just a few weeks prior to our outing. The trip is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2017 and is being coordinated by Matt Towner. If you are going please contact Matt at 607-542-0285 or email@example.com, as enough food needs to be purchased for all who attend. The trip will depart from Corning Wegmans @ 9:00 AM. We usually start fishing in Avoca near the King farm and lunch will be held at the picnic area there. Once we arrive, the group will usually disperse from there up or down river to everyone’s favorite fishing spots. A few places even hold native brook trout that always put up a good fight. There are usually quite a few caddis to be found on the surface in early May, so be sure to include those in the flies that you bring
- 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:
Quiet weather and clear skies look to dominate the local weather until early Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, a low pressure system that’s working northward up the East Coast could push some moisture into our area with northeasterly winds, especially in the morning on Tuesday.
A separate low-pressure system then looks to stroll through the Great Lakes on Thursday, bringing with it a cold front that could bring some more rain showers and even a few thunderstorms across the Twin Tiers.
The same can also be said for Friday, except instead of a cold front drifting through our area, the warm front from a third low-pressure system could waft across our area, perhaps providing enough warmth, moisture, and instability for a few more showers and storms Friday and into Saturday.