The traditional opener of trout fishing is less than a week away. After throwing a late winter curve ball that blanketed the Southern Tier with up to 3 feet of snow, Mother Nature’s reversal could make local creeks, streams, and rivers swollen and moving for Saturday’s opening day. Until the weekend, though temps were on the increase, it was a very gradual trend with below freezing temps at night. Cross your fingers that we don’t get to flooding conditions and retain some of that beautiful early spring snowpack.
Fly shop talk: It’s that time of the season where NY’s DEC gears up for stocking local creeks and streams with hatchery-reared brown trout. Local ponds and lakes typically receive rainbows. Hopefully flows will be reasonable given the current ground saturation, snow pack, and expectation for rain and warmer temperatures. Stocked trout are not everyone’s idea of trout fishing but they can help shake off the winter casting rust and let’s face it, feeling the tug is a nice way to start the season off. If you know someone looking to get started in the sport, early season stockies are the ticket. A simple 3 – 5 weight outfit and a basic selection of flies (stonefly nymphs, wet flies, wooly buggers and small streamers) are all that’s needed. Stocked trout typically take a fly pretty aggressively and if dead-drifting is not working, it can pay to put some movement in the fly. But don’t take stockies for granted. In his wonderful book, Trout Tactics, Joe Humphreys discusses “conditioning” of trout and how some familiar circumstances can turn trout on to feeding. He tells of a case where he was fishing a stocked stream with, as he put it,”plenty of company”. No one, even the great Joe, was having any luck. After a while, one angler threw a handful of pebbles across the stream. Guess what happened? The trout suddenly turned on to feeding. The reason? Stoked trout are conditioned to feeding from above when automatic feeders spread pellets across the holding tanks. The pebbles imitated this and triggered the trout to feed!
Here’s the fly fishing report for the week ahead:
Great Lakes / Finger Lakes tributaries: The Douglaston Salmon Run reports that flows have dropped to very nice levels but the fishing seems to remain a mix.
Flows have dropped from an initial flow of 1150 all the way down to 750. Warming temps have also attracted more anglers to the run. Swinging streamers, fishing stonefly nymphs, and egg patterns have all produced. Whitakers reports that the drop in water level has helped get a few more anglers out on the water. Anglers stopping into the shop who fished the Lower Fly Zone reported landing some steelhead on a mix of nymphs and single egg patterns. Other anglers who fished the upper section of river between Altmar and Pineville reported landing some steelhead while bottom bouncing and float fishing with blue egg sacs. In the lower end of the river anglers who fished the DSR reported landing some steelhead while swinging flies or bottom bouncing and float fishing with egg sacs. There are steelhead also being landed at some of the smaller local tributaries.
- 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.
Lakes: John Gaulke of Finger Lakes Angling Zone reports that things are back to normal in the Central NY Region for this time of year.
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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Kirk Klingensmith 607-346-7189 email@example.com
- 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:
Rain showers will continue rolling through the Southern Tier in waves for the next few days, and some fog or low clouds are also possible with a very moist atmosphere. Rainfall and snow melt may cause low-end moderate flooding at some locations. The chance of moderate flooding has decreased in the past 24 hours. However, there is still the chance of low-end moderate flooding come the first half of the week. There is no indication of any major impacts from flooding after these rain showers, and any flooding similar to the 2011 flood is out of the question. The seasonable temperatures we’ve had over the weekend will continue and even warm into the mid-50s through next week. High pressure then slides into our area come the second half of the week, keeping skies mainly clear and keeping temperatures above average to wrap up the work week.