Archive for Joe Humphreys

The week ahead in fly fishing: March 27, 2107

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on March 26, 2017 by stflyfisher

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!


Early season stockie…

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.

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.


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 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:

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.



In like a lion…

Posted in Gear, Trout Fishing, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on March 2, 2015 by stflyfisher

So it is said, however the month of March comes in, it will go out exactly the opposite. In like a lion, as in bad weather, means one should expect a gentle, lamb-like, exit to the month. And the start of March seemed very much lion-like on the eve of my 56th birthday this year. I planned to trek south to Lancaster, PA to attend The Fly Fishing Show as well as visit Cabelas and the TCO fly shop in nearby Reading.

I was on a mission to look at some switch rods. Several of the rods and brands I was interested in were either at the show or at one of the retailers nearby. And the one I had the most interest in, a JP Ross Trib switch rod, might be on hand at the Tailwater Lodge booth at the show. Tom Fernandez kindly said he’d try to have some available though he himself wouldn’t be at the show.

So I woke up early Sunday morning and with coffee at my side, looked bleary-eyed at I had every intention of leaving at 6 am so I could get a full day of browsing and shopping in, but the weather forecast was pretty shady for starting off in the dark. It was snowing heavily already, and the forecast was for more of the same for the next few hours. I figured I’d wait for light and then hit the road.

I left around 8 am and drove down Grippen Hill without too much of a problem even though the roads were not plowed. I passed a guy coming up the steepest section – his Corolla was at a slipping crawl. That was the first moment of many where I began to question my judgement.

Being an early Sunday, the likelihood of plowing activity was not good but I thought, optimistically, the highways should be clear. I was soon on Route 17 West and found the highway in pretty poor shape. The slow lane was clear with tracks – the fast lane was completely snow-covered. But I continued on despite it all…

I made Lancaster by noon. A fine and historic town I must say. Everywhere it seemed there was brick, colonial architecture, narrow roads, plaques speaking to history…

Lots of old brick in Lancaster - charming, but slippery after freezing rain and sleet...

There’s lots of old brick in Lancaster and it’s charming. Just beware the brick and stone sidewalks after freezing rain and sleet…

After parking, I walked to the convention center through pelting sleet and snow. I walked carefully, then decided to take a covered walk that was two steps down from the sidewalk. Wrong move – feet up in the air – followed by back, elbow, and stone stairs all colliding at once. Oh, I got up fast enough, like a pro boxer unexpectedly knocked down by an underdog. I brushed myself off and headed into the convention center entrance wondering if anyone saw me.

The convention was nice. I’ve been told the Somerset version of The Fly Fishing Show is better, but this was a first visit for me so I was impressed with what I saw. I walked around to get the lay of the land. I saw Bob Clouser, Joe Humphreys, Lefty Kreh, and George Daniel. I stopped at some of the fly tying booths, gawked at all of the fly rods and reels. I breathed it all in and thought of spring fly fishing.

The casting seminars were great. I was particularly intrigued with the casting demonstration of Joe Humphreys. He MC’d every cast, threw in puns and jokes, and made it a lot of fun to watch. It was all about simplicity and just watching him made it all seem so easy.

Joe Humphreys and a beautiful brown trout.

Joe Humphreys and a beautiful brown trout. Picture courtesy of the Lackawanna Chapter of TU

Fly tyer Safet Nikocevic was on hand. He ties some beautiful Caddis nymphs that I had read about in a fly fishing magazine. So was Mike Hogue of Badge Creek Fly Tying – a great local fly tyer, fly fisherman, and retailer.

Safet Nikocevic at the vise...

Safet Nikocevic at the vise…

As I walked around I finally spied the Tailwater Lodge booth. Two nice ladies were at the booth, but I saw no fly rods. I was expecting a rod rack and possibly some other gear but the exhibit was only about the lodge.

Tailwater Lodge offers some great accommodations on the banks of the Salmon River. The reps at the booth were as accommodating as this picture suggests...

Tailwater Lodge offers some great accommodations on the banks of the Salmon River. The reps at the booth were as friendly and welcoming as this picture suggests…

After a few laps of the exhibits, I thought I’d better at least ask about whether the rods had made it down to Lancaster. I approached the booth and before even opening my mouth to inquire, I was immediately greeted with, “Oh we have two rods for you…”. I assembled both rods, gave them a wiggle, and admired their beautiful fit and finish.

The JP Ross Trib Switch Fly Rod...

The JP Ross Trib Switch Fly Rod… (picture courtesy of JP Ross Fly Rods)

It’s not a first for me, being a JP Ross fly rod owner. I purchased a Beaver Meadow 7 foot 4 weight 2 piece years ago and was utterly impressed. I soon put the rod to good use on the creeks and small streams of the Southern Tier.

A nice little Cayuta Creek brown thanks to JP Ross and a Picket Pin wet fly...

A nice little Cayuta Creek brown thanks to JP Ross and a Picket Pin wet fly…

I also purchased a workhorse of an 8 weight that has done double duty for smallmouth bass and steelhead.

A nice smallie that inhaled a double bunny streamer. Delivery courtesy of a 9 foot 8 weight JP Ross fly rod...

A nice smallie that inhaled a double bunny streamer. Delivery courtesy of a 9 foot 8 weight JP Ross fly rod…

This switch rod is designed primarily for trib fishing for browns, rainbows, steelhead and salmon. I plan on putting it to work on the Salmon River this spring for hungry dropback steelhead.

Two JP Ross Trib Switch rods, ready for duty...

Two JP Ross Trib Switch rods, ready for duty… (picture courtesy of JP Ross Fly Rods)

Beauty and the beast. I've found these rods to be both beautiful to own and sturdy fishing tools...

Beauty and the beast. I’ve found these rods to be both beautiful to own and very sturdy fishing tools… (picture courtesy of JP Ross Fly Rods)

After going over the rods thoroughly, I knew I couldn’t walk away. They felt too good in my hand. The Salmon River called to me and I decided to bring the 8 weight home.

I spent a little more time at the show but decided I best leave by 3 pm. I was advised by Mike Hogue that the bad weather was not letting up. So with rod tube, fly tying supplies and other miscellaneous tackle in hand, I set out for a long drive home. A 3 hour drive gradually lengthened to 6 hours – 6 steering wheel death-gripping hours, with my side still hurting like hell. Cars littered the side of the highway – snow plows came out in force. Darkness overtook the light. I drove on, just wanting to get home.

I finally got to the base of Grippen Hill, and after looking up a steep climb, the road deep with virgin snow, decided that March had indeed roared in like the King of the Beasts. After a long bitterly cold winter, it seemed like spring was ages away, not a mere 21 days. At least tradition promised a lamb on the other side.