For anglers driving from the Southern Tier to the north country, Syracuse is often viewed as just a way-point to pass through, or maybe a breakfast or lunch break spot. But Rick Cramer, co-owner of Troutfitter Fly Shop in Syracuse, sees the big city a little differently. His presentation opened some eyes to quite a few really good fly fishing opportunities in the land of the Orange.
This second chapter meeting of the fall season opened as usual with a fly tying demo, except this time it was a little different type of “tying”. Board member Eric Tomosky manned the tying table and demonstrated how to “tie” slinkies. Slinkies are essentially sleeved weights that are clipped on to a snap swivel and are used when fishing for steelhead, lake-run browns, and salmon. Their advantage over splitshot is ease of changeability, allowing a fly fisher to quickly adjust weight according to river conditions. They can also be made of cheap materials, as demonstrated by Tomosky, who used nylon rope for a sheath, and solder wire for weight.
After some chapter announcements, Rick Cramer was introduced to the chapter. Rick has been fishing since the age of 8 and cut his fly fishing teeth on Syracuse area creeks and streams. His fly shop is testament to his love of fly fishing and was covered in the last Southern Tier Fly Shops update.
Rick took the podium after introductions and started his powerpoint presentation, “Syracuse Area Streams”. It was obvious from the start that Rick knew his area waters very well. He provided detailed map hand-outs to the audience, all marked with specific areas of interest to the fly angler. His talk covered the 4 primary trout creeks in the Syracuse area and he provided good fly fishing “intel” on each one, highlighted with some personal stories that were very entertaining. He described all 4 as very good fisheries with a mix of stocked and wild browns and brookies. A 16″ brown, though not rare, is a good fish from these freestone creeks, according to Cramer, with a few bigger ones to be found.
- Butternut Creek – considered the most diverse of the 4 creeks. This is primarily nymph water, though attractors will work too. Key on butternut is to find the smaller tributaries and fish these junctions. Butternut is a tailwater from the Jamesville reservoir. This creek gets pounded after April fish stocking but after that the crowds leave.
- Chittenango Creek – considered to be a mecca of pocket water and features great access. Like Butternut, it is great nymphing water but has a steeper gradient. There is a no-kill section but this gets lots of pressure.
- Limestone Creek – considered the best for dry fly fishing with a long run of prime water. Limestone is also a tailwater out of DeReuyter reservoir. Holds some big trout.
- 9 Mile Creek – considered most well known of the “Syracuse Four” and because of that, gets lots of angling pressure. Best fishing is between Marcellus and Camillus. This creek has very cold water.
Southern Tier anglers should expand their fishing horizons and include wetting a line on the streams around Syracuse. For expert guidance on what to use and where to fish, anglers should contact Rick at his fly shop or better yet, pay him a visit on the way. Troutfitter is one of the very few quality fly fishing shops left in our area. And Rick might even hint at some of his most favorite spots, as well as offer suggestions on the best access points. Why be stuck fishing the same local venues. It’s time to add new scenery and locations to your fishing repertoire.