Although there were some isolated cold days last week, the generally warm and dry weather continues. There was some rain but it was really not close to what was forecast, leaving some creeks up and swollen only a bit, and now dropping quickly. Leaves are pretty much done now. Finger Lakes and Great Lakes trib anglers continue to wait for the “real fall”.
Here’s what you can expect for fall fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Fishing can still be quite good and the crowds are mainly gone on the Catskill rivers. Hatches could include BWO’s, midges, and caddis, with an occasional Iso still in the mix. Fishing will largely be a subsurface game so nymphs or big streamers are good choices. Water levels will remain high for a few days thanks to last week’s rains, but keep an eye on them since we should have nice conditions once they drop. The Beaverkill & Willowemoc Rivers are high and largely unwadeable, but dropping. Remember that the Beaverkill is closed upstream from the 206 bridge, and the Willowemoc is closed above the bridge near Parkston. The East Branch of the Delaware River may be off color in places, but wading is possible in spots. The East Branch is open from the Shinhopple bridge downstream, and it is all catch and release now. The West Branch of the Delaware & Delaware River is high but coming down. Floating is basically the main option for these rivers, but as the flows drop wading will be more of an option. Fish are mostly chasing big streamers right now. The upper sections of the WB are closed, so stick to the border waters.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River continues to fish fair, but variable. The Douglaston Salmon Run reports have been better recently with some fresh steelhead coming into the river with recent rains. Whitaker’s Sports Store and Hotel reports the upper river has been producing but mid-river seems to be the sweet spot for anglers who are willing to work for fish under reduced pressure. The salmon run continues to ebb although there are still salmon – both kings and coho – being caught in the upper river, but in dwindling numbers. Steelhead and browns are becoming more of a factor as we move into November. While egg patterns are proving most effective, nymphs and wooly buggers have also been producing. As of this posting, the flow at Pineville is up but settling at 550 CFS. Clarity is reported to be decent.
- Finger Lakes Tribs: Reports continue to come in on browns and landlocked salmon being taken but they are certainly not consistent or steady. Fall Creek and Salmon Creek need a good shot of water and the recent warm days aren’t helping matters. Fall Creek is currently flowing at 80 CFS after rising to 120 CFS a few days ago.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are back down from recent rains and are running with decent clarity and cool temps. Nymphs and streamers will be best right now but keep in mind that the general trout season is closed. Some local creeks, like Owego Creek and Cayuta Creek, remain open but under artificial lures / catch and release only exceptions. Other creeks, like Nanticoke Creek, are closed. Check the DEC fishing regulations before heading out.
- Warmwater Rivers: Local river flows are up due to last week’s rains but they are also dropping though in general, most rivers are up too high for good fishing unless fishing from a boat. River temps are at the 50 degree breakpoint meaning the bass will be deep in their winter lies for the most part. The walleye bite should continue to improve. Fish for walleye using sink-tip lines in the deeper pools. Best flies are dark colored leech patterns. Keep in mind that along with bass and walleye, fallfish, northern pike, and even musky may be in the mix.
- Ponds and Lakes: Pond fishing will continue to slow but look to late afternoon fishing on warmer, sunny days for best results. Fishing will be more of a subsurface game with nymphs and streamers, fishing deeper as surface temps cool. If the water is turbid due to fall turnover, fish darker, bigger, flies. The Finger Lakes fishing is very good for those with a boat. In particular, pike fishing will be getting better as we move towards colder weather and landlock salmon, lake trout and browns will be moving inshore staging to head up the tribs.
There are a number of fall fly fishing events in the weeks ahead:
- The Al Hazzard TU chapter will be holding its November chapter meeting on Tuesday, November 17 at the Vestal Public Library. Erin Phelan of the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum will be the guest speaker.
- The BC Flyfisher’s Chapter of IFFF will be holding its November chapter meeting on Thursday, November 19 at the Endicott Public Library. The meeting starts with a fly tying session at 6:30 pm, followed by the main program at 7:00 pm. Joe Cambridge, a past speaker, will be presenting on Fall Fly Fishing the Finger Lakes Tributaries at the meeting. Joe is a well known and highly regarded Lansing fly tyer, fly fisherman, author and streamside raconteur and he will speak about fall trout and landlocked salmon fishing on the Finger Lakes Tributaries. He is a member of IFFF and has authored articles in Fly Fisherman and Fly Tyer and has developed some deadly fly patterns. Joe will share his tips on where and how to fish for lake-run fish in the Ithaca area tributaries. Joe has developed several fly patterns unique to the fishery and will acquaint us with a few of his favorites during the fly tying session.
- The International Fly Tying Symposium will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 21 & 22 at the Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, NJ. This is one of the best fly tear and this year is special as it is the 25th anniversary show. Presenters include: Marc Petitjean, Charlie Craven, Hans Van Klinken, Bob Popovics, John Shaner, Blane Chocklett, Bob Clouser, Eric Stroup, and Fishy Fullum, among over 100 fly tyers from around the world. For more info go to the website.
Look for another continuation of quasi Indian Summer in the week ahead. High daily temps will climb to the high 50’s with nightly lows in the lower 30’s to upper 40’s. A front will come through the area on Thursday and with it, a half inch or more of steady rain. This could give all of the tribs a good shot of water and get fish heading up. Temps will cool too with highs in the mid 40’s and lows below freezing. There’s still time to get ready for “real fall”, so take the time now to get the cold weather clothing ready to fish.