Summer-like conditions seem to be hanging in there but cooler days and nights are easing in and that will improve fishing. Still missing is rain and the area needs it badly. Fall is here and the daylight will slowly shorten. The hills are really starting to take on the golden and scarlet hues that make fall a wonderful time to fly fish.
Here’s what you can expect for fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill River Trout: The Catskill rivers are fading with the dry weather, with the exception of the West Branch of the Delaware which seems to be “water, water, everywhere”. The freestones – the Beaverkill and Willowemoc – are low and clear but the cool weather has kept them fishable. The same applies to the East Branch of the Delaware. The West Branch of the Delaware and the Main Stem are also fishing well, however, releases on the West Branch were kicked up to 1400 CFS, making wading pretty dangerous in most areas, but floating is still great. The higher water has a little color to it and this is making for some good streamer fishing. Hatches are shifting to the autumn cycle. Sulphurs are fading while BWO’s are becoming more dominant. Flying ants and other terrestrials can be great at this time of year. Light cahills and Iso’s are also about as are caddis.
- Great Lakes Tribs: There’s really no change to the report up north. Salmon continue to be caught along with a few steelhead and even some Atlantic Salmon but the fish are spread out and it is really a matter of finding willing fish. It seems like keeping on the move is helping some anglers with their luck. As of this posting, the flow at Pineville is roughly 400 CFS. A good soaking rain and a resultant push of water would get things going on the tribs. Until that happens, fly fishing the tribs is a hit or miss proposition.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are very very low and clear. For now, it’s best to give the trout a break in most creeks, however, more verdant spring-fed creeks can still be fished but with lots of stealth and long, fine leaders. Nymphs, dry flies, and terrestrials will be the key fly types to use.
- Warmwater Rivers: Local river flows continue to drop with the dry weather and are significantly below annual averages for this time of year. The Susquehanna in Vestal is flowing at 600 CFS, for example, versus the 34 year historical median daily flow of 1,000 CFS. The bass bite is improving however, thanks to cooler water. The key to success right now is finding deeper lies or riffles where the bass feel protected. A recent trip on the Tioughnioga showed the smallmouth to be very skittish in the clear and slow-moving pools but they would bite aggressively where the water was deeper and/or broken up by heavy riffles. Fallfish, by the way, can really save the day and there are some big ones feeding up alongside the bass. Carp, catfish, and walleyes along with muskies and northerns can also be taken. As daytime temps drop, look for a shift in feeding from the early morning / evening, to daytime hours. Best flies to use right now are nymphs and streamers but if fishing lower clear water, go small. October caddis are hatching along with Isonychia.
- Ponds and Lakes: This is a great time to target panfish and bass, particularly in the late afternoon / early evening when water temps are at their peak. Poppers, nymphs, and streamers will all work. If the smaller sunfish are jumping on the hook, go with a bigger sized fly / hook. This will prevent small mouths from stealing the show from bigger fish.
Upcoming fly fishing events are as follows:
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF will be hosting a fly fishing trip to the Salmon River this Saturday, October 3rd. Tim Barrett, NYS guide, who recently presented to the chapter on fly fishing the Salmon River, will be leading this trip. Attendees will be meeting at All Seasons Sports Tackle Shop in Pulaski at 5:30 am. Contact Nick DiNunzio, BCFF President, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Fall will see a resurgence in fly fishing events and one to keep on the calendar is the 4th Annual TROTOBERFEST event. This two day event will be held over Columbus Day Weekend (October 10th – 11th) and will feature a number of fly tyers, presentations, classes, and FREE FOOD! There should be something for everyone, from the experienced fly fisher to the complete novice. TROUTOBERFEST has been getting bigger and better every year. Contact the Beaverkill Angler at 607-498-5194 for more information.
Dry conditions will prevail into the week ahead. There is a 50/50 chance of some thunderstorms on Tuesday ahead of a cold front that moves through the area after which temps will cool off to highs in the low 60’s. Look for nights to chill significantly with lows in the upper 30’s to low 40’s. The area will have a 50% chance of showers and generally cloudy skies through the weekend. Take time now to start going through fall fly fishing gear, breaking out the base layers, and checking waders, boots, and wading staff.