We saw a nice stretch of Indian Summer last week, and that warmer weather allowed anglers to fish unencumbered by heavy layers, gloves, and hats. It also saw the start of the fall of oak leaves, which was annoying on windy days. What we didn’t see was precipitation and Finger Lakes and Great Lakes trib anglers are waiting for it.
Here’s what you can expect for fall fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill Rivers Trout: Though the traditional trout season is past us, fishing can still be quite good and the crowds are mainly gone. Hatches on the Catskill Rivers could include BWO’s, midges, and caddis. Fishing will largely be a subsurface game so nymphs or big streamers are good choices. The Beaverkill & Willowemoc Rivers are in good shape with plenty of wading available. The Beaverkill is closed upstream from the 206 bridge, and the Willow is closed above the bridge near Parkston. The East Branch of the Delaware River is in good shape and easily managed at current flows. The East Branch is open from the Shinhopple bridge downstream, and it is all catch and release now. The West Branch of the Delaware River is very low currently so if floating is the plan then the Main Stem is the only option right now. The West Branch and the Main Stem can be waded easily. The upper sections of the West Branch are closed, so stick to the border waters.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The Salmon River fishing has been fair and quite variable. The Douglaston Salmon Run reports have been lackluster to say the least with a few decent ones peppered in from time to time. The salmon run is ebbing although there are still salmon – both kings and coho – being caught in the upper river. Steelhead and browns are becoming more of a factor as we move into November but that run has also been spotty. Mid to upper river seems to be better but the fishing is definitely a matter of timing and finding the fish. Nymphs and wooly buggers have also been producing. As of this posting, the flow at Pineville is slowly dropping and at approximately 450 CFS. The recent spate of warmer temps have not helped things so some cold temps and a good shot of water are really needed to being more fish in.
- Finger Lakes Tribs: A few reports are coming in on browns and landlocked salmon being taken but they are certainly not consistent or steady. Fall Creek and Salmon Creek need a god shot of water and the recent warm days isn’t helping matters. Fall Creek is currently flowing at 50 CFS, half the normal rate for this time of year.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are back down, running clear and cool. 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 have dropped significantly with the week’s dry weather. The wild card is whether rain might change all of this. Right now, river temps are up thanks to last week’s warmer weather and water clarity is good. The Susquehanna in Vestal has dropped to below the 2,000 CFS mark and the feeder rivers to the Susquehanna are much lower. This is providing a nice window for bass anglers before temps head south and flows head north. Remember that river temps are at a key transition point where bass begin to move to deeper winter lies, so if the fish are not up in the shallower water, try the deep pools. 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 in particular will continue to slow due to colder water. 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 Leon Chandler Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its Annual Party and Fund Raiser on Tuesday, November 10 at 7 pm at the Buffalo Wild Wings at the Home Depot Plaza in Ithaca, NY. The November meeting is the chapter’s annual end of the year party and fundraiser. Attendees will get to meet other chapter members, hear from the local youth who attended last year’s DEC Summer Camps, share fishing tales and stories, and hope to get lucky in one of the chapter’s many raffles. All proceeds go to support chapter activities – specifically sustaining the Trout in the Classroom Program and sending local children to the DEC and NYS TU camps. There are some great prizes this year including fly rods with matching reels and lines, books, and other fly fishing items. The chapter will provide wings and snacks, a cash bar will be available for the purchase of beverages, and food can be ordered off of the menu. One of the challenges the chapter has faced is locating free space in which to hold monthly meetings. Buffalo Wild Wings has graciously provided the chapter with the opportunity to use one of their private rooms for this event. Not only is the space free for use, Buffalo Wild Wings makes a donation to the Chapter based on the money spent during the event. There is ample parking at this setting.
- 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 a continuation of quasi Indian Summer in the week ahead. High daily temps will hover in the mid 50’s with nightly lows in the upper 30’s to low 40’s. The big news is that there is a half inch or more of steady rain forecast for Tuesday into Tuesday evening. This could give all of the tribs a good shot of water and get fish heading up.