Spring came back to town this past week. In fact, it was more like early spring in some cases with evening temperatures around the freezing mark. This really helped the low flowing Catskill rivers from overheating. There were a few days last week where fly shops actually closed guiding because water temps were so warm. Temps appear to be headed north again this weekend, but don’t expect a repeat of last weekend. It also seems like the hills went green overnight. This is a good thing as it throws shade on creeks, streams, and rivers, and helps keep the water cool. It also creates shaded areas that can be great places to focus mid-day fishing. It’s still pretty dry but the upcoming weekend may have a little rain for us.
Here”s what you can expect for fishing this weekend:
- Catskill River Trout: Fishing conditions for the Catskill rivers remain good, but flows are low. Cooler temps over the last few days have helped reduce the stress on the trout but clearly higher flows are needed. The main bugs continue to be caddis, BWO’s, blue quills, quill gordons, hendricksons, and as of late, some march browns. Nymphing is very good but dry fly action is excellent.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks remain on the low side and are crystal clear. Flows are a little better in the more northern creeks near Ithaca / Cortland / Marathon due to isolated torrential rain last week. Caddis and mayflies, including blue quills and hendricksons are about. Nymphing and fishing streamers will always work, but dry fly fishing is another way to go in the afternoon / early evening. Stream stocking is winding down.
- Finger Lake Tribs: For another week, there are reports of rainbows, and some of very nice size, still up in the tribs. It’s a little hard to believe given recent warm to hot weather and low flows. This is a sight fishing game and requires a lot of experience but the fish are still there in many of the tribs. Fishing nymphs, egg patterns, and streamers will all produce. Smallmouth bass will be in the tribs now feeding up for the spawn and in some cases on the spawn. Try not to disturb spawning bass on the beds.
- Salmon River: The Salmon River continues to flow low and clear at 280 CFS at Pineville and at this level is easily wadeable. The best shot at dropbacks is in the lower mid to lower river and DSR, although there are reports that there are still some steelhead as far up river as the hatchery. Many guides are at this point stopping or scaling back their trips but the dropback run may not be over. Stonefly nymphs have been working well as have egg patterns but the latest reports suggest streamers are a better choice as the steelhead feed up on their way back to the lake. Smallmouth bass are all about and some of these bass are high quality fish. The smallmouth are eager to clobber a swung or stripped streamer, particularly in the deeper pools. These bass are in pre-spawn and in some cases are starting to be found on the beds in the slack water areas of the river.
- Warmwater Rivers: After some rain last week, all of the warmwater rivers are dropping back to early summer levels. Continued dry weather will make all rivers easily fishable. At this point best bets include the Tioughnioga, Chenango, Chemung, and upper Susquehanna, with the lower Susquehanna getting down to good wading levels. Water temps are optimal for the smallmouth bass spawn. Focus fishing on the shallower bays, eddies, and river braids right now. Best flies will be large nymphs and streamers. Keep in mind that it’s hard to fish too big a fly for hungry spring bass!
There are still many fly fishing events going on throughout the weekend:
- The 16th Annual Ausable River 2 Fly Challenge is being held May 15 – 16 in Wilmington, NY. This is a classic not-to-miss event.
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of IFFF is holding its Cayuta Creek Cleanup & Fishing Litter pickup on Saturday, May 16th. Clean-up is in the morning, and all are welcome to fish after lunch with Spencer Van-Etten Youth Group. Food is provided. Contact Matt Collins at 607-329-8059 at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Harris at 607-377-4956 at email@example.com, if interested. The group will meet at 9 am on the North Side of Swartwood (Rt 223) Bridge on Cayuta Creek.
- A&G Outfitters is sponsoring the Coal Town Throwdown on May 16 & 17th. One of the Trout Legend fishing circuit’s annual stops is in Scranton. Volunteers are needed to control the angler’s beats. Volunteers are provided with lunch and a gift bag for helping out. You can volunteer for 1 session, 1 day or the whole tournament. Contact the shop for more information.
- As always, The Beaverkill Angler will is offering FREE Orvis Fly Fishing 101 Classes for 2015. The shop reports that this event has been so popular that they will now be offering classes EVERY SATURDAY and SUNDAY from now through October 11th! Classes will be held at 2:00 pm every Saturday and Sunday from mid April until early October. These classes are FREE to attend but size will be limited each day to maximize the experience for everybody participating, so be sure to call the shop to reserve your spot.
We should have a decent weekend for fly fishing. Daily highs will be in the low 80’s with nightly lows in the 50’s. There’s a 50% chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday will be partly cloudy. If fishing for trout, check the water temperatures before you wet a line. Keep in mind that some flowing waters are still recovering for the high heat of the week before last and last weekend.