Nights are getting cooler and now it looks like late fall weather is starting to encroach on the milder temps we have enjoyed. over the weekend there were reports of snow squalls and mexico, NY, in the Pulaski area actually received 9″ of the white stuff. Fall colors are past peak in the Southern Tier and the leaves will become a problem for anglers. The Salmon River continues to get somewhat of a salmon run along with some steelhead.
Here’s what you can expect for fall fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill River Trout: The Catskill rivers are in good shape with the exception of the West Branch which is running on the high side at roughly 1200 CFS. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc, and the East Branch are all cool and wadeable. Bugs right now are mostly Olives and Caddis and a few Isos about mainly in the late afternoon. Nymphs are always effective, especially on the small side in the case of Olives. An October Caddis with a small nymph dropper can be effective and terrestrials are also good choices. At this time of year hatches can be hard to predict. Be prepared to use streamers, nymphs and even terrestrials, It may be getting cold but ants and beetles still catch fish. Remember the Beaverkill is closed upstream from the 206 bridge, and the Willow is closed above the bridge near Parkston. The East Branch is open from the Shinhopple bridge downstream, and it is all catch and release now. The upper sections of the West Branch are closed, so stick to the border waters.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The salmon run remains tepid although fish are being caught. There are more reports of steelhead in the river according to the DSR. As of this posting, the flow at Pineville is roughly 450 CFS.
- Finger Lakes Tribs: A lot of people are starting to ask if there are any landlocked salmon running and by most reports, the answer is no. Fall Creek is flowing at a miserly 200 CFS. There needs to be some good rain and continued cold to get things going. Having said that, it’s possible the mouths of the tribs could have a few salmon and trout cruising about.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks remain low, clear, and cold. 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 continue to be low and water clarity is exceptionally clear. The Susquehanna in Vestal is flowing around 1100 with the feeder rivers to the Susquehanna also low and clear. The bass bite is still good but as the water cools, hunt for them in deeper water. The exception is if we get a string of warm sunny days as this might get them up in shallower waters. Sensing the imminent winter, bass will gorge on baitfish so now is the time to go big with fly size. As daytime temps drop, look for a shift in feeding from the early morning / evening, to daytime hours. Also, the walleye bite should improve in a big way now that we have some very cold nights. 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: The panfish and bass feed will continue to slow due to the onset of cooler weather. The fishing can still be good, but more and more it will be a late afternoon / early evening bite when water temps are at their peak. Fishing will be more of a subsurface game with nymphs and streamers, fishing deeper as surface temps cool.
Upcoming fall fly fishing events are as follows:
- The Al Hazzard chapter of Trout Unlimited will be holding its October chapter meeting on Tuesday, October 20th at 7 pm in the Vestal Public Library meeting room. The speaker will be Tony Ingraffia who will do a presentation on his fishing trip to Alaska.
- The BC Flyfishers chapter of IFFF announces its next meeting for Thursday, October 22. The presentation will be by Rick Cramer, owner of Troutfitter Fly Shop in Syracuse, NY, and is titled, “Expand Your Trout Fishing Horizons”. The meeting kicks off at 6:30 pm with Eric Tomosky (guest fly tyer), who will be showing how to make “Slinkys” which are often used instead of split shot in rocky water because they hang up much less frequently than split shot and when rigged with a snap swivel are extremely easy to change when a different weight is needed. After the fly tying demo and chapter announcements, Rick Cramer will talk about fly fishing in the Syracuse area. His shop, Troutfitter, is one of the very few quality fly fishing shops in our area. Rick will talk about his shop and also provide info on fly fishing the streams in the Syracuse area. Rick will specifically talk about 9-mile Creek, Chittenango Creek, Butternut Creek, and Limestone creek. Included in his presentation will be how and where to access these waters, what flies to use, and favorite spots. As usual, the meeting will be held at the George F. Johnson Public Library (Downstairs), 1001 Park Street, Endicott. As a reminder, this will also be the last chance to buy a fly rod raffle ticket as the drawing will be held at the end of the meeting. Raffle Tickets can also be purchased on the chapter website using PayPal.
Weekend weather was a good prelude to colder weather to come. There were some sunny breaks and also some snow squalls. After some below-freezing nights and cool days, look for a steady climb in temps to the upper 60’s by Thursday. Temps will then drop a good 20 degrees on Friday after a front passes through, Get ready to bundle up and take time to read up on wading safety. Also, break out the base layers, and check waders, boots, and wading staff.