Winter stopped by to say hello last week and seems to be here to stay. Our area received as much as 12″ of snow before Thanksgiving and temps have generally remained wintry since then. Fishing remains a largely coldwater species game, with steelhead and lake-run browns in our local tributaries providing the best action. From here on in expect more of the same as winter take a hold of the area and parks for a few months.
The early winter fly fishing report is as follows:
- The Douglaston Salmon Run reports good fishing, particularly after the decent shot of water we had thanks to snow-melt. Flows at Pineville are up around 900 CFS. Fresh steelhead have entered the lower river but these fish are spread throughout the entire river. With the colder weather has come cold water – 38 degrees – and so expect the fish to be slower to react. Egg imitations and nymphs are best bets with pink and blue the hot colors as of late. If fishing the Salmon River, wade carefully, bring extra clothing, layer up, wear studs, and always carry a good wading staff.
- The Finger Lake tribs are getting a little water thanks to snow-melt but flows have been generally tepid. There’s no doubt there are fish in both Fall Creek and Salmon Creek, but don’t expect numbers indicative of a typical run.
- Trout fishing is still a possibility. Flows on the West Branch have settled out around 300 – 400 CFS which is very wadeable and has helped pull the water temps up to the low 40’s from a very cold 34 degrees! The smaller local creeks like Owego Creek and sections of Cayuta Creek are up and murky but should drop and clear as the week goes on.
- Warmwater river activity will slow with decreasing water temps, but the fish are there. At this time of year, walleye, pike and musky fishing will be best but smallmouth bass can also be caught in the deep holes of the river. At this time of year large visible streamers are best bets fished very slowly and deep on a sink tip or full sinking line with a short stout leader and bite guard. Flows on most rivers, including the Susquehanna, are now a little on the high side and all of the rivers are now best fished by boat.
December fly fishing events are as follows:
- The LACKAWANNA RIVER FLY TYERS CLUB meets every Thursday night at 7pm, October through March, at A&G Outiftters. Anyone is welcome to attend. They just ask everyone to contribute suggestions and ideas on patterns to tie. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bobbin)! And A&G notes beer is acceptable too!
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of IFFF will hold its monthly meeting on December 1st at 6:30 pm at the Big Flats Community Center in Big Flats. They will be hosting Ithaca Trout Unlimited officers Mike Lenetsky and Joshua Filter. Mike and Josh are both entertaining speakers and very experienced, accomplished fly fishermen. They will be presenting on Streamer Fishing, covering techniques, presentation and effective streamer patterns. The runs could be starting very soon on the Finger Lakes tributaries and it’ll be great to gain their insights on streamer fishing these streams. At 6:30 pm Mike and Josh will be tying streamers and at 7:00 pm will transition into their lecture. This is another great program, so mark it on your calendar.
- BC Flyfishers will hold their monthly chapter meeting on Thursday, December 18th. As usual, there will be a fly tying demo at 6:30 pm, followed by chapter announcements and a guest speaker, to be announced, at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the George F. Johnson Public Library (Downstairs), 1001 Park Street, Endicott.
- Al Hazzard TU will be holding their monthly chapter meeting on Tuesday, December 16th at 7 pm. The speaker for this meeting will be Joe Fox of Dette Trout Flies.
The week ahead will be a string of “warm winter” days and should make for decent fly fishing. Expect daytime highs to bounce around from the mid-30’s to low 40’s and nightly lows to range from the high 20’s to the mid 30’s. There is a good chance for some precipitation on the weekend. Now is the time to wash waders and then thoroughly inspect them for tears, abrasion, leaks, and pinholes. If repairs are needed, this is the time to do them – or send them out for repair. It’s also a good time to inspect wading staff, boots, wading belt, and personal flotation device equipment.