Thanksgiving is here. While some anglers choose to retire to a comfortable chair or the fly tying bench, many will begin to gear up for early winter fly fishing. Choices are certainly more limited as temperatures drop, but for the weather-hardened, this can be a great time to catch some fine gamefish, mainly of the coldwater kind like trout, steelhead, and salmon.
The fall fly fishing report is as follows:
- Until the “heat wave” today, the Salmon River was fishing decently. But as expected, Monday’s high temperatures melted the snow on the ground and the run-off raised flows, dirtied the lower river, and threw in a lot of leaves, to boot. This made for tough fishing conditions. Anglers fishing the upper river experienced less turbidity. Steelhead are spread throughout the entire river, but browns are also around along with a very occasional landlocked salmon. And a few salmon are still being caught – some are even somewhat “fresh”. Egg imitations and nymphs are best bets. It pays to change things up by substituting different color and pattern variations.
- The Finger Lake tribs got another shot of water with the weekend’s rain and flows are back up to 300 CFS. This small push of water could bring some fish in and may make for some fishing over the next few days.
- Trout fishing is still a possibility though hatches are pretty much done. Flows on the West Branch have settled out around 800 CFS which is wadeable. 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 rivers are producing walleye, pike and musky. Flows on most rivers, including the Susquehanna are good as is water clarity, however, wading is still marginal depending on where one goes.
- Other possibilities to consider for the Thanksgiving week: Cayuga Lake, Milliken Station on Cayuga Lake, ponds / small lakes that are ice-free…
Remaining November 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 will 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. Speaker and agenda to be announced.
Weather for Thanksgiving week will be wintry, but on the light side and decent for fly fishing. After an unseasonably warm Monday, look for temps to slide downward. There is a good chance for up to 3″ of snow on Wednesday and possibly more on Thanksgiving Day. Lows for the end of the week will sink to the mid-teens. The weekend will warm, however, to the low 40’s. Another reminder to wade carefully. The water in most creeks, streams, and rivers is very cold – in some cases as low as the upper thirties. Always carry a wading staff, wear studded boots with large spikes as conditions get snowy and icy, and pack towels and an extra change of clothes in case of a spill. Also, let others know where you will be, particularly if you are fishing alone.