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A look ahead to Father's Day fly fishing

The West Branch of the Delaware, pictured here, is in great shape for fathers looking to fly fish this weekend!
The West Branch of the Delaware, pictured here, is in great shape for fathers looking to fly fish this weekend!
Bob Bruns

Father's Day is a the day for 'father' fly anglers. After all, when else can dad fish an entire day or for the lucky, an entire weekend, without a 'free pass' and not a care in the world. And one could suppose, it's a great day for fly anglers married to or at least closely associated to father fly anglers as well. The father's day tradition evokes images of an easy day, a hammock, perhaps an outdoor BBQ, and sleeping in, but fly fishing dads are generally a different breed. If anything, they will be more active than tradition suggests.

Fathers who are looking to make a go of fly fishing the weekend have a wide range of choices in the Southern Tier. Following is a list of options:

  • The Catskill Rivers - All of the Catskill rivers are in beautiful shape and are floatable and wadeable. Fishing has been reported as very good lately. Expect hatches of caddis, suplhurs, and possibly isonychia. Nymphing these same patterns will also work well. Keep on top of the USGS water gauge before heading out, as late week precipitation could impact flows.
  • Douglaston Salmon Run - The DSR is flowing at very nice wading levels and the fishing report is generally good. Jack salmon, smallmouth bass, and the recently stocked browns are all being taken by anglers on streamers along with nymphs and dry flies. Hatches include caddis, sulphurs, and hexegenia.
  • Southern Tier Warmwater Rivers - The Tioughnioga, Chenango, and Susquehanna rivers are all behaving decently, given the recent rain. They are all up a little but slowly receding. Thursday and Friday's forecast could potentially change all of this. If we receive heavy rain, check the USGS water gauge before heading out. Of all of the rivers, the Tioughnioga is most likely the best positioned for fishing this weekend.
  • Creeks - Local creeks are all in great shape with flows recently bumped as a result of rain. Stockings are over for the year, but this is the time to fish deep for the bigger holdovers.
  • Ponds / Lakes - Stillwaters are in great condition right now. Sunfish are starting to come off the spawn and largemouth bass are late to the spawn. Popper fishing should begin to get really good, particularly towards evening.

Seasons dictate species of fish. Currently, the following species are ideal to fish:

  • Trout - Rainbow and Brown trout are on the feed in most coldwater creeks, streams and rivers. Fly anglers would best focus on nymph, wet fly, soft hackle, and dry fly patterns imitating caddis, sulphurs, hexegenia, and isonychia. Classic general patterns (like the pheasant tail and hare's ear) and attractor patterns will also work well. If rains kick water levels up, remember that streamer fishing as well as fishing big nymphs and worm patterns can work well.
  • Largemouth Bass - The spawn appears to be late this year, giving anglers a shot at pre-spawn largemouth. Poppers are a best bet, but streamers imitating 'home invaders' can work well also.
  • Panfish - Sunfish are on the spawning beds and/or finishing spawn depending on the body of water. Regardless, these fish are always looking for a tussle with fly anglers. Fishing for sunfish can make for some relaxing father's day fishing. Poppers and terrestrials will work well, as will small nymphs and streamers.
  • Smallmouth Bass - Smallies are slowly coming off the spawn. The post spawn period is a mixed bag as many bass are recuperating from spawning, but there's always a chance that some rivers are well beyond post-spawn.

Events for Father's Day include the following:

  • Douglaston Salmon Run - June 14th & 15th (Saturday and Sunday) Douglaston Salmon Run at Salmon River – Free fishing day for TU members. This offer is for one day only on the weekend of June 14th and 15th, 2014. Anyone taking the DSR up on the offer need only present a current active TU membership card and driver's license as proof to enter and take advantage of some great fishing. The DSR was recently stocked with browns up to 22" so dry fly fishing is a definite possibility.

Father's Day weekend weather looks good. The weather gods are apparently giving dads a break after a very rainy week. Look for partly cloudy conditions on Saturday and perfectly sunny conditions on the big day. Temps will range from the low to mid 70's on Saturday to the low 80's on Sunday. The chance of rain over the weekend is very low to nil on Sunday. But as mentioned previously in this article, keep an eye on the USGS water gauge.

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