It's been a long, cold, snowy winter. And although we've passed the first day of spring, it doesn't quite feel like it yet. Temps are still on the cold side, snow is still in the forecast, and there's still snow in the hills. March came in like a lion, so let's hope it goes out like a lamb, ushering in the month of April, the gateway month to spring fly fishing.
April is packed with some great fly fishing events, as follows:
- April 1st - Trout season opener. Though it will occur mid-week this year, this is a day to celebrate for many anglers come good or bad weather. Local creeks are stocked and will continue to be stocked and all Catskill waters will be open as of this date. Finger Lakes tribs are another excellent choice, although fishing pressure can be heavy. Fall Creek, Salmon Creek, Owasco Inlet, and Catherine Creek are the major tribs in our area.
- April 1st - Twin Tiers Five Rivers IFFF meeting - "Fishing Cayuta Creek". Club member John Lively will talk about fishing Cayuta Creek, which roughly translates to "Little Gem", and a little gem it is for those who have tried it. This stream is one of the author's favorites and holds stockies as well as holdovers and natives. Fly tying demo starts at 6 pm and the meeting starts at 7 pm at the Big Flats Community Center, Maple Street, in Big Flats, NY.
- April 4 - 5 - A&G Outfitters 10th Anniversary Weekend. A&G Outfitters of Dickson City, PA, will host events on Friday night and Saturday that are sure to help any angler. More details to follow in another post.
- April 8 - Leon Chandler TU Chapter monthly meeting at TC3 in Dryden at 7 pm, room and speaker to be announced.
- April 11 - 12 - West Branch Angler 'Hell of High Water'. Celebrate the Catskills and Spring at this great fly fishing film and beer festival. This event is largely free and open to the public but some events require registration or have fees. Plenty of fly fishing gear to check out and fly fishing events such as casting instruction, fly tying, etc.
- April 15 - Al Hazzard TU monthly meeting at 7 pm in Vestal Public library. Tony Ingraffea, a Professor of Engineering at Cornell University will share his experiences as a guide in Alaska for 22 years.
- April 19 - A&G Outfitters Nymphing Seminar at noon at the fly shop in Dickson City, PA. More details to follow.
- April 29 - Gander Mountain in Johnson City re-opens.
April is a transition month for trout fishermen. The month features activity/hatches of the following insects:
- Early Black Stonefly
- Brown Stonefly
- Quill Gordon
- Blue Quill
- Streamers - White streamers can be used to imitate alewives that may spill over during high water events.
April is also a month to watch for pre-spawn smallmouth bass in the warmwater rivers and their tribs. During years with a warm spring season and low water, the pre-spawn period can start once river water temps hit the mid 40's. Even if the rivers are not quite ready, don't bypass tribs that feature some depth as large smallmouth bass will move up these tribs if conditions are right. And don't forget the largemouth bass bite. While ice-out is likely extended this year due to the cold, a string of warmer days could change things. Shallow water lake or pond areas in late afternoon can host fairly warm water temps where food is plentiful for bass that are very hungry after a long cold winter.