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Southern tier fly fishing: Fly fishing reports, KFD 2014, events

Stocked brown trout, like this one, can be fun fare on a light small stream fly rod. Local creeks and streams will continue to be stocked throughout May.
Stocked brown trout, like this one, can be fun fare on a light small stream fly rod. Local creeks and streams will continue to be stocked throughout May.
Bob Bruns

Spring is in the air and on the water! Air and water temps are increasing, spurring more bug activity on local waters. The grey hillsides have hints of red and green as trees bud up. Willows are taking on gold as they start to leaf up. And all sorts of birds are making appearances, including robins, cardinals, blue heron, and eagles. Winter now appears to be a thing of the past for sure.

Fly fishing reports are getting really good lately. Here's a summary of what's available to report:

  • Warmwater: Ponds and lakes are producing largemouth bass and panfish as they feed up prior to the spawn after a long hard winter. Look to fish later in the day when water temps are warmest. A wooly bugger fished slow and deep is a great way to go for wither of these species. There have been reports of fish kills in shallower ponds, so be mindful of that. Smallmouth bass are in pre-spawn mode and this is a great time to catch these fish. Unfortunately, warmwater rivers are all very high and turbid right now but the feeder creeks, streams, and even river braids can be great places to try. If the water is turbid where fishing go with bigger profile streamers in dark or very hot colors.
  • Coldwater: Local creeks and streams are still receiving trout stockings. Conditions are very good in most small waters with temps in the mid 40's to low 50's. While streamers fishing is always a good way to go, nymphs and dries will be more the ticket as bug activity increases. The Catskill rivers are coming into their own. Hendrickson hatches are being reported as are blue quill, quill gordons, and black caddis. Cold night-time temps will continue to push the best hatching activity to late in the day. In general, the late spring we've experienced has pushed hatches back, counter to what we've seen in the past few years. The Douglaston Salmon Run is reporting mixed results, partly due to the relatively high flows that have been experienced lately (1800 CFS). Fortunately, releases have dropped and flows are now in safer wading territory at 1200 CFS. This should give anglers a good shot at dropback steelhead. BC Flyfisher member, John Trainor, gave an excellent presentation on fishing for dropbacks in the first BC Flyfishers chapter meeting. Go here to see what he presented.

May is also a great time for fly fishing events. Here's the latest on what is going on over the next week or so:

  • May 5: Twin Tiers Five Rivers IFFF Meeting. Speaker will be Aaron Jasper, presenting "Successful Fly Fishing". A fly tying demo starts at 6 pm - the presentation starts at 7 pm. Location for the event is the Big Flats Community Center on Maple Street in Big Flats, NY.
  • May 10: A&G Outfitters Dry Fly Seminar. Details to be announced. Event starts at noon at the shop.
  • May 10: Kid's Fishing Day. This event has a long-standing tradition - 15 years worth - and is the work of none other than Kurtis 'Mayfly' Nelson. The event is all about kids, 16 and under, and has a very nominal $2 per person charge. For that $2, kids will get fly fishing instruction, fly casting instruction, and fly tying instruction, as well as a free lunch and all sort of raffle prizes. Beautiful Chenango Valley State Park is the place - and the lake is stocked with hungry trout. Call 648-5251 to register.
  • May 16 - 18: A&G Outfitters Shad Trip. This event will be held on the Delaware River by reservation only. For $350, stay at the Roebling Inn in Lackawaxen and fish the river for 'baby tarpon'. Meals included. Contact the shop to reserve a spot.
  • May 16 - 17: The 15th Annual Ausable River 2 Fly Challenge. Mike Norton, a local fly fisherman, won the event last year, along with another local fly fisher, Tim Barrett, who took second in the competitive division. More on this event will be posted in a future article.

The weather looks great for improving fly fishing conditions. Look for daily highs in the low 60's early in the week with temps climbing close to 70 toward the week end. While lows will be down near the freezing mark early in the week, low temps will climb with daily highs. There is some rain in the forecast later in the week, but water levels shouldn't be impacted too much at this point.

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