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Southern tier fly fishing: Good year for trout, fly fishing events & activities

Besides attending fly fishing events and tying flies, gear prep, such as cleaning fly lines, is another great winter activity.
Besides attending fly fishing events and tying flies, gear prep, such as cleaning fly lines, is another great winter activity.

It's been another very wintery week. Snow hit the area and piled on to create quite the snowpack. Some areas in the Catskills got over 18" as a result of Thursday's storm. Additionally, the cold retained its lock on the area, for the most part. Good winters usually lead to good fishing conditions. Think Spring!

Though the weather has been very cold and snowy, trout anglers, in particular, should be happy. It could be a very good year for trout after a generally good year last year with plenty of cold water. Precipitation in inches is already far above normal year to date levels: 5.17" versus a norm of 3.65". Snowfall totals, likewise, are well over double the norm. Season to date totals are 78.9" versus a norm of 55.9".

Fly fishing events will continue to take center stage as fly fishing hangs in the winter doldrums. Following is a recap on events planned for February and March:

  • This Tuesday night, the Al Hazzard TU chapter will host Rick Marsi as part of their monthly chapter meeting. Rick will give a presentation on his fly fishing adventures in Alaska. This is surely an event that will help carry away the winter blues, so don't miss it!
  • Al Hazzard TU Banquet tickets are currently available. This is another "not to be missed" event and is a great way to spend a Saturday evening and get psyched up for Opening Day. Mark your calendar for Saturday evening on mrach 29th and get a ticket.
  • The Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of the FFF in Elmira will be hosting a Bass Fly-Tying demonstration class on Saturday, February 22nd, from 1 - 4 pm at the Big Flats Community Center. Kirk Klingensmith will be teaching how to tie his favorite bass flies. Contact Kirk Klingensmith at for more information.
  • The Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of the FFF's March 3rd monthly meeting will feature a presentation on smallmouth bass fishing by John Shumaker.
  • On March 29th, the Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of FF chapter will be holding its 7th Annual Fly Fishing Academy. This full day event will be held at Elmira Free Academy. More details on this event will be featured in a future post.

In addition to taking part in these events, there are always preparation-related activities any angler can undertake when anglers are 'under the weather', so to speak:

  • Planning the fly fishing year. What goals have you set for 2014? What skills do you want to pick up?
  • Going over your gear, including your waders, vest, boots, nets, wading staff, rods, reels and line.
  • Taking inventory of your flies and tying up or buying replacements.
  • Making sure you have a current fishing license.
  • Setting up your fly fishing journal.

Look for a warming trend in the week ahead. After a cold start to the week, daily high temperatures will slowly climb to the low 40's, while nightly lows come up to about the freezing mark. There is some rain in the forecast as well. The warming trend and rain could result in some significant snowmelt and run-off. Spring is slowly coming into sight - anglers should begin to prep their gear if they have not already begun to do so.

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