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Southern tier fly fishing: March events, trout opener

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The weather may still seem a little cold and unpredictable, but spring is officially here. Area creeks and rivers are flowing nicely with that lovely blue-green snow-melt color. The upper Owego Creek, in particular, is in great shape. Good snow levels and the cold will make this a banner year for trout and the gradual warming we are experiencing has been perfect for a gradual release of cold water out of the watersheds.

As March comes to a close and most anglers wind up for fishing, don't forget about these local events:

The Al Hazzard TU Banquet is a week away. This harbinger of spring is always a great night out for a little angling fellowship, fun, and good food. Plus, if one buys raffle tickets, you could go home with a new fly rod, reel, box of flies, or even some springtime cheer. Anglers who have picked up fly boxes for "stuffing" and donating for the Al Hazzard TU Banquet are reminded to turn them in. Additionally, the banquet committee is still accepting donations of all kinds, including wine and liquor. There are still tickets available - contact Gene Drobny at 607-754-5439607-754-5439 if interested or stop by the Timber Creek Sportsman Shop. A reminder that the shop is now operating out of a new location at the corner of Lee Ave., and Watson Blvd. There is no sign up yet, according to owner Chuck Sherwood, but the shop can be found in the back of the Aldi-La hair salon.

Elmira's Twin Tiers Fiver Rivers Chapter of the FFF is holding its Fly Fishing Academy on Saturday, March 29th. The event runs from 8 am to 5 pm, perfect timing for someone who would like to learn more about fly fishing and then celebrate in the evening at the Al Hazzard TU Banquet!

The trout opener is right around the corner and the weather looks like it may be great for early spring fly fishing. Water temps are still in the mid to upper 30's in most cases, so expect the trout to be a little slow on the take. At this time of year it often pays to be lazy and sleep in and hit the stream later in the day when the water has warmed a bit. There are some reports of little black stoneflies being out and fishing the nymph of this fly can be a good choice this time of year. A small black wooly bugger makes a great imitation. But small pheasant tails and midge nymphs, along with attractor patterns like green weenies, San Juan worms, and small eggs can also work well. One angler has reported early success using a pink or orange scud pattern as a point fly. Sometimes "different" is a key to success in fly fishing!

The week ahead will start out cold and then gradually warm up. Look for highs barely cracking the freezing mark and lows in the teens through Wednesday. We also might see a little of the white stuff on Tuesday and Wednesday. After Wednesday, expect to see a warming trend. While lows will remain in the 30's, highs will climb towards 50, just in time for the opener. If you haven't done so already, now's the time to break out your gear and check it over. It's also a good time to go through your cold weather clothing to make sure you have wicking and insulating layers available, the right socks, gloves, and hats. Lastly, check your wading boot laces!

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