The past week has been almost fall-like, hinting at the season just ahead. Days were cool and evenings almost chilly. The river valleys were filled with fog in the morning. The end of summer is certainly here with the exception of warmwater river levels which are uncharacteristically high for this time of year.
Label this the summer of no smallies, at least for local river anglers. As has been reported here all season long, this summer has been marked by cycles of heavy rain that have increased flows and turbidity on a regular and frustrating basis. Anglers have had to regularly monitor the USGS river gages in order to know what and where to fish, and even after doing that, it's been a very hit or miss thing. Currently, rivers are receding and clearing after last week's deluge. A check yesterday of the lower Tioughnioga showed the river still murky but definitely getting near where it should be for good fishing. The bigger rivers like the Chenango and Susquehanna will be another week most likely.
Despite the poor warmwater conditions, trout fishing in the Catskills and other area streams and rivers has been good. The great sulfur hatch is tailing off, but that still leaves caddis, olives, and an occasional isonychia. Now can be a good time to break out the terrestrial patterns. The West Branch Angler is reporting that flying ants are around and that at least on one day, the trout were eating them. The Catskill river water levels are excellent. Where all the rain has made for poor smallmouth conditions, the trout streams and rivers have certainly benefited. On one recent trip, an angler reported catching many smaller trout - browns and rainbows. While most anglers prefer to catch mature fish, this is always a good sign that future seasons will be good. It's still a little early for the fall spawning runs of salmon, steelhead, and browns, but now is the time to check streamer and big game gear and make sure its ready.
The week ahead should be decent in terms of the weather and rain will be largely absent. Daytime highs will be in the upper 70's with lows in the upper 50's. Hopefully this will allow warmwater rivers to get into fishing shape, and just in time for the fall. Now is also the time to review fishing regulations and renew your NY fishing license.