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Southern tier fly fishing: Summertime fly fishing report and events

Evening fly fishing on area warmwater rivers can provide beautiful sunsets with great action.
Evening fly fishing on area warmwater rivers can provide beautiful sunsets with great action.
Bob Bruns

We are closing in on the peak of summer. Fishing is good; we've had good water for trout and yet most warmwater rivers have been down to wading and fishing levels. Ponds and lakes are in great shape. Daisies are out in full bloom as is the loosestrife that so loves the edges of waterways. Temps are toasty but in general, it's been a pleasant summer so far. Enjoy it now, because fall is not far off.

Fly fishing reports remain very good. Here's a summary of the action of late:

  • Ponds and lakes are in high summer mode. Topwater fishing is a great way to go early or late around weeds and over structure. Bass in particular get very aggressive when the light is low. During the day, bass can sometimes be seen cruising and can be caught with streamers and nymphs, but they are very wary and easily spooked. Another option is to fish vegetation mats that block the light from the water. Fishing a weedless popper through this vegetation can produce explosive strikes!
  • Creeks and small streams are flowing low and crystal clear, but are in good shape for the summer. Fishing is best early or late and about now, nothing can beat a beefy terrestrial drifted just right under cover providing shade or near structure. Grasshoppers are a great choice where there are hay fields adjacent to creeks, particularly on windy days. If fishing in these conditions, a reasonable splat can imitate the clumsy fall of a hopper blown off the bank. Other options are green weenies, beetles, flying ants, and griffiths gnats. Another great time to fish is right after a thunderstorm. Drifting a big nymph or worm pattern into a deep hole can score big holdover browns.
  • The Catskill rivers are fishing nicely. The West Branch has excellent flows and nice cool water temps. Some algae is being reported near Deposit, but this tends to be less of an issue downstream. If nymphing with algae present, make sure to clean your flies frequently. Hatches have been sulphurs, caddis, isonychia, light cahills, and BWO's. Some tricos have been coming off in the morning and this hatch should get better into August.
  • The warmwater rivers have been wadeable and fishable for the most part. But this will change as we get into the week and the hellacious dump of rain received in the Ithaca / Cortland area this weekend works its way into the Tioughnioga river. This also means the lower Susquehanna (below Binghamton) will see a bump - how much we will have to wait and see. Even the Chemung took a jump in flows. For now, avoid the Tioughnioga and check the USGS gage for better places. Where flows are good the fishing should be good for smallmouth. Water temps as of this weekend were around 70 degrees. The white fly hatch is here but has been on the lame side so far. Still, any amount of evening bug activity can get smallmouth looking up.

August is generally a low month for fly fishing events, but there are some events on tap:

  • A&G Outfitters of Dickson City, PA, will continue to hold Orvis Fly Fishing 101. This event is held at the shop and is free. It is specifically designed for beginners and novice fly fishers. Contact the fly shop at 570-489-1650 for more information. They also have a Savage River Trip scheduled TBA.
  • The Beaverkill Anglers Fly Shop in Roscoe, NY, will also be holding Orvis Fly Fishing 101 on Saturdays and Sundays this summer. The Beaverkill Angler is also offering a "Summer School" fly tying course starting on Saturday, July 19th. The course will consist of 3 classes and over 9 hours of instruction. If you take this summer course you will learn the basic skills you need and can spend the whole winter tying flies for the next season! Contact the fly shop at 607-498-5194 to register for either of these fly fishing classes in the beautiful Catskills.
  • A&G Outfitters will feature Todd Dellucia - Musky Master - on Saturday, August 23 @ 9am. Todd is the maestro of everything toothy. Throughout the day the event will feature: a slideshow and tying presentations, raffles, prizes and giveaways, special pricing on all inventory, and $5 all-you-can-eat food and refreshments.
  • The Douglaston Salmon Run is hosting a two day seminar on fishing the early king salmon run on August 29, 30, and 31. Stay 2 nights at one of the DSR’s luxurious lodges and enjoy 2 mornings of guided instruction on the pristine waters of the Douglaston Salmon Run! All tackle is provided - participants supply waders, sunglasses and enthusiasm! Call George O’Brien@ 315-529-3585 to register! Go to for more information.
  • Al Hazzard TU has no planned events in July or August - a traditional summer break for the chapter. Monthly meetings will pick up again in September.
  • BC Flyfishers will continue to schedule monthly fly fishing events. There will be more events scheduled in August - stay tuned for times and dates!

The weather for the week ahead will be summer-like, but not as hot as it can be in August. Temps will hit the low 80's early on, drop to the mid-70's mid-week, and gradually climb back to the low 80's by week end. There's a good chance of rain in the form of thunderstorms mid-week, but later in the week the probability of rain will drop significantly. The weekend should be partly to mostly sunny.

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