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Southern tier fly fishing: Trout opener, fly fishing events

The East Branch of Owego Creek, north of Richford was flowing full and very cold and murky this past Saturday.
The East Branch of Owego Creek, north of Richford was flowing full and very cold and murky this past Saturday.
Bob Bruns

The Southern Tier moved closer to spring this week, even though snow and cold still made guest appearances. For the most part, spring-like temps during the day have melted most snow with the exception of higher elevations, and deep shaded glens. Most creeks, streams, and rivers are now ice-free. The same can't be said of our stillwaters. Ponds are slowly losing their ice; lakes not so much so. Snowmelt and rain have kept the ground very moist.

The trout opener is just 2 days away. For much of last week, local creeks were in nice shape. But rain late in the week, combined with more snowmelt reversed that as of Saturday morning. My own patrol of both Cayuta Creek and Owego Creek showed both to be full, very murky, and very cold. Owego Creek was a chilly 33 degrees, much of that due to snowmelt no doubt. I saw no insect activity to speak of and fishermen reported slow going in the areas that were open to fishing. A friend visited Catherine Creek and saw some very nice rainbows, so the fish are there. He also reported excellent flows and good clarity. But say goodbye to those good conditions anywhere at the moment, thanks to heavy rain on Saturday and continued precipitation on Sunday. Fall Creek, for example, has rocketed upward in flows over the last two days and is still heading north of 2,000 CFS as of this posting. The West Branch of the Delaware is also high at over 3,000 CFS.

Opening Day weather looks good. Expect a high of 60 degrees, plus or minus, under cloudy skies with little chance of precipitation. The water will be very cold so dress and fish accordingly. It's anyone's guess as to whether flows will have subsided by then, but more than likely creeks and streams will be full, at a minimum.

Here's a summary of the coming week fly fishing events:

  • April 1st - Trout season opener. Though it will occur mid-week this year, this is a day to celebrate for many anglers come good or bad weather. Local creeks are stocked and will continue to be stocked and all Catskill waters will be open as of this date. Finger Lakes tribs are another excellent choice, although fishing pressure can be heavy. Fall Creek, Salmon Creek, Owasco Inlet, and Catherine Creek are the major tribs in our area.
  • April 1st - Twin Tiers Five Rivers IFFF meeting - "Fishing Cayuta Creek". Club member John Lively will talk about fishing Cayuta Creek, which roughly translates to "Little Gem", and a little gem it is for those who have tried it. This stream is one of the author's favorites and holds stockies as well as holdovers and natives. Fly tying demo starts at 6 pm and the meeting starts at 7 pm at the Big Flats Community Center, Maple Street, in Big Flats, NY.
  • April 4 - 5 - A&G Outfitters 10th Anniversary Weekend. A&G Outfitters of Dickson City, PA, will host events on Friday night and Saturday that are sure to help any angler. Last Saturday's streamer seminar was postponed and is now being held this Saturday from Noon - 4 pm. There is still room available - contact the shop if interested. Additionally, the shop is hosting a river clean-up on Sunday, from 9 am to Noon behind the shop. Refreshments will be provided.

The week ahead will be more spring-like, in terms of the weather. High temps will be north of 40 degrees every day, averaging in the low 50's, but night-time lows will remain hovering around the freezing mark. There is some more precipitation forecast for Friday and skies will be cloudy through most of the week. Remember to check your gear in advance of fishing, particularly wading gear, and be safe.


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