It’s been a nice fall so far, but that is somewhat dependent on one’s fishing outlook. The weather has been relatively dry, which has been great for warmwater river fishermen, but not so good for fishermen looking for a piece of the tributary salmon fishing. The front that came through over the weekend did bump flows up in most streams and rivers, but a lot of waters are already on the way down.
The fall fly fishing report is as follows:
- The Douglaston Salmon Run reports that fishing is improved. King salmon, coho, and steelhead have been caught. Black and pink buggers have worked as has estaz in various colors for those fishing the bottom. After the rain this weekend, fishing was hot but has since calmed down. Anglers fishing the early hours have been most successful.
- It won’t be long for the Finger Lake tribs fall runs to start, assuming we get a run. The last two years have been lean due to dry weather. The run depends on cooling weather and pushes of water from heavy rain. Right now tribs are low and clear. It pays to watch the USGS water gauge. Now is the time to prep gear for what can be very good fishing for landlocked salmon and brown trout with an occasional laker at times.
- The Catskill fishery is once again a little bit of a mixed bag due to the difference in water flows. The traditional freestones – the Willowemoc and Beaverkill – are very low and clear, making conditions tough for anglers who don’t take the time to fish with stealth and use long leaders. The east Branch is also flowing low and clear, while the West Branch got a boost in flows to 1,100 CFS. This is on the high end of wadeable but also can make for some great streamer fishing, especially with browns amping up for the fall spawn. The Main Stem is benefiting from the higher West Branch flows. As far as hatches go, can you say “olive”? Olives on the larger size (18) have been the predominant hatch, with Iso’s and caddis still around to some degree.
- Warmwater rivers remain in great shape. Flows are low, concentrating the fish, but the water is clear, making fishing a little more of a stealth game. Streamers will work well and don’t be afraid to go too big. Bass will remain on the hunt for baitfish that are at their largest size of the year. Typical places to fish are adjacent to weedbeds, seams where a riffle runs adjacent to deeper water, and structure. Keep in mind that cooler evening daytime and evening temps mean the water temps will drop. The 50 degree mark is where bass begin to move into deeper water lies and get less active, although on sunny days they may emerge to feed more actively. Walleye, pike, and musky fishing will get better with the cooler water. Walleye tend to feed in deep rocky areas and prefer dark-colored streamers such as wooly buggers, clousers, and leech patterns. And pike and musky can be caught on big streamers with a lot of movement.
The weather for the week ahead is very much fall-like – relatively cool and dry. Daytime highs after will hover around the 60 degree mark while lows sit in the high 30’s. While there is a chance of rain on most days, it is less than 20%. Skies will be partly cloudy to mostly sunny, but certainly with this kind of weather, water temps will continue to drop, hastening turnover in ponds and lakes. If you have not gotten your new license, now is the time to renew. This is also a good time to gear up for fall and colder weather.