It’s been a beautiful week for fall – classic Indian summer weather. While the nights have been cool to chilly, the days have warmed up nicely and it’s been dry, a good and bad thing depending on the fishing one is after. We are heading into peak colors over the next two weeks, making any fishing venture enjoyable even if the fish are not so willing.
Fishing reports vary, but are generally good, as one would expect in fall:
- We’ll start with the Salmon River report. There’s been all sorts of talk about the poor run so far this fall. The Douglaston Salmon Run reported that fishing has picked up somewhat from the slow pick that has been in place the last few weeks. But many anglers are not happy, possibly because last year’s run was so good. Fishery projections vary from “there will not be much of a run” to “it’s running a month late”. The river is flowing on the low side so a good push of water and colder temps might pick things up. In general, it remains an early morning bite. Mike Hogue, of Badger Creek, reported two salmon over two days last week, and, he added, “I had to work my butt off to get them”. Tim Barrett of Barrett’s Guide Service was up north this past weekend and reports that both the North and South Sandy Creek are very low and clear. Tim saw a good number of fishermen but not many salmon being taken on the Salmon River. However, charter boat captains he is in contact with say that fish were heavy in the estuary and the outlet. Another associate was despondent about the slow fishing, but turned it into a positive by saying that the slow run might reduce future fishing pressure – an interesting take.
- The Catskill rivers continue to produce, though the hatches are down to a few Iso’s and the ubiquitous olives, which are now the most prolific hatch. River flows are all over the place, from very low on the Catskill freestones and the East Branch of the Delaware, to barely wadeable flows on the West Branch, and decent wading on the main stem. As far as the West Branch goes, it’s streamer time, particularly where the water is stained and flows jump up. The fall brown trout spawn will start soon. Keep an eye on the USGS water gauge if you like throwing big streamers.
- Ponds are still a good choice but focus efforts on the late afternoon / evening. Water temps are cooling and the best time for largemouth fishing is towards the end of the day after a warm, sunlit day. The bite will be less topwater and more a big ugly streamer type of bite.
- The warmwater river bite is excellent right now. The rivers are cooler than normal for this time of year but flows are low. Efforts should be focused on late morning and throughout the day into early evening. On clear, warm, sunny days, the bass are still hanging in the shade or deep around structure. All of the warmwater rivers are in terrific shape for wading with the benefit that low flows tend to concentrate the fish. Pike and musky will also start feeding aggressively. Now is the time to bring an 8 or 9 weight to throw big streamers in the deeper water areas.
It’s time to pay NY state fishing license fees. If you purchased your license between October 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014, your license will remain valid through September 30, 2014. And while this year the fishing license fee is DOWN, yes, you read this right, NY state has REDUCED fishing license fees from $29 to $25, it has now also shifted to a policy where your license is good one year from the date of purchase. Previously, it didn’t matter; a mandatory renewal date was set for October 1st. So if you don’t like to fish in the fall or winter, you can wait on renewal and get a true full year from the date of purchase.
The weather for the week ahead will not be a repeat of the past week. Daytime temps will remain in the mid 70’s but there will be a chance of rain between 30 – 40% for most of the week. On Saturday, a front will pass through dropping temperatures to the low 60’s with an 80% possibility of rain on Saturday.