Happy Independence Day
As we slide into Independence Day, I hope everyone is staying safe, doing well, and enjoys this holiday weekend. Get on the water. Crack a cold one and do some grilling. You could just set up shop on the river's edge and fish while you grill. You're then in prime position for the next caddis hatch as well.
June slipped away quickly this year, but not without some good trips and fly fishing, despite challenging conditions. I bounced back and forth between Central New York trout streams and Cape Cod's always beautiful coasts, striped bass, and bluefish. I was fortunate to have some good trips and days on the water with some great guests along the way. Here is a quick run down of current reports, conditions, review of trips, and what to hope for and expect as we roll through July.
June was dry. It was extremely dry and it was hot. The beginning of the month was more seasonable, but as the month wore on temperatures rose quickly. As air temperatures rose, so did water temperatures, both in the streams and rivers and the ocean. Most freestones in Central NY are not fishable due to heat and low water. Low water allows water temps to climb quickly. On the flip side, when we do get some cool nights, those streams will cool rapidly as well with the low water and could be fishable early the next morning. There are a few that remain in good shape due to cold springs or they are tailwaters and stay cold throughout the summer. We still have options for good fly fishing. As for Cape Cod, water temperatures rose quickly, inviting the bluefish, seals, and sharks to show up, while pushing some stripers further north. That being said, there is still plenty of opportunity to have a good day on the water chasing bluefish and stripers.
Early June in Central New York, while dry, was at least cool at night and saw morning water temps in the high 50s. The water was low and clear on the freestones, trout were a bit spooky and the fishing was pretty technical, but trips went well with guests working hard. Their hard work was rewarded with some nice wild browns. As the month progressed, the freestones continued to heat up and it was time to give them a rest. We moved to the tailwaters and creeks with cold springs where the nymphing and dry fly fishing (specifically caddis hatches) has been very good. Again, the water is low, which makes for easy wading, but also means the trout are spooked easily. Caddis hatches mid-day and evenings have been consistent and always fun. Expect similar conditions moving through July as temperatures are already warm on the freestone streams and we still need rain, badly. Fishing should be limited to early in the morning after a cool night on the freestones.
On the salty side of things, there are still a lot of stripers around Cape Cod, but we are getting into summer mode with fishing being better early and late. Many stripers have continued their northern migration, while bluefish numbers have been increasing. The bite has been hot and cold with finicky fish, follows, and refusals. The pattern I've seen is they eat fairly aggressively for short windows and then move on or quit feeding. Fish are feeding on different baits in different areas and it's important to keep switching things up until you find a fly matching the bait and what catches their interest. In one area, we had stripers and bluefish hunting mackerel in rips, while finger mullet was the bait of choice in another. Plan your outings around the tides and get out early (very early) to avoid beach traffic, boat traffic, and the bright sun. On the flats, we had some finicky fish eating sand eels and crabs, sometimes... If you're out chasing bluefish, which I recommend as they fight mean, don't forget a wire leader. If you don't have wire leader, go with a hard alloy mono or fluoro. Those teeth will cut through your standard striper leader before you get a hook set.
I've continued to fish and explore on my days off. Whether it's learning a saltwater flat or checking out and fly fishing new streams throughout New York, I continue to learn all that I can about wild trout populations, which streams and flats I can guide on, and how to fish them. There is always learning to do as an angler. Some days and places are better than others. Some streams pan out, while others I know I can put near the bottom of my continually growing list of streams. I fish some places knowing trout may not exist, but then I never have to wonder after I've fished them.
It is wet wading season and has been for quite awhile. This week's safety tip is to not forget putting sunscreen (as I did) on those exposed calves and legs if you go with shorts. Sunburned calves hurt. Also, check for ticks. Ticks suck.
Have a great weekend. Stay safe. Enjoy a frosty beverage. Catch fish. If you don't catch fish, work on your fish stories.