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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lansing

May, the Blur...

The month of May was a blur! Again, I’ve fallen a bit behind with my updates and blog posts from how often I’d like to post. May was a very busy month (a good problem to have for me!). At one point, I had boots in the water for 22 or 23 days straight. While most of those days were guiding, I snuck in a 4-day personal trip to Cape Cod to fly fish a striper tournament as well. As I sit sipping coffee and watching it try to rain, I have a few moments to reflect and share about the last month, and update everyone reading on local conditions and what to expect going forward. It’s been a great month and I’ve shared the water with some really great guests. If you’re reading this and you were out on the water with me, thank you!

After a very wet April where so much rain made guiding and fishing difficult, May was the opposite. Dry conditions and cool weather set up some really nice conditions for a couple weeks early on. However, too long without rain is never a good thing. The last few weeks of May have been solid fishing still, but could have been much better. We need rain. I’d like to see flows double where they are now. Streams are abnormally low for this time of year. Luckily, cool nights have kept most streams fishable. I’m hopeful this cold front pushing through today will bring wet weather with it.

Phil holding a wild brown trout caught fly fishing in Central NY.
Phil with a great wild brown trout caught fly fishing in Central NY.

Aside from the low water right now, fishing has been fair to good. Trout have been willing to participate for the most part. Certainly, some days have been better than others. As a whole, however, it’s been good. In typical fashion for the area, we’ve been doing a lot of nymphing, both indicator nymphing and contact/euro nymphing. Nymphing is kind of my jam and it’s been fun working with anglers of all skill levels. Some anglers newer to the sport have been learning more about indicator nymphing. Some have been new to contact nymphing, and others have been more advanced anglers looking to learn more technical aspects of contact nymphing. Anglers completely new to fly fishing have been doing well with indicator nymphing, and even some dry fly fishing. The dry fly fishing has been slow overall, but we had a morning where fish were looking up. You have to take advantage of those opportunities. I’ve been carrying a dry fly rod on each outing in the event we spot fish rising. With low water, streamer fishing has not existed.

Dave with a nice wild trout caught nymphing.
Dave with a nice wild trout caught nymphing.

A helpful hint to all reading… Don’t overlook an indicator rig or dry-dropper rig. While traditional dry fly fishing has worked and dredging the bottom with a nymph has worked even better, there’s been quite a few trout caught fishing nymphs suspended in the water column. Be sure to change things up from time to time. The level/depth of the flies has been important. Keep changing until you find where the trout want their food. With low water, they haven’t been moving as much. Early on, fishing suspended nymphs early in the morning was producing, but we’d have to adjust deeper as the day wore on. Fishing with an indicator or dry-dropper allows you to fish nymphs suspended at a controlled depth. Lastly, as the water level drops and we get into clear and skinny water season, using a dry-dropper rig will also allow you to keep nymphing with an "indicator", but without the bright color and disturbance of a traditional type of strike indicator.

Recent clients with a stud wild brown trout caught fly fishing in Central NY.
Recent clients with a stud wild brown caught fly fishing in Central NY.

Admittedly, there haven’t been as many wild trout around this year. It’s becoming more evident that last fall’s flooding did have an impact on the trout population in some of the local creeks. This doesn’t mean wild trout don’t exist. There are certainly plenty around, but not quite as many as previous years. It is encouraging to see some different year classes of wild fish as well ranging from the spastic yearlings and year old fish, to the hard fighting 2-3 year olds, and even to the older 20+” angry brutes. A healthy stocking class this year of 2 and 3 year old fish have made some fun action as well!

Jassour with a beautiful wild brown trout caught fly fishing in Central NY.
Jassour with a beautiful wild brown caught fly fishing in Central NY.

We haven’t landed the 20+” giants. One just didn’t stick on the hookset. One smoked us. After the hookset, chaos followed quickly and ended with the fish breaking off during a blistering downstream run. Standing high on the bank, I could see everything. My guest was at water level and didn’t see as much. After the fish decided it didn’t like being hooked, my guest asked what they did wrong or what they could have done differently. My response was, “Nothing. You just got an old-fashioned ass kicking.” A little luck helps. We have been fortunate to land some really nice 15”-18” wild trout, however!

A striper caught fly fishing in Cape Cod.
This is a shot of me with a striper caught fly fishing in Cape Cod. This was the day after the tournament... probably would have helped during the tournament, hahaha!

As I noted, I took a few days to head out to Cape Cod to chase stripers with my brother and my cousin. The Cheeky Schoolie Tournament is always a fun weekend for us. We get together, fly fish until we physically can’t cast a fly rod anymore and drink beer. Occasionally, we’ll break out a spinning rod, or the cheatin' stick as we've started referring to them as, though I didn’t at all this trip. The tournament is fly fishing only and we spend the majority of the few days flinging flies (obviously all of the tournament). We fish hard, and I’m genuinely exhausted after a few days of throwing 9-12 weight rods in wind. We did well this year, finishing 4th out of the 265 registered teams, but not quite well enough. We finished one place off the podium and prizes. Numbers were high as I estimated the migration was roughly 2 weeks ahead of schedule. A 4 fish total of 116” inches won the tournament, while we finished with 110.75”. Regardless, it’s always fun! I had a great time, caught some nice fish, didn’t get skunked, and didn’t run out of beer. And, in windy conditions and casting backhanded most of the time I only managed to impale myself with a sized 2/0 hook just one time! That’s all a win! You’ve really got to watch those rogue casts when the wind gusts. Sometimes, its best to chuck, duck, and let Jesus take the wheel before it really gets out of hand.

A nice striped bass caught fishing in Cape Cod.
Brandon with a dandy striped bass from Cape Cod. He caught this one using a popper with the "cheatin stick".

What’s next? I’ve got a few days off to catch up before June takes off. June is shaping up to be another busy month. Weekends are pretty well booked up, but I still have a good amount of availability mid-weeks. As I alluded to earlier on, I’m hoping for copious amounts of rain today to set things up nicely with cooler temperatures coming for the foreseeable future. If we get enough rain, conditions could be dynamite for the early part of June here! As I look at the current radar, I’m optimistic. The time to be on the streams is now. If I’m not out with guests, you can bet that I’ll be out on my own. Toward the end of the month, I’m taking a couple of days off again with family and heading back to Cape Cod for more saltwater action. The flats are calling my name.

In addition, my handcrafted fly fishing nets are always available, though some options are currently sold out. As time permits throughout the spring and summer, I will be restocking most of those selections. Father’s day is right around the corner! Thank you to those of you who have shown interest or already purchased and supported my small business, Edgewood Outdoors.

Thanks again for reading! Again, my apologies to the loyal readers out there for not keeping up to date more regularly. It’s been a busy spring on the water and I hope that trend continues. There is plenty of fly fishing this year still to be had, but we are in the heart of the good season. We can’t always count on favorable conditions come July, August, or September. It’s best to take advantage of good conditions in the spring!

Take care!



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