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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lansing

Mild Winter – Central NY Fly Fishing

Mild Winter – Central NY Fly Fishing

I’ve titled this post “Mild Winter”, which is a little ironic as it’s about 0 degrees and snowing sideways as I write this. But, it really has been a mild winter here in Central New York and that trend looks to continue after these couple days of arctic cold. It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted last and I need to get back to regular posting. There’s always plenty of fishing and fishing related topics to share about.

A gem.  This is a wild brown trout I caught and released yesterday while fly fishing on a local Central NY stream.
A gem. This is a wild brown trout I caught and released yesterday while fly fishing on a local Central NY stream.

Have I been out? I have been out on the streams on my own and with friends. I’ve done fairly well (relative to winter conditions of course), though I pick and choose my days wisely. Days when the wind is minimal and the temperatures have been a little milder, I hit the water. Cold and blustery days, like today, are meant for boring computer work, working on taxes, whole pots of hot coffee, and fly tying. I have not been ice fishing this winter, yet. That’ll change in the next couple of days, but I’m not a fan of marching on marginal Oneida ice.

I’ve been trying to rotate through and hit all of the Central New York trout streams, as I always do. I can’t complain about the winter fly fishing or conditions. While we did get some rain to start off the new year, we could really use more precipitation. While some streams are running at healthy levels, finally, others are still quite low. Low water throughout the fall and early winter made for a wonky fall season. Spawning was late this year and I noticed a few redds in deeper water than I’d typically expect to find them as well. In fact, there are still pretty fresh redds in a couple of areas. If you do venture out on the creeks this winter, please do continue to watch your step and watch for redds. Those are the future of the fishery!

Nymphing and jigging streamers has been the ticket, low and slow as usual in the winter months. With water temps hanging tight in the mid-30s, with the exception of a handful of fish, most trout have been pretty lethargic, with super subtle eats. Again, all of this is pretty typical for winter fly fishing in Central New York. It’s no secret, buggers, eggs, frenchies, and sexy walts are winter flies and that’s what I’ve been catching fish on. Target slower water and slow drifts down as much as possible.

What else have you been doing this winter, Brian?

Well, I’ve been slowly taking inventory of flies, tippet, leaders, gear, etc. and figuring out what I’ll need for the season. I stopped into Troutfitter, the local fly shop, for a few tying supplies and chatting with them a bit. If you need anything, check them out. They are pretty well stocked in gear and tying supplies. I’ve been trying to make a serious dent in my fly-tying production. My Wife thinks I’m a little nuts as she found me at the vice one day listening to Korn and Rob Zombie. She asked if I was angry at the flies as it’s the same music I work out each day to. I probably was angry at the flies. There’s only so much vise time I can take at once before I want to whip all of the little beads and hooks across the room. I tie a lot of flies and will even sell some, but how true commercial tyers do it for a living is beyond me.

Recently, I was invited to present and lead a talk at the local Trout Unlimited Chapter meeting. I appreciate the opportunity to meet the group, chat fly fishing, and introduce my guiding business and woodworking business, Edgewood Outdoors. I enjoyed the evening talking fly fishing and meeting some of the folks. I look forward to seeing them again at future meetings and on the water.

Speaking of Edgewood Outdoors, I have plenty of nets in stock and ready to ship. There will be more options and some other options available in the next couple of months (likely April) as we get closer to prime fishing season. If you’re in the market for a new fly fishing net, or know someone who might be, please consider visiting my Edgewood Outdoors website and checking out my handcrafted nets for sale.

Fly Fishing for Cape Cod stripers!
Fly Fishing for Cape Cod stripers!

I did get signed up, with my brother, to fish the annual Cheeky Schoolie Striper Tournament out to Cape Cod. It’s always a good time going out there chasing early season stripers for a few days in May. In terms of the number of anglers, I think it’s still the largest fly fishing tournament/comp in the world at over 500 anglers. Always good fun!

I think that’s about all for now. I hope everyone had a safe and healthy holiday season. I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their day to follow along and read this post. I will be better about regular posts and updates in the future, even if it’s just a short weekly report or product review. In addition, if you have a specific fly fishing topic you’d like me to post about or a question, please shoot me an email. As always, thanks again for reading, stay warm, and good luck on the water!


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