Please send rain. I don’t think we’ve had measurable rain in about a month in the Syracuse and Central NY area. While we had plenty of rain early in the season, we don’t have much water at all as we head into the last few weeks of the prime fly fishing season. Couple the lack of water with extreme heat for a week, and what do you get? I postponed my entire week for the health of the trout. Conservation of our cold-water fisheries is more important than a week of trips. Luckily, it appears help is on the way with cooler temperatures and a bit of rain in the coming week.
All said, May was an excellent month! I was fortunate to have some great guided trips and lessons with great people. Overall trout participation was excellent, which is always a bonus. Trout participation is never a sure thing. Weather and stream conditions were excellent until the last week or so. Feeding activity was mostly subsurface, which is very normal for our area. A few rising fish were spotted here and there, but nothing to really warrant switching from nymphing to a dry-fly rig. We’ve fished A LOT of dry dropper rigs with the low and clear water conditions. Early mornings have been best, which is pretty typical as we get into these longer and sunnier days. Our brown trout absolutely hate sunlight. With water temperatures increasing, it's best to be on the water early anyhow.
I took a few days off in the middle of the month for my annual trek to Cape Cod for the Cheeky Schoolie Tournament. We didn’t do as well as we did last year, but still managed 25th out of 250+ teams. It’s always a great time going out there, spending time with family, and flinging flies until my arm falls off. I always fish with my brother and my cousin. We all stuck some really quality fish, just couldn’t find the bigger fish on tournament day.
For those who follow the Atlantic Striped Bass fishery, what I’m going to tell say next is nothing new. Please practice good, safe, catch & release methods when targeting stripers. They need our help. The Atlantic population is crashing fast. There is a noticeable decrease in the numbers of striped bass each year we’re out there. Can you still safely fish for striped bass and target striped bass? Yes, 100%! BUT… help them out and let ‘em go. Use a net to land fish as much as possible. It’s safer for the fish. Limit air exposure. Everyone wants a nice picture, but get them back in the water quickly. Try not to beach and don’t drop them on the rocks. Do your best to handle all fish horizontally instead of vertically. Their internal organs are not designed to hold up vertically. Efforts are being made to help this population, albeit slowly. Those efforts aside, please do your part.
Most of what I mentioned about striped bass translates to trout and other fish species as well. If you intend to catch & release, please handle fish responsibly. In addition, and especially with trout, use a thermometer. Water temps over that 68-degree mark mean giving trout a rest.
What lies ahead? More fly fishing, of course! Conditions look quite a bit better in the coming weeks. I’ll be back on the water with trips starting on Sunday when temperatures cool back down. I have loads of fly tying to catch up on, and some woodworking and net building work to catch up on. My wood handcrafted fishing nets (crafted by me) are always available!
With the summer months coming, planning shorter trips early the in the day is important and picking/choosing days to be on the water will be trickier, but we’ll make it happen. It is important to keep in mind that fly fishing in the summer months is challenging. While the weather is nice, the trout fishing and expectations are not what they are April – mid June. I am working on possibly making some warm-water fly fishing opportunities available. In addition, I am back to being open about planning Cape Cod fly fishing trips, but I need to be able to string 2-3 days together in order to make this happen. I cannot accommodate single day trips unless I can string other days/trips together.
Looking forward to a great June on the water! We just actually need some water… I’m hopeful we’ll get rain in the next 7-10 days. Rain + big cool down = GOOD FISHING!
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!