Sliding into September
I’ve talked with many people who tell me this year has been dragging by and I’ve spoken with significantly more who tell me this year is flying by. I fit into this latter group and feel this year has been moving quickly. Suddenly, it’s been a month since my last post and change is in the air. Better fishing is ahead, but days are getting shorter too. Without any more gibberish, let’s jump into my stories and reports from the last month.
Also, a month ago I posted about a day trip I took to the West Branch of the Delaware River with my cousin, Connor, and my brother, Brandon. Connor put together a really neat short video from that trip and you can check it out here: https://youtu.be/Jhrwov3KfaU . Connor does some nice work and I think the video is pretty cool. Thank you, Connor!
I was fortunate to have some nice trips over the last month and meet some new friends. Despite low and tough water conditions, everyone worked and fished hard to make the most of their trips and catch some trout. I was able to do a fair bit of exploring water new to me as well. Some days, I had my brother, Brandon, with me on trips. Other days, I was flying solo. Trips were successful and we found some really nice wild fish.
I’ve found I must be gaining ground in the common sense department as I get older each year. I take far fewer risks hiking through creeks, streams, and rivers when fishing alone. There are plenty of places, especially when blue lining, with no cell service and no help if something happens. At least if my brother is there, he’ll be able to tell the story of how I did my best balance beam act. I really don’t wade aggressively at all if I’m on my own and I try to avoid sticky situations. Safety always comes first, except when you’re with someone to bail your butt out of trouble and there is a hole that has gargantuan trout written all over it… just kidding. In all seriousness, wade safely, be sure of your footing, and go with a buddy! I say this because a local angler lost his life recently in very, very low water conditions when he lost his footing. Be sure of your footing!
Now that our morning safety briefing as concluded, we can move onto the Central New York and Upstate New York fly fishing report. The water is low. We need rain, badly. That said, nights have been trending much cooler and most streams are fishable so long as it is not 85 degrees during the day. If it’s been warm, bring your thermometer. It doesn’t take long for low water to heat up. Tailwaters and spring creeks continue to be in good shape, though flows are down pretty significantly in them as well. Having been a warm summer with low water, I’ve found trout to still be in their summer patterns on the freestone streams. Low light conditions are best and the fish are holding deep and tucked under the rocks. As we get further into September, we’ll get more rain, days will become even cooler, and trout will move around and become more aggressive as they spread out. Look for the streamer bite to be good with the first few blasts of cold rain and increased flows. It’s almost big streamer season! Salmon are slowly starting to move into the Salmon River, though the best is yet to come. There was no water release from the dam over the holiday weekend to jumpstart the run due to low water conditions. The fishing will pick up as we get deeper into September and into October.
Onto the stories!
I spent some time on the Esopus. It’s a great wild fishery, though you’ll come across plenty of stocked fish as well. Brown trout were abundant, some really nice ones too, but I didn’t find many rainbows. A few yearling rainbows were caught sporadically among the browns. The water out of the portal that day was rather turbid. It made wading difficult and I treaded carefully, tip toeing my way around. The nymphing was excellent. There was no dry fly activity whatsoever.
Next up is the day trip with Brandon to the Neversink and his personal best brown. We moved about through the tailwater section throughout the day. Admittedly, it took us a bit to dial things in, but it turned out to be a good day. We stalked and sight casted to some browns we could see picking bugs off the bottom in a glassy section of water. It was kind of like flats fishing, except for 15” brown trout. In tight areas, Brandon and I took turns moving through sections, heckling each other along the way. We came up on a set of small, but deep, pockets and it was my turn. Without hesitation and with an unprecedented amount of confidence, precision, and force, I sent my fly rocketing directly into the overhanging tree trout. It was now Brandon’s turn. I held my line up high and out of the way so he could make some casts into the pocket, but nobody was home. He moved up to the next pocket and I followed after I retrieved my fly. Still his turn, he made a few drifts and then hooked what appeared to be a boat anchor with a motor. The big dark brown then exploded and went bananas, rocketing every which way as it did not take kindly to being pulled out of its home. It was great to see and I’m glad I was there with my camera out. I helped land/net the fish and snapped a few quick shots before Brandon released it. As the fish kicked away, it said one final goodbye, showering Brandon with cold water. You’ve got to love those splashy goodbyes. Brandon returned the favor a bit later and snapped a picture and netted a nice brown of mine, though not the trophy of his. The rest of the day, we spent throwing dries, nymphing, and jigging streamers. We encountered more wild browns and rocketing rainbows. It was a fun day trip.
On another day trip, I was doing some exploring and blue lining streams in the eastern part of the Adirondacks. I found some great picturesque streams. It was a nice day to be walking through the water and woods, but I finished the day tired, hot, and the king of catching creek chubs. I managed to spook a single trout on the day and catch zero.
In non-fishing related stories, my Wife and I have been engaging in some epic badminton battles at camp. She’s a real warrior and these matches get intense. I usually have to take a short break to bring my blood sugar back up. One area we set up our court had some uneven ground as it slopes toward the concrete boat ramp, the dock, and the lake. In an intense volley and an astonishing display of athleticism, I went airborne heading toward and down this slope. I hyperextend my knee a bit and I was a gangly mess of arms and legs, but I managed to stay on my feet. It could have been ugly, blowing out my ACL, face planting, and turning my teeth into chiclets. My Wife laughed at me, as she should have. It was amusing. We pushed on, locked in our dual. She ended up whipping my butt pretty good, but I redeemed myself a week later. What does this have to do with fly fishing? It has absolutely nothing to do with fly fishing, but it’s a good lesson. When setting up a badminton court for an intense dual, be sure to set it up on level ground.
What’s next? I’ll be heading to Cape Cod for an extend trip this month. The Cheeky Schoolie Tournament is coming up and that is always a good time. Though it is a virtual event this year, it will be a good time and I always enjoy making the trip to the salt, fishing with my cousin and brother. I look forward to increased flows locally in Central NY as fall streamer season is some of my favorite fishing. I’ll have plenty of stories to write about here shortly, along with tips and pointers. September baseball is upon us as well and fall baseball is the best baseball. If everyone could pull for the Yankees, they really need all the help they can get right now.
As always, thanks for reading! I always appreciate everyone who takes to the time to read the “skunked and out of beer” blog. Please shoot me an email with any questions. I’m always happy to help to the best of my ability. Please feel free to hit the like button and follow along on Facebook and Instagram as well!
Thanks again! Stay safe and go Yankees!