Hurricane Irene has left her mark on the Southern Tier. All an angler needs to do is look at the USGS gauge for any local creek, stream, or river to see what she has left in the wake of her path.
Depending on the water, it may be a while before fishing conditions are back to normal. Smaller creeks may be the fly angler’s best hope over the near term, particularly those in the western sections of the Southern Tier. Tailwaters, as detailed in a prior post, are also a good option. For the larger river systems, the wait for fishable conditions could be significantly longer depending on the watershed. Again, watersheds draining western NY will settle faster than those in the east.
Make lemonade out of lemons. A key attribute of a successful angler is resourcefulness and adaptability. The best fly anglers learn to adapt their techniques to the whims of Mother Nature. Trout anglers know when water is up, streamers are the ticket. Look for settling water in local creeks and tailwaters and try streamers on sink tip lines with short stout leaders. Remember that trout will often hold in bank water where they can shelter themselves from flood currents and take advantage of baitfish that are doing the same or any other food that might be washed into the creek or river. Use contrasting colored patterns when the water is murky; black or brown or chartreuse will work well.
The USGS gauge is an angler’s friend. Always check the USGS gauge before fishing. Fly shops that may be located in the vicinity of the area to be fished are also a great source for fishing conditions. Nothing beats on-site reports. Secondary sources can also be useful, such as relatives, friends, or other anglers who live in or frequent by the area.
Following is a report on local creeks, streams, and rivers:
- Nanticoke Creek – high and murky – give this creek a couple of days and it should be good.
- Owego Creek – upper sections north of Newark Valley look great for fly fishing.
- Cayuta Creek – no report – possibly OK based on Owego Creek’s condition.
- Catskill Rivers – all unfishable.
- Chemung River – crested only slightly above the seasonal median and dropping down – worth considering.
- Chenango River – unfishable.
- Tioughnioga River – unfishable.
- Susquehanna River – unfishable.