Fly-Fishing in Central New York
|Early season fly fishing on the West Canada
April first marks the opening of the general trout-fishing season in central New York.
Central New York and the Mohawk Valley offer numerous early season fly-fishing opportunities for trout and salmon. Spring steelhead season will be starting on the Lake Ontario tributaries. The Finger Lakes offer exciting opportunities for lake run rainbows and landlocked salmon. Inland trout streams will offer excellent opportunities for holdovers and wild browns.
With rising water temperatures and rising water levels, trout metabolism is starting to increase and feeding on drifting food increases. Spring run-off will dislodge many different types of food. Large stoneflies, tiny mayflies, caddis larva, scuds, crayfish, and baitfish are all potential trout food.
The selective feeding nature of brown trout has not begun and they are looking for a hearty meal after the long winter, so don't be afraid to tie on a large fly. One of my favorite tactics for early trout is to use a large #4 or #6 Prince Nymph. This is an excellent dark general searching pattern with excellent contrasting white wing cases. I have had great success in the first few of weeks of the season using this fly in large sizes.
Other good patterns are Woolly Buggers in black, olive or brown sizes 4 through 10. Split shot is a good way to get the fly down into feeding lies. I like to crimp the shot on at a tag left from where I apply the 2-foot tippet.
Water clarity will determine how heavy your tippet, if the water is high and off color use 6 lb. If it is clear use four pound. I use a triple surgeon's knot, which is very quick and easy to tie. You will want enough shot to drift along the bottom, but not hang up consistently.
April first also starts the season for Finger Lakes rainbows. Many fish will have already entered the tributaries before April first and fishing can be excellent for 2-8 pound rainbows. I have caught these fish on a variety of patterns, from Woolly Worms to various sized nymphs to small egg patterns. One of my favorites for lake run rainbows is a Gray Squirrel Nymph with a peacock wing case. The spiky hair, dark appearance when wet, and life like movement, make it look alive. Landlocked Salmon enter some Finger Lakes tributaries later in April in pursuit of running smelt and fishing with streamers can be very exciting. I have better success using streamers with eyes.
For the spring steelhead season in the Lake Ontario tributaries tactics switch from the smaller sparsely tied flies to larger more colorful flies and streamers. As water temperatures rise the steelhead will spawn. The post spawn steelhead on their way back to the lake will feed ravenously. So, swing your streamer and hold on tight.
Central New York has a variety of streams and tributaries to fly fish for trout, salmon, and steelhead. Wear warm clothing and enjoy the wonderful sport of fly-fishing. Some favorite early season fly-fishing destinations in Central New York are: