The middle of April has brought such beautiful spring weather - the weekend was filled with bright sun and breezy temperatures in the lower 70s - just perfect for enjoying the out-of-doors.
We fished Pepacton Reservoir last Friday and found that the water temperature was about 41 degrees during the latter part of the morning. The surface was as calm as glass, making for easy rowing. We did not see any sea gulls or birds on the water, and were surprised to see a single loon on the surface, as they are most common in the North woods and lakes, with their distinctive yodeling cry a symbol of the wilderness. We were not able to determine if it was male or female, as they have identical plumage (patterned with black and white with some gray on the head and neck) and while the males are larger than the females, we were not able to make any comparison with a single bird. It would dive under the surface for a long time; loons are diving ducks, about the size of a large duck or small goose, and have webbed feet. They find their prey by sight, and therefore prefer clear lakes and in order be able to better see their prey. Their diet includes mostly small fish, though can eat fish of up to ten inches in length, such as minnows, suckers, perch, gizzard shad, rock cod, killifish, and many others. They also eat crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, leeches and frogs; and sometimes aquatic plants such as pondweeds and algae.
There were a good number of fishermen lining the shore. We saw no signs of baitfish or any surface activity yet, but we managed to catch (and release) a smallmouth bass. There is a special catch and release bass season from December 1 through the Friday preceding the third Saturday in June - this year, June 17, and over the winter, bass anglers reported that they had been catching and releasing bass ‘like crazy’ all winter long - just for fun; artificial lures only are permitted during this special season. The regular bass season runs from the third Saturday in June (this year June 18) through November 30. Anglers may keep up to 5 bass per day with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.
We returned to the reservoir on Monday morning and were surprised again at how still and placid and calm the water was - and how warm the air temperature (up to 72 by about noontime wen we quit). Lots of debris was on the surface, as the reservoir has been filling steadily due to no bottom releases, but we managed to hook a small (15”) brown trout that leaped out of the water twice on its way in.
It's time for Hendricksons! and reports of the beginnings of this much-anticipated hatch are coming in on the Delaware, East and West Branch Delaware and a few starting up on the Beaverkill. The Hendrickson sparks the beginning of the major mayfly hatches that fly fishers look forward to each year. Caddis flies of various sizes have been around as well. Fishing seems to be most productive in the afternoon. Rivers are low and easy to wade - the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls registered just 462 cubic feet per second on April 20; the average flow for this date over 101 years of record-keeping is 909 cfs.