Another week in March goes by and we are still experiencing cold nights down to 20 degrees and lots of frozen snowbanks….but the snow is melting steadily during the day when the sun shines.
A drive up and down the Beaverkill and Willowemoc revealed very low water levels, which is difficult to believe after all the snow we received in the past month. On Tuesday afternoon, March 27, the USGS website showed that the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at just 313 cubic feet per second, which is well below the average flow for this date of 910 cfs based on 104 years of record-keeping. which proves how slowly the snow has been melting. The minimum flow recorded was 139.0 cfs in 1960, and the maximum was 6820 cfs in 1963.
Water temperatures this past week ranged from a low of 32 degrees F last Tuesday morning up to a high of 42 degrees on Tuesday afternoon. On the Beaverkill reports have come in of fish rising in the larger pools in the afternoon. My husband Ed says that despite the cold temperatures the rises are not surprising, as the river is clear with no snow water, and when air temperatures rise above 32 degrees you can find "snow flies" or diptera (two winged flies) on the water. While the water temperatures may be only in the mid thirties Ed said he believes the trout feel the warmth of the sun (similar to when we are sitting in a car during this time of year - although it may be cold outside, while we can feel the warmth of the sun coming through the windows.) In the large pools along the lower Beaverkill and Willowemoc "No Kill" Catch and Release areas (where you can legally fish) seeing rises during this early spring season is not uncommon. The recipe for this occurrence is bright sunshine, air temperature higher than 32 degrees, and lack of ‘snow water’ from melting snow and ice running into the rivers. Once the snow water starts coming into the river this activity will stop. Small midge-type flies, size #22 to #18, are effective in catching early and pre-season trout when ‘snow flies’ are on the water.