Today is the last day of the regular trout fishing season in New York State. It’s so surprising to see the conditions - as we have yet to have a frost (I can’t remember ever not having frost by October 15 - and still have begonias blooming on the deck and a huge bed of nasturtiums in the garden blooming merrily) and so the fishing at Hazel Bridge on the Willowemoc, which is usually top-notch in late September and October, has been flat. Generally the frosts of mid-to-late September bring a hatch that encourages the trout to rise and fishing is productive in that long pool below the bridge. We’ve often fished it on Veteran’s Day and had good luck.
Another “can’t ever remember” thought is about the fall foliage - or lack thereof. We figure that it must have something to do with all the rain we’ve received these past months - the trees never get chance to go dormant with the water table so high and the ground so saturated, and so many of the leaves are still green and starting to fall rapidly - with just a minimum of yellow, gold and brown remaining. We traveled up through New England a week ago and there were no colorful leaves to be seen!
The continual rain showers have kept rivers and streams in a spring-like flow - unusual for this time of year. Last year during the first week in October conditions were very dry, and the Beaverkill was flowing between just 70 and 80 cubic feet per second at the gauging station at Cooks Falls...but at this writing, October 15, Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 900 cubic feet per second - well above the average flow for this date of 177 cfs over 104 years of record-keeping. The highest flow on this date was 3580 cfs in 1956, and the lowest was that terrible drought year of 1965 when the Beaverkill was barely flowing at just 30 cubic feet per second!
For those autumn fly fishers who are not yet ready to put away their equipment, there is still plenty of fishing to enjoy, as the Special Regulations Catch-and-Release areas are open year-round, weather permitting, and other areas remain open until November 30. Be sure to check your fishing syllabus or go online to the NYS DEC website (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html) before embarking on a fishing trip - and be sure your fishing license is current.
Fly hatches for this time of year continue to be Isonychia (watch for the Isonychia and stonefly cases on the rocks along the banks) various sizes and colors of Caddis flies, and the tiny Blue-Winged Olives and Trichos.