Hook, Line and Sinker: April 22, 2009

Fishing this past week was a bit slow. Mike Cornwell, of Al’s Sports Store, Downsville, reported one nice brown trout taken by Gary Skiba of Binghamton. Gary used a Gold Krocodile to catch his fish, which weighed six pounds, 10 ounces. Mike also noticed a good number of flies hatching along the river, and hitting his windshield as he drove home.
It’s always gratifying to get out on the stream this time of year and notice the signs of nature awakening after the long winter’s sleep. The sunny yellows of the daffodils and tiny coltsfoot blooms do much to brighten up the sandy sides of the roads, especially since we haven’t had enough rain to make the grass green up very much just yet. There are delicate white oxalis and pink spring beauties blooming in the woods and on the trails into the river; and we’ve noticed the red buds on our maples just beginning to show. It’s still a bit early for the buds on our fruit trees to swell, but the scarlet elder along the side of our barn has already budded and is now starting to push out the beginnings of its distinctive foliage.
Coinciding with these early blooms is the emergence of good numbers of small caddis flies, along with the beginning of the Quill Gordons and Blue Quills, the first major mayfly hatches of the season.
We saw a good number of small caddis flies hatching on the Lower Beaverkill and the East Branch of the Delaware River on Thursday and Friday afternoons. The caddis flies on the East Branch were somewhat larger, about a size #16, than those on the Beaverkill; but none were on the water when we arrived at our destination. Rather, they seemed to congregate in the bushes and trees along the stream banks. Water temperatures were 50.9 on the lower Beaverkill near East Branch, and 53 degrees Fahrenheit on the East Branch near the Firemen’s Park; once that magic number of 50 degrees is reached, fly-fishers look forward to seeing flies hatching and trout rising, and the prospect of good dry fly fishing once again.
Heading into the end of April, we’ve already had a beautiful weekend where temperatures reached into the 70s. Some of our local streams have been stocked, with the prospect of more to come.
There is always a flurry of activity on Stocking Day, when word travels quickly up and down stream that “they’re stocking!” We noticed a young boy excitedly pedaling his bike home yesterday afternoon clutching his fishing rod and a plastic bag containing a single huge fish – most probably being brought proudly home for supper and, from the looks of it, large enough to feed the family.