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I Just Wasn't Up To The Task.

Posted on July 20 2023

Again opted out of the afternoon sulfur fishing in favor of mundane chores around the camp. When I looked at the clock it was just three and I waivered for a minute, then sat down and tied some of the sulfurs that worked so well Tuesday night. I needn't have bothered. 

Left the camp at 4:30 and drove up to Deposit and circled the "Sulfur Zone". The busiest part was up around Stilesville although the river from Deposit down was much busier than Tuesday. Saw lots of wade anglers, and a marked increase in the boat traffic down to the Barking Dog takeout. There were still a few bugs at Stilesville and I did see a rising fish along the far bank. Saw neither bugs nor risers from Deposit to Hale Eddy. To be fair, 5:00 to 7:00 is the dead period between the hatches. Talked with anglers at Stilesville who said their were bugs and risers but very few fish hooked. Downriver at Barking Dog the report wasn't as rosy.

The fishing - It started promptly at 7:00 when the sun went behind the hill. Sulfurs came in the best numbers I've seen this season and the fish fed, lots of the big ones were up, some taking duns and some feeding sub surface. Had rising fish for two hours, and got my a-- kicked. Hooked three fish, all good sized. I was in a crotch deep fast paced run and I couldn't get the first fish back up to me as the combined weight of the algae that built up on the line and the fish were too heavy for my tippet. The hooked pulled out when the fish twisted in the water. Hooked and landed a 19 and a 16 incher, both of which I was able to work into slower water along the shore. BUT - maybe you don't understand, for the last half hour there were fish rising everywhere, eating everything that came by them - except my fly. I fished as well as I can. The fish were easy casts. The fly floated over fish countless times. Got six or eight refusals with all the rest of my casts seemingly ignored. It was exciting, frustrating and some of the most difficult dry fly fishing anyone could ask for.

 Know this - the evening fishing is the only sure thing. If you fish the "A" pools in the afternoon  you may or may not see sulfurs and rising fish. Just don't count on catching them. In the evening, you will see sulfurs and rising fish, some nights they will eat your fly and some nights they just won't.   


  • Jim Dygert: July 21, 2023

    I agree with Chris. The same scenario happened a few years ago on Oatka Creek in Mumford. Mergansers wiped out the fishery to the point of not seeing any trout. I fished it a few years ago and reeled in and left, along with several other fishermen. I have not been back since. It was always my first stream to hit for the early Hendrickson hatch and was usually very productive.

  • Chris Pitts: July 20, 2023

    I meant to reply to one of your earlier posts on there not being many smaller trout this year. I was reminded of this tonight when I watched 2 merganzers eat a 7-8 inch trout a piece. Those ducks after a few weeks in age will begin to eat their body weight in fish a day. That’s a lot of baitfish! The adolescence and adults will eat their weight in trout a day. The males are capable of easily eating a breeding size trout.
    When they find a safe place to breed they and their now breeding age young will return increasing their population year after year. Maybe I’m the only one who notices them virtually everywhere compared to a few places a few years ago.
    So a large amount of fish eating ducks eating their weight in baitfish and yearling trout doesn’t leave much for the largest of trout, who eat a lot of fish, to eat besides more smaller trout.
    A friend of mine a few years ago who works for the DEC said they are very destructive to a fishery that doesn’t have natural predators. The Adirondacks water ways and the finger lakes have largemouth bass, large pike, pickerel, and muskies, minks etc all of which love to eat ducklings. The same friend said that when the Adirondacks were frozen well into spring, six or so years ago, a lot of those ducks had to come farther south to nest. The deleware system was one of those places, a place with no predators! Also he said that the state used to allow the DEC to shoot them. Because of how bad they can be. I have heard from him and others that the state hasn’t wanted the image of state officials shooting animals so they stopped giving the permits to do so. Again it’s what I heard, I have no first hand knowledge of that.
    Either way next year there will more of the fish eating ducks than this year. And more the next following year and so on and so on.

  • jack: July 20, 2023

    You guys have way more patience than I do. I don’t mind; in fact, I enjoy, casting over fish that are refusing me…as long as I have a target, I’m entertained.
    But having to clean off my fly every third cast due to the algae is a non-starter, and I have left prime spots to others that don’t mind the constant cleaning process.
    {Especially true when fishing sizes 18 and smaller)

  • Ed Smith: July 20, 2023

    Angler119. Glad to hear you had a successful evening and landed some beautiful fish. I was in “the zone” yesterday afternoon and my experience was the same as the other anglers you spoke with . Some bugs , very few targets and no fish landed. Hooked iinto one small fish that I immediately thought ahhh”redemption “ but it jumped and popped off. I need to reserve more space on the bench

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