Well folks, the fish are here. Good numbers of fish are in the system, all the way up. Before today's rain, most of the fish were in the middle river on Elk. Decent numbers were still in the lower areas, and a few had run up into McKean. Numbers were fair, with fish active and moving despite low water conditions during low light hours. Concentrations of fish in deep pools were catchable with downsized flies and light presentations (for more on this see my article, "Low Water Tactics" in the blog section).
Now that the remnants of Hurricane Patricia have blown the streams out, it is anyone's guess as to how many new fish will enter the system. Hurricane related weather patterns have triggered fantastic runs in previous years, especially when no major rain event preceded them. Our fall has been a warm, dry one, so I would assume that this should make or break our numbers.
Look for fresh fish to attack flies after the water drops. Fish that entered the system before this event should still be relatively fresh, as there were no fish in the system only a few weeks ago. I expect the next two or three weeks to represent the best fishing of the year.
In other news, the gem of the area has been the Cattaraugus in New York. It has been a great many years since I have seen the quality of fishing that I have seen over there in the last few days, including one 30 plus hookup day. Albeit, it is the Catt, and I had gotten skunked in the same exact areas only a couple days before. Overall, the bulk of reports over there have been good. What a shame it is that the Seneca Nation prohibits floating the river, and does not offer guide licensing. Hopefully this will change eventually. Regardless, half of the river below the dam exists outside of the reservation, where guiding and floating is legal. This rain will keep the Catt muddy for at least five days, barring any new precipitation. When it clears, look out!