Early Season Caleb Smith State Park

April 8 – Wednesday

Up at 5:45 and at the river by 7 on a cold, rainy Long Island day.  I had the park to myself as other would be fishers chose to stay under the covers.  Clarence was at the check-in booth. It was good to see him after a long winter. I usually would have been with him at the spring casting clinic but it was cancelled due to snow.  We spoke of projects LITU could do for him and I promised to come with Peter and talk it over soon.

I headed for the river, stopping at the ponds along the way. I vividly recall casting to large cruising rainbows here one April in the snow too many years ago.  I tossed a few streamers out but no one was interested. I let the last one sink well down and lost it to a log.

Moving on to the river, I noticed a new bench installed along the path to beat 5/4.  A tribute to Gil Padavoni, a Long Island Flyrodder of note.  They will be dedicating it soon with a memorial and story-telling session. A bit further on is his brother’s bench, Gian. Those who give to this sport are well remembered here.

I entered at 5/4 and fished down slowly and carefully with a Green Woolly Bugger and then a Black Leech but did not get a hit on either.  I changed to one lightly tied bugger with a long tail and received the just reward of three short hits in the bend pool on 5. I shortened the tail but they were no longer interested. I went with an old favorite, a black nosed dace, which I lost in a fish due to old tippet I was too cold to change. Then to a Mickey Finn which rode high and elicited a dry fly like strike without a hookup.

I walked back up to the head of 4 which is a very narrow stretch with deep holes. I should have nymphed it deep as there were plenty of fish, which I scattered with my bumbling early season antics. I came across a rising fish – well really a risen fish – not soon to repeat and considered a small Blue Wing Olive.  I also saw some black stone flies with white wings and considered switching to a Prince Nymph. I ended up trying the BWO and worked my way back up until it was time to go.

It was good to be on the river and casting a rod. I love Caleb Smith State Park. I will be back soon to work this beat again.

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Tom's Fishing Stories

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