Fly Fishing at Letchworth State Park : the Grand Canyon of the East

My family and I went to Letchworth State Park (south of Rochester) to relax prior to the kitchen remodel and to camp with family. Of course I was thinking about fly fishing, where I can go and what I would be fishing for… so I researched the opportunities on the internet and identified bass, panfish and pike. Great! So I geared up for that with my 6 wt rod and some appropriate flies.

Away we went to Letchworth. Wow what a beautiful place (see picture). Who would have thought such a place existed in New York State. This state never stops amazing me. We setup our campsite and enjoyed the evening. The next day we identified the areas that the park had provided as areas to fish. Only 2 places on the Genesee River. The problem was that with the heavy rains we received during this time, the water was chocolate and not exactly a good fly fishing option. However, they identified a place called the “trout pond” as another place to fish. My instincts told me that since we are in the middle of summer that most trout would be deep and uncooperative.

So we went to the trout pond that morning. I was excited to see some surface activity. There were rainbow trout and panfish in the pond, both of which were active swimming around. Of course I was excited to see what opportunities the pond life had in store. As I approached the pond I could see midge activity both on the water as well as in the air. These midges were small white flies that were hatching and flying around the pond.

I looked through the fly boxes I brought with me. My first idea was to try an olive wooly bugger since there were also damselflies flying around. So I tied it on and scared a few trout. A sunfish was interested for a short period of time, pulled the tail of the bugger and spit it out. Ok, so we have finicky fish. Well I dug through my flies and was hoping to tie on a midge. All I would find was a size 16 white mayfly pattern. It was way too big, but I thought it was worth a try. I had a few looks both by trout and by panfish. I even got a hit by a trout, but almost as a joke, he didn’t really take it. I tried a few more patterns but nothing. I think that these fish were heavily fished and were very picky. I wish I brought some trout flies with me that day. Oh well, I guess no matter what you are fishing for, it should include a wide array of flies from midges to streamers.