Yup, I'm singing them. Just call them the Gazette Fishing Report blues. It's not the blues for me. It's for those poor folks who provide the reports each week.
Every year, I hear the same things. "That guy said the river was clear and I went and it was muddy," someone will say. Another will call and tell me, "That guy said the fishing was good and I went and it was lousy." Yet another will e-mail and chime in, "Why don't you give the report for Nunya Lake and, while you're at it, get someone else to provide it for you. The insect hatch he talked about was done when I got there."
Perhaps the biggest problem with fishing reports is timing. It works like this. I call the assorted sources it takes to put a report together on Tuesdays and hear what the fishing and water conditions were like over the previous weekend. Then the report runs on Thursdays and fishermen take to the water two days later on the following weekend. That means most fishermen are on the water a full week after the conditions in the report.
Rivers can drop and clear a lot in seven days. Or, snowmelt or rainstorms can hit and waters can go from clear to a sea of brown mud. Lake and reservoir conditions can change a lot, too, over the course of a week.
Most fishermen tend to like the fishing report each week. But you have to realize that it's not flawless -- it's just a guide to changing fishing conditions over the course of a summer to give anglers a running start on choosing where to go and how to fish. It's not that the people giving the report are lying. Anyone who needs more up-to-the-minute information should contact local fly shops or marinas the day before they go. As for the Gazette Fishing Report, we're trying to be as accurate as possible and provide the best information we can. -- mark