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Upper Delaware Fly Fishing Report


Above is a nice Brown Trout taken on an ICE PUPA from under some nasty white water.

This weekend anglers will have lots of options for fishing in the Upper Delaware Region. The fishing conditions have improved considerably in all of our rivers, lakes and reservoirs. This change has mostly been brought about by the cooler weather and especially the very cool nights.

The West Branch and the Main Stem Delaware are in the best shape of all our rivers. This is due to the heavy releases from Cannonsville Reservoir to satisfy the Montague, NJ flow target. This morning the release from Cannonsville is at 1257 cfs. which is cooling the Main Stem throughout the entire range of the Trout fishery.

Anglers planning to fish this weekend should find the best action to come on nymph rigs fished in the faster water, riffles and pocket water. This is where the fish spent the summer months and they are still in these locations.

There is dry fly action every day but you have to be in the right place at the right time for blitz like action when Isonychia are emerging. There are also white fly, Cahills, Olives, Caddisflies and Midges.

The first sustained dry fly activity since summer occurred over the last 2 days. On the Main Stem large sections of the river have been totally covered with flying ants. The last 2 days there were so many flying ants that they remained on the water from noon until dark. There were Trout up feeding on them in places throughout the day but so was every other creature in the river. During yesterdays float there were also Fallfish, Smallmouth Bass, Shad (mature and juvenile) and minnows. Some of the long pools had so many small fish rising to the ants that the pools were rippled from the activity.

Currently our guides are rigging our guests with nymph rigs under strike indicators. This technique is the best approach when floating from drift boat. Our fly choices are no surprise. Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Ice Pupas, BH Soft Hackles (Iso Colors). The action has been steady and our guests have been running the numbers up on our full day float trips.

On the Surface side our guides have been rigging 2 rods per angler. One rod with a 3X or 4X tippet and our Baxter House Isonychia Cripple. This is our throw it everywhere fly. We have great luck prospecting the water and covering the riffles with it. Recently this fly has been getting a lot of attention from the hungry Delaware Rainbows. Our other rod is rigged more delicately and we change from 5X to 6X tippet. This is the rod we fish tiny Olives and Flying Ants with. The longer lighter leaders are a must for fooling the trout on the glass like pools of the West Branch and Main Stem.

In the coming days anglers can expect to have sporadic surface activity with Isonychia throughout the afternoon hours. You should focus on the fast water or in the deeper pools that are known summertime refuges. This is where the Trout are at this time. The best advice is to be near fast water when the insects appear much of the current activity is brief.. The same advice holds true at dark. Every night the action gets hot right before dark. The best activity is in the riffs at the heads of deep pools and in the pocket water. A big Spinner or Isonychia Cripple will draw steady attention.

The Smallmouth Bass action is still HOT!. Currently there are millions of this seasons juvenile shad making their way down river. There are place where the water has been exploding from gamefish chasing these tiny treats to the surface. In most years this action lasts through the month of September.

These tiny shad are 3" to 4" long. At this time streamer flies in white /Silver and Rapala's in the same size are deadly.

This year I have been noticing an uptick in the Stripped Bass activity in some sections. We have been encountering a lot of Small Stripers 12" to 15" while Bass Fishing. Below is a photo of a 12" bass that attacked a rapala during a smallie trip.

NOW is the time to plan your next Upper Delaware Trip. The action is improving daily.

Give us a call today to book a float trip at 607-290-4022

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