Fly Fishing Report for the Upper Delaware and Catskill Rivers
All Upper Delaware and Catskill rivers are bank full from the recent bands of rain that have been moving through the region every day. The Baxter House fishing guides have been very busy since most river sections are best fished by boat at this time.
After yesterdays heavier rain wade anglers will find their options limited to the Willowemoc, Beaverkill and Upper East Branch this coming weekend. Everywhere else is above the threshold for safe wading. With that said, anglers should be careful since the rivers I mentioned as fishable are still in high water conditions.
For anglers fishing from Drift boats it's game on! Give us a call today to check on open dates for your next float trip. 607-290-4022
For the next 24 hours streamers are your best choice. Whenever we get a big bump in flow and increased turbidity the Trout get aggressive. In similar conditions 3 days ago the streamer bite was on fire. Larger articulated streamers are the choice on the East Branch. In all our other river 3" or smaller streamers will be the hot item. Our Woolly Buggers, Clousers and EP Style Baitfish have been getting attention.
The nice Brown below took a very small articulated custom streamer.
The dry fly action has been excellent but at the current heavy flows there should be a temporary decrease in surface activity. I expect most all of the surface feeding in the coming days to be in the established foam lines out in the middle of the slowest pools. At the higher flows most of the activity is pushed to the tailouts. The largest fish will be staged up at the exact point where the current is barely moving. Anglers should also be aware that autumn feeders rarely hold position. Now is the time period for cruising fish. The cruising activity is however easy to predict. Keep your fly in the foam and you will get reliable takes. Everywhere foam accumulates the tiny Olives also accumulate. Autumn trout stay under the foam. You really need to make sure that every drift starts well upstream of the last rise and totally in the foam. If the foam patterns keep changing plan your casts to the next closest foam line, the Trout stay below the foam at all times when the are actively feeding.
Small Olives are your best choice at this time. I have been starting with # 16 flies and downsizing based on how fussy the fish are. In most instances the #16 has been getting the job done but there are exceptions. These exceptions mostly occur in areas that get a lot of pressure.
On a recent float I had this happen after we already had a dozen confident takes on #16 olive patterns. I found 3 really big Browns (20"+) feeding in a dead spot along the river bank. Large Isonychia and Large Sulfurs were floating by untouched as were our larger olive patterns. I went down the sizes, #16 to #18, nothing, #20 nothing, #22 all three giant browns eat on the first presentation. We lost all 3 fish but it was cool to fool them.
The best patterns are still our CDC Knock Downs and Cripples. If CDC is not for you then Baxter House Hackled Cripples, Catskill Traditionals and Parachutes are the way to go. All of these are shown in the photos below. With the Traditional's I most always cut the bottom of the hackle flat. This makes the land upright every time and causes them to sit lower on the water. This slight alteration really adds to the illusion of vulnerability.
Some recent fish taken on these exact patterns.