Mid Week Update
Over the last 2 days the water levels have been dropping. The degree that the water has fallen depends on the river. Our freestones as always have dropped the most. The Willowemoc and Beaverkill have dropped dramatically from where they crested Monday morning.
The Tailwaters have dropped but they will eventually settle out and remain steady. When this happens it will likely be at flows that are either in the upper ranges of most wade anglers ability or above. This is due to both reservoirs spilling over their dams. We can expect to see high water here for some time. (now is a great time to book a float trip!)
With that said there should be some decent opportunity for wade fishing this weekend. My forecast for good wade fishing in a few days is however dependent on no additional rainfall. The current forecast looks like we have a good chance of getting hit again on Friday. Right now the forecast is a bit vague since it is always difficult to predict what happens in the mountains.
We will provide weather and accurate river reports as thing develop.
As of today Baxter House has no intention of cancelling our guided float trips that are scheduled. High water fishing is always good from boat and our guides know how to locate fish in about every flow stage.
Currently anglers can expect drift trips to be a mix of Streamer and dry fly fishing. At current flows mostly streamer fishing. Our guides have been on the water regularly since the opener and Zach and Marty even fished the heavy water yesterday. If you work the water hard the opportunity for Big Browns is very good. Our guides are currently targeting the deepest pools and areas with large structure features that protect the trout from the flows. This is where the fish are and these areas need to be worked over. Now is the time to hunt for areas that a big trout could be. The number one priority is protection from flow.
As for fly choice and tackle here's my method. Right now 8 weights are the best choice. You need a rod that can throw weight and not wear your arms out. I use floating lines in super high water simply because mending is the key to dropping vertically into the trouts hiding spot. This is very difficult with sinking and sink tip lines which will swing the fly out of the target zone quickly.
Flies are a pretty easy choice. Most always I will rig my guests with a double rig. I don't fluctuate much on the rigging. Look to build a leader around 10 feet long. I normally uses straight mono for the entire leader, 25 or 20 pound fluorocarbon. I tie in a dropper about 18" from the end.
My normal searching rig consists of a 5" to 7" articulated streamer on the end of the leader. I normally fish a 3" fly on the teaser. This is my normal set up but it is the only constant in my strategy for finding fish.
The flies are the deal sealer and this is where the tinkering come in. Most anglers give very little thought to the streamers they have in their boxes and the when and how to use them. My flies are tools and they are used in very specific ways.
It is important to have big and small. I have streamers from 1" to 10" in my box for trout. Having single hook, articulated and string flies is a must.
Having flies tied with different materials is a must. Soft materials undulate and breathe in the water. Stiff materials cause flies to keel, dart, flash and tumble. Some of the newer synthetic materials fall somewhere in between the two.
The last factor to consider in fly choice is how water and light effects them. All flies will fall into 3 categories, solid, opaque and transparent. Each has it's time and place.
In my box I have Single hook, string and articulated styles tied with soft and stiff materials, and with examples of each in solid, opaque and translucent looks.
When laid out in the above manner you can see that there is a pretty big range of fly types to choose from.
Every day when I start my guests fishing I start whittling down the number of fly type options until I dial in on what the fish are seeing in the prevailing conditions. Once dialed in on type you can expect to see regular takes throughout the day.
Here are some tips for dialing in quickly.
1. Always start with 2 flies that are completely different. An example would be an articulated fly with soft undulating materials paired with a single hook, keeling type fly constructed with stiff synthetic wing material.
2. Match the water clarity. Solid colors are for heavily turbid waters. Transparent flies are for crystal clear water and bright sun. The others are for the in- betweens.
Below are some of my flies and the characteristics of their style and materials.
keeling / opaque
Translucent / undulating
Darting / solid
Keeling / opaque
undulating / solid
All of the above flies and more are available at - https://baxterhouseflyfishing.com/collections/flies/Streamer-flies
There are almost as many different choices for how to present the fly.
For early season and high water the following has proven to be most effective for me over 45 years of chasing trout with the fly rod.
Extremely sharp strips followed by long pauses. The strips vary from 4" to 5" to several feet in a single strip. Your stripping should never have a steady rhythm, they should be random and unpredictable. An example would be (strip- strip-pause, strip- pause- strip, etc.) Pauses should be varied and never of the same duration. In early season the pause is what normally seals the deal.
As the season progresses so will how the trout want you to feed them. The key to feeding them regularly lies in the combinations listed above, it's just about fine tuning.
Examples of this approach play out every year with our guests. We take plenty of fish every month of the season and from every water condition. Last season the best streamer fish taken on my boat was this 25" Delaware River Brown that ate a totally translucent fly, mid day in full sun.
Give us a call today to reserve your spring and summer dates. Our guides are available 7 days a week, day or night. 607-290-4022
Don't forget to stop by the shop before heading to the river. We are now open daily!