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Upper Delaware River and Catskill Fly Fishing Report

Late June Action on the Delaware

It's summer now and the Trout fishing conditions remain great throughout the Upper Delaware River System. Water flows remain on the high side for early summer and there are still some areas where wading access remains a bit challenging. As we head into the weekend anglers can expect to see the flows continue to drop slowly. There is always a chance of passing thunder storms at this time of year and over the weekend there is a chance on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Other than that we are forecast for sun with temps. around 80 degrees.

With the current trend of falling river flows and 80 degree temperatures the freestones, Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Lower East and Main Stem Delaware will fish best in the early hours of the day. The Upper East branch and Upper West have solid releases and are running icy cold.

With spring coming very late to the region this year our insect hatches are running a solid 3 weeks behind schedule. Our big bug hatches are still ongoing. Every day this week our guests have been taking big brown trout on our large Green and Brown Drake dry fly patterns. At night Coffinflies and White Wulffs have been the ticket. Looking forward there should be more big bug activity since the Isonychia hatch rarely gets hot until after the drakes are done.

If you are planning to get out here is the scoop. First off there is no place that will provide great dry fly activity all day long at this time. That fantasy land does not exist but our guides try to simulate it through making several well timed moves throughout the day. We have been using this approach for several decades and it's what keeps our clients rods bent. An example of a current trip with us may include. Several short float trips in different stretches or a mix of walk wading and floating. These moves sometimes include several different rivers in one day.

Currently there are lots of options throughout the Delaware River system. You can still fish trout about everywhere and there is the possibility of taking trout on Dry Flies, Nymphs and Streamers. With the warming weather Smallmmouth Bass and Walleye are also options.


Right now the daily dry fly activity has settled into a pretty predictable pattern. The reliability varies from a sure thing on the Upper East and Upper West branches to flurries of activity on the freestones. If the freestones are your thing look for action early and late. The heat of the day has been a dead zone. Anglers also need to be aware of late day water temps. on the freestones. Anglers who fish the Beaverkill should also be aware that the river section downstream of the Horton Bridge to the highway overpasses closes to fishing on Monday July 1. This section protects wild trout in the event of very hot low water. That is not the current case but it will close regardless.

On the Upper East the action is steady and predictable. Both river are having great emergence periods in early afternoon with Big and Small Sulfurs. This activity can occur at any time from noon on but it always ends pretty abruptly around 5pm. There is most always a dead zone for a few hours before the action kicks in again with a mix of emerging insects and returning spinners. Dark is the magic time now. Eat dinner in the dead zone and fish late.

The Bugs are about in great numbers for the date. The main staple is the sulfurs. They are here for the summer and the fish will eat them every day. There are also Green and Brown Drakes, Isonychia, BWO'S, assorted Caddisflies, Stoneflies and some terrestrials (ants, beetles).

Now is a great time for a guided float trip. Our guides are offering both full and half day trips. Our half day trips can be either morning or evening float trips which target the dry fly action. We also offer daybreak streamer trips and dark time mouse and creature stripping trips.

Here is a small sample of the action from the last few days

When we settle into our normal summer river flows I will be offering my advance nymphing technique trips. These are full day trips that will have you going sub surface with many different rods and rigs.


This week we started offering our very popular smallmouth bass trips. The Delaware River is an amazing smallmouth fishery. It is well known for producing crazy numbers of smallies. Most are around 12" but we catch some big ones every day. Walleye are also abundant and most days a few of these wind up in the net. These trips are our number one recommendation for introducing young anglers to river fishing.

Our staff offers both Fly Fishing and Light tackle trips for these hard fighting game fish. The trips are 4 hour, 6 hour or 8 hour.

Right now on the fly. Try 3" to 4" articulated baitfish. My favorites are circus peanuts in Rusty Brown and Olive, Marabou Baitfish and Delaware Chew Toys.

Clouser Minnows are the standard and they are killer here when you need to get down. We have them tied in 6 different colors. My favorite is pink and white. Some days the Delaware Smallies crave Pink. Yellow and white is my second choice. The more traditional colors are best on the gray overcast days.

Under the current conditions a short sink tip may get you into the right depth and lead to more strikes.

When the waters warm a bit our guides will focus most of the day to targeting smallies on the surface. Small Poppers and Dahlburg Divers are my favorites and the Delaware smallies will attack both.

If light tackle is your game soft baits on light jigs are best now. These will get you near the bottom and this is where most of the fish are at this time. Kei-Tec is my favorite but Gulp, Zoom and Senkos are proven offerings.

As the flows drop and the water temps. rise look to the rapala type crank and jerk baits and surface poppers.

Yesterday our guides kicked off the summer with our first big group trip. The conditions were not that great since the water is still a little high and on the cold side for smallies. Despite the less than perfect conditions a lot of fish came to net. Smallies of all sizes, a bunch of Walleyes and a Trout or two. Here are some great shots from the day. Photos courtesy of guides - Zach Anderson, Rich McCombie, Marty Yi and Dean Clavio


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