Upper Delaware River and Catskill Fly Fishing Report
Summer River Conditions and the Holiday Weekend
It's summer now and the river and fishing conditions have quickly changed over to what you would normally expect during July and August.
Currently the choices for Trout fishing are quickly narrowing while the opportunities for Smallmouth Bass are expanding.
Here is the latest on Trout
As is always the case in summer the best action is on the Upper East Branch, Upper West Branch, and Upper Main Stem. The freestones, Beaverkill, Willowemoc and Lower East will be thermally challenged for a while. Currently these rivers are pushing up past 70 degrees on warm sunny days. Anglers should look to fish early in the day and stick to the upper reaches where the waters are colder.
The Upper East and Upper West are icy cold and will provide great sport all summer long. Our guides will fish trout all summer long with a variety of different trips available.
below are today's flows
Currently the Upper West has the better conditions. At the current flow of 684 cfs. the trout here are challenging but still approachable. The Upper East is at 185 cfs. which leaves most of the river running super slow. If you fish here now make sure you bring your "A" Game. The fish are right in front of your face but totally aware of you. You need to wade like a heron and cast like Lefty now.
I have still been fishing this river every day but both the nymphing and dry fly fishing has become very technical. If you want to learn the techniques needed to catch Upper Delaware trout in summer, now is the time to book a trip.
On both rivers now is the time for lighter, longer leaders and a stealthy approach. All of my rods now have 15' + leaders for fishing dry. Despite the fact that there are still lots of big bugs around small flies are the key to fooling the trout during the sunny portions of the day. Towards dark when the fish feed steadily a larger spinner will still get confident takes.
The nymph fishing is also technical but the right setup will keep your rod bent. Now is the time for the small stuff. I am still running triple nymph rigs but all of the flies are now downsized. Tungsten Beads on our small trigger nymphs, pheasant tails, and midge larva for indicator fishing. If tight lining is your game add a big Isonychia to your rig since these are emerging well.
Our guides are now offering combination night trips that start out fishing dry and end up stripping Mice and other creatures for Big Browns. Below are a pair of Browns from guide Matt Hackett's trip lat night.
Here are the insects that are on the water now. #1 - large and small sulfurs, this will be the main staple every day through summer.
Isonychia are emerging in big numbers
Olives are around on cloudy, rainy days.
Cahills near dark
Mixed caddisfles all day long, none in big numbers.
Trico's beginning to show in the mornings on tailwaters
Midges becoming more important everywhere
mixed spinners every night. A good option at any time of day.
terrestrials- ants, beetles, caterpillars
Lastly there are still a fair amount of Drakes about. On the East branch I am still seeing a few dozen emerging each day and Coffinflies have been in the air every night. The numbers are dwindling but it is amazing that they are around in early July.
This week our guides have been on the Delaware chasing Smallmouth Bass with both Fly and Light Spin tackle. Currently the water temps. are just getting into the range where these great game fish hit high gear. This week the numbers of fish per day has been on the climb.
I am currently rigging several rods for streamers. I like to have both a sink tip and a full floating line available to match the water depths that are constantly changing as you float. I will always have a rod rigged with a surface popper at this time.
Down deep I like to rig tandem streamers. My favorites for Smallies are circus peanuts and other 3" to 5" articulated streamers like my custom patterns below. I like to put a teaser fly about 20" to 24" in front. These are usually smaller buggers, zonkers and leeches.
Short stripping a nymph rig is also an effective method. I like to string together a few rubber leg stoneflies and retreive them with quick 4" strips of the fly line.
On the Surface traditional Popper Flies and Dahlberg Divers are my choice. Strip aggressively but make sure to take long pauses. The fish always hit on the pause.
During the Summer months our guides offer far more trip options than during spring and fall.
Currently we have full day trips for trout and bass. Half day trips for trout and bass. Evening dry fly floats. Combo dry fly and mousing. All night mousing. Morning Trico Fishing.
We also have some options for targeting off the grid locations for trophy smallies.