Fishing Report for the Upper Delaware River and Catskill Region
We are now officially experiencing summer conditions all around the region. So far we are off to a fairly normal summer. Hot sunny days and not much rain other than an occasional passing thunder storm. All of the heavy rainfall that hammered much of the east this week completely missed the Upper Delaware.
Currently our freestone rivers are running low, clear and on the warm side. The waters of the Lower Beaverkill, Lower Willowemoc, East Branch and Lower Main Stem are all on the warm side for catch and release trout fishing.
The headwaters of these rivers are still cool enough for morning fishing. The extreme upper reaches of these rivers always stay cool.
The tailwater sections of the East and West branches are icy cold from reservoir releases. These areas are the best choice for chasing trout.
At this time of year our area also offers a near unlimited amount of fishing in Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs. There are also countless high mountain lakes and ponds throughout the region that support great populations of game fish.
Our guides are very busy at this time. With all of the options available, the summer is the time where we plan a lot of custom trips. We are currently offering the following trips.. All are available for full and half days. You can also plan more than one type of fishing in a single day.
Tailwater Trout - Dry Fly and Nymph fishing ( drift boat or wade)
Evening Hatch Float Trip. (4:00pm until dark)
Night Mousing and Creature fishing for trophy Brown Trout (drift boat)
Smallmouth Bass and Walleye floats
Trophy Smallmouth Bass Trips. (sight fishing)- (Drift Boat / Raft) -One on one with guide only
Sight Fishing for Carp. (drift boat / Raft) - One on one with guide only
Small Stream Brook Trout fishing (wade fishing, hiking)
THE FLY FISHING REPORT for TROUT
Right now the action is on the Upper East and West branches. As is always the case in summer the Trout and the Insects have fallen into a fairly predictable and reliable daily routine.
Both rivers are getting regular afternoon hatches of Sulfurs. This has been a mix of Invaria and Vitreus sulfurs which are pretty big insects. There is always a dead period between 5:00 and 7:30 which is followed by a huge emergence of the smaller Dorothea sulfurs. Both of these hatches offer great match the hatch dry fly fishing.
In addition to the sulfurs there is a good mix of other insects about. Anglers can expect to find some Trico activity early in the day. As the summer progresses this activity becomes more and more reliable.
There are also Isonychia, Cahills, Olives, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, Mayfly Spinners and Terrestrials. There are a lot of ants and beetles. On breezy days these land based creatures always find their way onto the water. As summer progresses Midges also start to play an important role in the trouts diet. Many times you will find a steady riser in flat water that seems to be eating nothing. Many East and West branch fish have learned to eat the tiny stuff to avoid us. My favorites for these sneaky eaters are the Serendipity, Griffiths Gnat, My Hammer Midge and simple CDC and Thread midges. Some of my favorites below
All of the dry fly fishing should be considered to be technical at this time. The waters are low and clear. Now is the time for long, light leaders. I am currently building my leaders out to 15'+ at this time. I always try the fish with 5x but sometimes 6x is the difference in getting takes. Most days length is more important than the thickness of the line. The longer the leader the more natural the fly will float. Drag free natural floats are the key under the current conditions. Only Show them the Fly!
The nymphing is good on both rivers if you put your time in and cover the riffles methodically. Small flies are the key to success on the tailwaters. The dominant insect now are the small sulfurs and they come out of small nymphs. A #18 is the standard now for consistent takes. Number 20 will get even more takes but Delaware fish are tough to hold on any small fly.
Light and long on the leaders is key below the surface as well. I always use multiple fly nymph rigs. Usually I rig a triple rig. Currently I have 3 nymph rods on the boat. The nymphs are the same but the setups vary. It is important now to have setups that can present nymphs in every layer of the water column. Most days the upper 1/3 of the water is where the action is. The only place I avoid right now is the bottom. After months of eating surface flies the trout are looking up for their food. Some of my favorites for summer - Trigger nymphs, hot spots, pheasant tails, ice pupas.
Smallmouth Bass, Carp and Warm Water
For those who have not chased the warm water species in the Upper Delaware, you don't know what you are missing. We have a lot of options. The Main Delaware is one of the Best Smallmouth rivers anywhere. From Callicoon downstream there are huge numbers of these hard fighting fish. We fish both Fly and Spin tackle on this section. This is the trip to take your kids fishing.
For the serious Smallie fishermen we also offer one on one sight fishing trips for big Smallmouth. These are serious fish on light fly tackle. On these trips we fish from our Stealth Raft and target out of the way places that get very light angling pressure.
If you plan on fishing smallies here's what were doing. POPPERS! Our main Stem Delaware trips are all about the popper. We also have lots of success with a variety of Streamers. Zonkers, Urchin Buggers, Articulated Baitfish and Crayfish patterns will take the bigger fish. For steady action smaller woolly buggers will keep the rod bent. Some of my custom articulated baitfish