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Fly Fishing Report for the Upper Delaware River and Catskill Streams


It's starting to feel like fall in the mountains. The overnight temperatures have been in the low 40's and our mountains are already showing some color change. Our weather forecast is calling for a slight warming trend and beautiful weather through the weekend. Now is a great time to plan a trip to the mountains!

We are still in a long period without any substantial rainfall in our region. This dry spell has many of our local rivers at very low levels. The rivers most effected by the lack of rain are the Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Lower East Branch and the many tributaries that feed these rivers. At this time there is not much flow on these rivers and we are not recommending that anglers fish these water.

There is great fishing however in the Upper East branch, Upper West branch and in the Main Delaware River. The Upper East is always cold from the releases from Pepacton. There are lots of deep pools and structure so the wild trout here have plenty of room.

Over the last few weeks the releases from Cannonsville reservoir have been fluctuating but most days the output has been on the high side. These releases have made the West Branch and Main Delaware an oasis in an otherwise dry region.

Since the flow increases started the fishing has really improved. Currently there is great action on both Dry Flies and on Nymphs if you target the correct locations. The nymphing has been exceptional and our guests who have been fishing with our guides have been running the numbers up every day.


Right now there are a lot of insects around but no huge numbers of any one species. The 2 most abundant this week have been BWO'S and Flying Ants. There have been times where these 2 insects have covered the water and the fish have gorged on them. This action has however been area specific and one section can be boiling with fish while a nearby section appears void of life. It pays to keep moving until you find the action. When you do, stay put for as long as you can.

There are also Isonychia, Hex, Hebes, Cahills, Caddisflies, Stoneflies and more. There have been quite a few of the giant October Caddis about.

While we all like to set up on rising fish don't discount fishing the riffle water blind. The fish are hungry and prospecting the water is a high percentage method at this time. Big meaty dry flies are a good choice. Most days I use my huge Isonychia Cripple but a Stimulator of Wulff style fly will get you noticed.


Nymphing has been red hot and based on the weather report the action should continue. Right now the fish are pretty stacked into and around the rivers heaviest water. The fish always remain in this water until the Olive hatches get really heavy and force them to return to the slow pools for easy feeding. Currently the weather is not correct for these olives. The cold weather olives are still a future event.

Currently there are 2 thing to know. If you are fishing the Tailwaters, Upper East Branch and Upper West Branch go small. These rivers were producing small Sulfurs and small Olives all summer. The fish are used to seeing tiny nymphs and that is what they eat. Size #16 and Smaller nymphs are the key to steady action. Our guides fish our custom Trigger Nymphs in combination with both Bead Head and standard Pheasant Tails most of the time. These nymphs fished drag free will keep the rod bent.

If you like the Big water of the Delaware and other sections that have extensive riffle and pocket water, big flies are better. These sections are where the larger insects have been active and the tiny flies are yet to come. Currently these areas are alive with bigger bugs and the fish will pounce on meaty offerings.

Currently our guides are fishing quite a few different patterns. Every day you have to tinker a little to become dialed in. Once you crack the code the action is fast and furious. Most of the tinkering has to due with the light on the water. Bright sunny days are best. It gets more difficult as light diminishes due to clouds or overcast skies. The old saying of Light fly on light day and dark fly on dark day has some merit but I frame it a little differently. I think that more transparent on bright days to more solid nymphs on dark days is a better way of thinking. Opaque is for the in-between.

To make choices easier think sparkle and flash when the sun is bright and dull during overcast skies. Here are my choices for the next few weeks. BH Rubber Legs, BH Wired Stoneflies, BH Isonychia, Zug Bugs, Prince, Tungsten and Standard Ice Pupa and BH and Standard Pheasant Tails. #10 to #16 is the sweet spot on the Main Delaware at this time. Currently I am rigging 2 larger nymphs along with a # 16 pheasant tail

One quick note on the action- Over the last 2 weeks my guests have been running the numbers up every day. Currently about 7 of every 10 fish have been on the smaller pheasant tail. Most every day however our largest fish comes on one of the larger bugs.

Below are two shots, a small pheasant tail and a zug bug that have been shredded by the steady takes.

If you want to get out for a fun day of fishing now is the time to give us a call. Our guides will be available until the end of October for float and wade trips. Call today at 607-290-4022 to talk fishing and to schedule a trip.

I will be heading to Florida in Mid October and plan to begin my guiding in Tampa Bay the week of Oct. 21. If you are planning a warm weather getaway this winter take a look at our Tampa Bay Fishing Page

The area where I fish has great winter fishing for Snook, Redfish, Spotted Sea Trout and much more..

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