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Fly Fishing Report for the Upper Delaware and Catskill Rivers

September Action

It's hard to believe that this is my first Fly Fishing report of the 2020 season. I have been publishing the Baxter House report daily for over 20 years but chose to shut it down during covid 19. For the most part Baxter House Outfitters, our staff and I have remained very low key during the pandemic. Our Fly Shops retail location in Roscoe has remained closed and our guided trips have been running at a much lower volume than normal.

Over the summer we have been slowly increasing our trips and and for the last few weeks our guide staff has been on the water a lot. I personally have been on the water most days pursuing both Trout and warm water species with my guests. Currently we are running Fly Fishing trips daily for both Trout, Bass and Carp. All of our guides are available daily to get you out on the water. Starting this weekend we will be opening the Fly Shop for regular hours.


Right now things are looking up. After a long hot, dry summer some rainfall and cooler temperatures have finally arrived. All of our local rivers have increased their flows and it's raining while I am writing this report. In the coming weeks Trout fishing will pick up in a big way. The Tailwaters should start to see an increase in insect diversity. The Trout in our freestone waters will be trying to make up for lost time during hot period of July and August.

Our guides have been on the tailwaters daily and fishing the freestones at times. Right now the West Branch, East Branch and Upper Main Stem are fishing best while the Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Lower East Branch and Lower Main Stem have improving conditions.

Hatches have been hit or miss but the shortening days will increase insect activity steadily. Currently Sulfurs, BWO's, Isonychia, Tricos, Midges and Terrestrials are about. There have been some incredible swarms of flying ants recently. Overall the surface activity is best early and late day. The fishing is a bit technical as it always is with smaller insects. Long leaders and lighter tippet will give you an edge. I have my boat rods rigged with 15' leaders to 5X tippet. Some fish require an additional few feet of 6X to seal the deal. Here's a quick tip. I always try a terrestrial before going to lighter line. A # 12 or #14 black ant has a habit of making fussy Trout look like fools. Black ants are tough to see. I always have a rod rigged with a small cricket with the ant trailing about 12" back. Easy to see on the water and the cricket will provoke an occasional vicious take.

Nymphing and Streamer fishing have been putting the fish in the net for my guests on a regular basis. The nymphing has been excellent and I have had some recent days where we really ran the numbers up on streamers.

The key to success right now with both techniques is slowing down and working the water thoroughly. For nymphing success its best to match what's most abundant. Currently small Mayflies are about so Pheasant Tails nymphs smaller than #16 will be the ticket. On the East and West Branch #18 and #20 will get far more takes. Small custom flies that resemble these small mayfiles will at times get very hot. Recently our trigger nymphs have been producing some nice fish.

Both indicator and tight line techniques will take their share of fish. I have rods rigged both ways on my boat. Longer line presentations with the indicator have been getting it done on the tailwaters in the less complex water while tight line has been taking some nice ones from the deeper runs. September is a prime month for nymphing. Call today to book your date.

Many put the streamers away during periods of low clear water but that has never made sense to me. You can pick away at the trout right now on streamers if you are persistent. There is not a lot of steady insect activity so a quick baitfish meal is very appealing. I have been sticking to smaller flies. 2" to 4" in length. Both single and articulated flies have been producing. Currently there are lots of smaller fish that are getting their feed on. On all of my recent trips we have had steady action with juvenile brown trout. The early and late day periods have been producing some nice ones.

Night time fishing for Trophy Brown Trout has been good. Our staff expert Matt Hackett always becomes a complete creature of darkness during the summer. He has been introducing many people to Mr. Brown. He will continue night trips for a few more weeks.

The warm water action has been great! Our guides have been doing a lot of trips for Bass and Carp. These trips have been full of action. We are currently targeting the Lower Main Stem Delaware along with some smaller Delaware and Susquehanna tributaries. No need to go deep into the specifics. I'll let some photos describe the action

Give us a call today to plan your Autumn Fishing. Our guides will be available through November. Autumn is prime time so call us early to make sure you get a trip during the heavy Blue Wing Olive hatches. 607-290-4022

Now is also the time to give us a call to get on my Florida / Tampa Bay calendar for this winter.

Baxter House News- This spring we sold the Baxter House B&B in Roscoe. We are no longer in the lodging business. Our future will focus on providing the highest quality Guided Fly Fishing trips and our Fly Shop.

We currently have a lot of the framed art and decor from the Baxter House for sale in the fly shop. If you are looking for some cool wall decor stop in.

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