Beaverkill River - Roscoe, NY
This is an Article I wrote a long time ago. This was a short information piece on the Beaverkill. It has appeared on tourism web sites, visitors guides etc. over the last 2 decades. Some of the information is now outdated, most specifically the change to open all year Trout Fishing in NY State and creel limits.
The Beaverkill River has been one of America’s favorite Trout Streams since the early 19th. Century. The River and the Roscoe area were one of the first resort destinations in the United States.
The number of Famous Fishermen connected with the region are numerous, and include Theodore Gordon, Rube Cross, AE Hendrickson, Joan and Lee Wulff, Harry and Elsie Darbee, Walt and Winnie Dette, and others.
The Beaverkill river rises from springs deep in the Catskill Mountains in the Western Part of Ulster County, NY. From here the river flows in a westerly direction for 44 miles before entering the East Branch of the Delaware in the town of East Branch, NY. The Beaverkill River is a freestone river that is comprised of a beautiful mix of Riffles, Runs, Pocket Water and Pools. Mother Nature seems to have created the famous named pools just outside of town with the Dry Fly Fisherman in mind!
The pristine waters of the Beaverkill are home to a vast array of insects. Throughout the fishing season anglers are treated to profuse hatches of Mayflies, Caddisflies and Stoneflies. The sheer abundance of insects is overwhelming at times and newcomers are sometimes awestruck as they stand in the midst of a snowstorm like flight of Caddisflies. This abundance of insects however is the reason that Fly Fishermen have held this river in such high esteem for 2 centuries.
Anglers today will find a much different fishery than visitors a century ago. In that era the main quarry was the Native Brook Trout. Currently the Beaverkill is home to Wild Brook Trout, Wild and Stocked Brown Trout and Wild Rainbow Trout. These days most of the Brook Trout are found in the headwaters of the river. It is in the cold tumbling waters of these upper reaches where these Beautiful Fish really thrive. Occasionally an unusually large Brookie is found in the mid to lower reaches of the river but it is rare.
The Middle river is where the Brown Trout reign supreme. Throughout this section of river anglers will find Brown Trout in every pool. Most of the Fish caught average 8” to 14” but fish in the 18” range are very common. In recent years Wild Rainbow Trout have been expanding their range in the Beaverkill. Anglers in this section are now regularly being treated to the strong runs and acrobatic leaps of these incredible wild fish. The lower section of the Beaverkill is big water. This area is typically very wide with long slow pools that are connected by riffles and sections of heavier pocket water. Anglers who fish this section will find a good mix of both Brown and Rainbow Trout in all size ranges. Because of the increased size of the river Trout here tend to be less concentrated but some really impressive fish come to net here each year!
When to Fish
Fishing on the Beaverkill opens on April first each year and runs through November 30. There are two No-Kill sections on the Beaverkill that are open year round. While fishing can be good during the entire year there are certain periods where this fishery really shines.
In about Mid April waters will start to warm to a point where both Trout and Insects will become active again. It is about this time each year that we get treated to a 10 week period where both Insect and Trout activity are in high gear. It is in this time period where we see intense insect hatching daily and our yearly visit from the larger Mayflies, including the Giant Sized Green Drakes!
Being a freestone river, the flows and temperatures are always dependant upon rainfall. In normal years the fishing will slow during the months of July and August unless regular rainfall occurs. It’s during this period that most visitors target the nearby tailwater rivers.
The beginning of September usually brings rainfall that raises the flows throughout the river. This combined with the cooler nights spur another period of high activity for both Trout and Insects. This Autumn season which lasts through November is one of the most beautiful times that an angler can wet their line in the Beaverkill River. Our Autumn Foliage is second to none and the Fishing is Spectacular!
In Roscoe we have several great Fly Shops that can provide up to the minute conditions. All would love to talk fishing with you! Baxter House River Outfitters (607) 290-4022 Beaverkill Angler (607) 498-5194 Catskill Flies (607) 498- 6146 Dette’s Trout Flies (607) 498- 4991
To help explain river access it is best to split the Beaverkill into 2 sections. The first section starting at Junction Pool and extending upstream to the headwaters. The second section begins at Junction Pool and extends downstream to the confluence with the East Branch of the Delaware.
Throughout the upper section visiting anglers will find mostly Private Water. There are however 2 distinct sections that are of interest to the visiting angler. The first is about a mile long and runs through the Beaverkill State Campground. This is small water that has lots of pockets and fast water. Access is at the state campground and there is a parking fee in season. The Second section of public water extends upstream from Junction Pool to the Bridge on route 206 in Rockland. This is a 2 mile section of water with several NY DEC parking areas that are clearly marked. This section is also small water with a good mix of riffles, pockets and smaller pools.
In the Lower Section of the river visiting anglers will find roughly 16 miles of larger river. This is where you will find the famous pools such as Ferdon’s Eddy, Hendrickson’s, Horse Brook Run, Cairn’s and more… This lower river is mostly public with the exception of about 1 mile in Cooks Falls which is clearly posted. Access to this section is easy as Old Route 17 follows the river for its entire length. Throughout this section there are NYS DEC parking areas and pull offs. All fishermen should remember to respect landowner rights and not cross private property to access the public stream rights.
The Season on the Beaverkill is April 1 to November 30 The Daily creel limit is 5 fish with a 9” minimum size No Kill Areas are Artificial LURES ONLY Upper No-Kill Boundaries - The Sullivan County line (below Roscoe) downstream for 2.5 miles. Lower No-Kill Boundaries - One Mile Upstream to 1.6 miles downstream of the Iron Bridge at Horton. Thermal Refuge Zone – Angling is Prohibited from July 1 through August 31 from the Iron Bridge at Horton downstream to the first Highway overpass on route 17.
Article contributed by: Ken Tutalo - Baxter House River Outfitters