May 01, 2019

Well, we’ve had a temporary reprieve from the rain, and some cloudy weather to tempt the bugs up from the depths. Our Catskill rivers are still running high, but they are clear. While the entire Delaware system is still too high to wade, the Beaverkill is under 1000cfs and there are spots that are wadeable. Water temperatures for all the Catskill rivers are in the low-to-mid 40’s and while that’s usually a bit chilly for fast action, there have been some fast and furious days on the water. We’re in that time of year where every day is different and from one day to the next on the same river, you can feel like you’ve somehow detoured to a different river.

Len Handler Brown Trout

This buttered-up Brown gobbled a #16 Olive yesterday on the Delaware West Branch.

I floated the Delaware West Branch yesterday at the same time that several friends were floating both the Main Stem and the East Branch. Our experiences and results were all very similar - fishing is good-to-great. Almost all the Catskill rivers have similar hatches at the moment.  On the Delaware West Branch yesterday, we had a steady flow of Olives (#16-#18), sporadic Hendricksons (#14), A Blue Quill here and there  (#16-#18), and some small black caddis (#18 - #20). (The Caddis were really difficult to see on the water, and there were several troublesome fish that we lingered over without realizing that they were zeroing-in on the Caddis.) While the fishing wasn’t on fire, with some patience and good eyes there was a decent supply of heads sipping along the banks - including some really beastly fish.

David Nelson Trout

David Nelson with a solid fish from the Main Stem yesterday.

 Along with the dry fly action, I took several nice fish on streamers. We chucked streamers in the morning before the trout started looking up. Both Cannonsville Reservoir on the West Branch and Pepacton Reservoir on the East Branch are spilling and there are occasional infusions of Alwives into both rivers. Streamer color is important and if action is slow on one color don’t be afraid to change colors frequently until you find what the color du jour is. The key is to cast to the riverbank - these fish are literally flush against the bank and the closer you come to the bank the better your chances are of a hookup. Four or five good strips of the line then cast again. I took three nice fish on an Alwife pattern tied by our very own Mike Motyl. (Mike ties many of the flies in our bins here at the shop and you’ve seen him numerous times over the years tying at our Saturday fly tying demonstrations.) It is a great and effective pattern - come into the shop to check it out:

Mike Motyl Alewife Fly Pattern

A Mike Motyl Alwife streamer pattern. 

Here are your current (no pun intended) Catskill river flows:

  • Delaware West Branch at Hale Eddy: 2540cfs at 44 degrees
  • Delaware East Branch at Fishs Eddy: 2520cfs at 45 degrees
  • Delaware East Branch at Harvard: 1180cfs at 44 degrees
  • Delaware Main Stem at Lordville: 5760cfs at 45 defrees
  • Beaverkill at Cooks Falls: 960cfs at 49 degrees
  • Schoharie Creek at Lexington: 286cfs
  • Esopus at Allaben: 273cfs

Frank Corrente Trout

Frank Corrente into a nice Delaware River Brownie.

The point of all of this is that fishing is heating up nicely in the Catskills and now is the time to pick up your rod and head up to the mountains. If you’ve never experienced a float trip on some of these hallowed waters, give us a shout and we can hook you up with some of the best Catskill guides in the business. They’ll put you over fish that you’d never be able to reach by wading. Or if you’d like some suggestions on where to wade, where to park, where to eat, where to stay over and what flies, rods and gear to use give us a call or drop in and we’d be happy to help!

That’s it for now. Hope to see you on the water in the Catskills!

Len


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