Newbie.....You are lucky to live so close to the Esopus. I fished it quite a few times last year. Wild rainbows and reservoir browns - you can't go wrong - not to mention how beautiful the scenery can be. I think its a great stream for a beginner because the smaller bows are not that selective. Get some generic dryflies like Elk Hair Caddis and Parachute Adams and you can catch them even when nothing specific is hatching. In terms of nymphs....Gold ribbed Hares ears, Pheasant Tails and Prince nymphs will do the trick. The previous post listed some good hatch info. You should check out the website "Catskill Flies"...they give daily reports on all the catskill stream conditions and also have a board like this where alot of guys post about the Esopus in particular. Good Luck....once you start this sport you will never look back.