Catskills or Adirondacks?

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
I have always wanted to visit some of the earliest fly fishing areas. Bare with me as I am not as familiar geographically as I should be with these areas. From what I can see the Catskills are fairly more southern than the Adirondacks, not that it matters that much for me.

But watching the movie Land of Little Rivers brought out some of the rivers I have heard/read about since I was much younger. The Esopus(sp?), Neversink, Beaverkill, Battenkill, etc. are some of the rivers I would like to fish on my bucket list.

My preference is for wade fishing, but in a drift boat for some is not out of the question. I do prefer wild fish with a real preference for brook trout followed by browns. Dry fly fishing is what I was raised on and would prefer that over nymph and streamers, but would consider them as well.

Flying up is what I would do as it is too far to drive for me and would burn too many days of fishing just for travel.

Any advice is welcome over which area would be preferable for what I am looking for. I am looking at 5-7 days would be possible.
 

goofnoff1

Well-known member
Messages
170
Reaction score
90
Location
Maryland
I've fished both ALL my life. Hitting the weather right is the key.

The problem with the Adirondacks is you need to explore. Also the blackflies in the Adirondacks are miserable in May and June when the fishing is best. The Adirondacks is best for Brookies.

The Catskills is where I would go. Memorial Day weekend is the peak and also the peak of fishing pressure. The classic Neversink water is under a reservoir. Above the reservoir is all private. South of NY 17 the Neversink runs through a canyon Nick Lyons liked to fish.

The Willowemec and Beaverkill are freestone streams and can be great anytime DEPENDING ON WEATHER.

The East and West Branches of the Delaware are tailwaters. They're not weather dependent.

The Battenkill is a shag from the Catskills. It's really a separate trip.
 

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
Thanks much for the info!

Yes, it sounds like the Catskills are where I would prefer, I hate blackflies.

You lead me to my next question as to when is the best time to go there, and I do understand about weather, rain and generation schedules will make it or break it. I would prefer less crowded times and having school age kids is not something I have to deal with anymore. I kind of figured looking at the map that being centered out of Roscoe might be good but I am open to other areas.

Any advice on guides or fly shops to try to set this up? If you would rather PM, please feel free to do so. I am not wanting to name hotspots on the web.

Thanks!
 

goofnoff1

Well-known member
Messages
170
Reaction score
90
Location
Maryland
Ok let me see if I can help.

The NYS DEC has maps of all the public water in the Catskills.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html select region 4

The April grays hatch on average the third week of April (hendricksons, paraleps, and eporous}

Then in early May you get the Caddis. That is my favorite time. The trout are fussy about caddis pupa as long as it's bright. The Caddis-x 14 or 16 is murder.

In late May the maylies start again in earnest and last to mid May to late June. Even then there are still caddis.

After that is also my favorite time because it's midges and terrestials.

Of course streamers will work anytime.

The Beaverill is my favorite because the presentations are difficult and it's just loaded with bugs from Green Drakes to midges. Think really long leaders.

The East Branch of the Delaware is good but the fish are really difficult because it's all flat water. However it's lightly fished.

The West Branch of the Delaware is just tremendous. It's big. It's full of big wild rainbows that will take you into your backing in a heartbeat.

The Willowemoc is a smaller Beaverkill. It joins the Beaverkill at the legedary Junction Pool in Roscoe.

If you've got brass hire a guide for a days float on the Delaware. There are plenty who advertise on the net.


The Beaverkill Angler in Roscoe NY is my favorite source of info.
.
A few years ago a kid was casting a Jitterbug in the Delaware for smallmouths and he caught a 5lb brookie.
 
Last edited:

Ard

Administrator
Messages
20,048
Reaction score
1,611
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
I was going to send you a PM but when I looked up this thread and saw what you have been told already I could not add anything more especially since it's been 30 years since I fished either regularly.

Dittos on the Black Fly situation throughout the Adirondacks and they can still be a threat in August some years. I enjoyed both but you'll already be driving from Knoxville so I'd vote Catskills. By the way I've been in your neck of the woods too, spent some time in Alcoa and fished most on Abrams and Tremont I figure you know where I mean :)
 

Walter1023

Well-known member
Messages
673
Reaction score
26
JAYR - I agree with all the comments as well. I try to fish as much as i can and the Upper Delaware (East and West) is where I wind up most. It takes me anywhere from 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 1/4 hours each way depending on which branch and where in the system I fish and I fish it at least 1 day a week from April thru September. I do mostly day trips but managed about 10 overnight trips just this past season. If dry fly fishing is important (its almost exclusively how I fish).....you want to be on the Upper D for its consistency of hatches and rising fish....there is also no other river system in the Northeast even close to being in its league. A few realities.......1) it gets CROWDED....and I've noticed a dramatic increase from just a few years ago. It used to be if you were willing to wade a bit away from the public access parking you'd find more quiet water - but even that is getting tough. This year was the most pressure I've ever seen and I'm sure this new movie wont ease that. 2) If you do not use a guide I'd recommend buying Paul Weamer's guide to the Upper Delaware......loaded with info including access points to park and fish. 3) To say the fish are educated is an understatement......long leaders and drag free drifts take on a new meaning in this system....some anglers just cannot catch fish on the Upper D.....and even the best will sometimes get refused. I always say The Upper D is like Sinatra's song New York New York.....if you can catch a trout there you can catch one anywhere.
 

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
I was going to send you a PM but when I looked up this thread and saw what you have been told already I could not add anything more especially since it's been 30 years since I fished either regularly.

Dittos on the Black Fly situation throughout the Adirondacks and they can still be a threat in August some years. I enjoyed both but you'll already be driving from Knoxville so I'd vote Catskills. By the way I've been in your neck of the woods too, spent some time in Alcoa and fished most on Abrams and Tremont I figure you know where I mean :)
Ard, yes I fish Tremont quite regularly as it is the closest drainage to me inside the Park. I live about 30-40 minutes away. I know exactly where you mean.

Abrams on the other hand is a whole separate situation in the GSMNP. IMHO, the most difficult stream in the Park to wade.

The Catskills are really where I think I want to go. And by the way, I am not going to drive that, I will fly. I have driven those distances and to the City and beyond and NE drivers are crazy (no offense to anyone) as is their traffic. 12+ hours in the car is just too much for me.
 
Last edited:

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
JAYR - I agree with all the comments as well. I try to fish as much as i can and the Upper Delaware (East and West) is where I wind up most. It takes me anywhere from 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 1/4 hours each way depending on which branch and where in the system I fish and I fish it at least 1 day a week from April thru September. I do mostly day trips but managed about 10 overnight trips just this past season. If dry fly fishing is important (its almost exclusively how I fish).....you want to be on the Upper D for its consistency of hatches and rising fish....there is also no other river system in the Northeast even close to being in its league. A few realities.......1) it gets CROWDED....and I've noticed a dramatic increase from just a few years ago. It used to be if you were willing to wade a bit away from the public access parking you'd find more quiet water - but even that is getting tough. This year was the most pressure I've ever seen and I'm sure this new movie wont ease that. 2) If you do not use a guide I'd recommend buying Paul Weamer's guide to the Upper Delaware......loaded with info including access points to park and fish. 3) To say the fish are educated is an understatement......long leaders and drag free drifts take on a new meaning in this system....some anglers just cannot catch fish on the Upper D.....and even the best will sometimes get refused. I always say The Upper D is like Sinatra's song New York New York.....if you can catch a trout there you can catch one anywhere.

When you all say long leaders, how long are we talking? 12-15 feet? From what I have read, the tippet sizes are in the 5x-6x range.

Right now, I am probably going to use a guide. If I were more familiar with the area and could get there repeatedly I would do more free lancing. I am thinking a guide would make my time a lot more efficient.

We have crowds in my area as well in the GSMNP and some of our more familiar tail waters. This is one reason I am thinking mostly concentrating on the weekdays as opposed to the weekend to do this.
 

Walter1023

Well-known member
Messages
673
Reaction score
26
When you all say long leaders, how long are we talking? 12-15 feet? From what I have read, the tippet sizes are in the 5x-6x range.

Right now, I am probably going to use a guide. If I were more familiar with the area and could get there repeatedly I would do more free lancing. I am thinking a guide would make my time a lot more efficient.

We have crowds in my area as well in the GSMNP and some of our more familiar tail waters. This is one reason I am thinking mostly concentrating on the weekdays as opposed to the weekend to do this.
JAYR......at a Minimum leaders of 12 to 15 feet. I am a bit of a leader obsessed guy so I go longer than most......normally at around 18 feet but that is me. My standard tippet is 6 feet plus of 6X fluoro (rest of my leader is mono). I use 7X on other river systems a lot (ie: If I am fishing size 24/26 flies on the Farmington in Ct) but I would never use 7X on the Upper D. Some guys do and good for them I have confidence that I can land most my fish - even up to 20" - on 6x fluoro (i use Cortland Premium which is literally 3.9 lb test) However any lower and I would not feel comfortable. These are wild and in many cases larger trout.....they fight incredibly well compared to a typical stocked fish. Earlier season you can also go 5X comfortably especially when the Hendrickson's are on. Also - usually - early season trout have not been bothered by anglers for the last 7-8 months and lose some of their inhibition - but this doesn't last very long and I've noticed the trout getting even more selective earlier and earlier in the season. Good Luck - the river system is spectacular and even though its only a few hours away from NYC you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere when you're on the water.
 

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
Walter, thanks much for the info!

We do have some waters that sound similar to the Delaware regarding long leaders and finer tippet. Most of what I use on dries and dry/dropper rigs in the Smokies is 5x in the early spring and 6x to 6.5x in the summer.

I do know most if not all guides usually furnish rods, but I am thinking of taking one or two of mine. From what I can find out the popular weights in the Catskills are 4-6 weights. Was thinking of taking my Sage Trout LL 490 and my Recon 906. Thoughts?
 

Walter1023

Well-known member
Messages
673
Reaction score
26
Most books recommend 5 to 6 weights for Upper D - its "Big Water".....I prefer a fast action 4 weight for dry fly fishing but will bring my 5 weight if water levels are high and/or its windy - we seem to get a lot of windy days. This was an exceptionally low water year......I rarely ever used my 5 weight this season. Another thought - in earlier season and higher water I'm making a lot of 50-60 foot plus casts a lot of double hauling as many of my targets are bank feeders and they always seem to pick the bank that no wade angler can reach. As the season goes on and you get into sulfurs and water levels generally are lower - shorter casts have their glory. My biggest weakness is I fell in love with my own cast - and I love casting - and I love targeting trout with long casts. Sometimes early season that is the only way to reach them - however - the reality is and everyone knows this - the closer you get to a fish and the shorter you can cast - the better chance of getting a drag free drift and fooling a fish. My best fish this season came that way. One final point - the Upper D isn't really a "blind casting" type of river - you can catch some blind casting in riffles and pocket water......but the Upper D is unusual in that 80% plus of the water would be categorized as long - slow - glassy pools with slow current. You're basically stalking trout and looking for risers.....in these pools rarely do fish get fooled by an upstream cast - the standard is a down and across cast in which the trout sees the fly before the tippet and leader or anything else. Even with that - these son of a guns refuse you more than they accept you - but that makes your hookups all the more exciting. Your best bet is ask your guide what conditions are like at the time your trip is planned and they'll recommend the best outfit to fish with. Most of the Upper D guides know the river like the back of their hand and they are top of the line.
 

LePetomane

Well-known member
Messages
427
Reaction score
437
Location
Wyoming
Goofnoff could not have said it better. The Catskills in the spring are hard to beat. A lot of history of our sport there. I did ,y training in NYC and would go there every chance I could get, which was not often. Dinner at the Antrim Lodge was always a treat. A lot of the old time legends would frequent there. Ernie Schweibert was there holding court one night. It was hilarious.

As fisheries go, the West Branch of the Delaware is primo. It has been a long time since I fished it but I'd go back tomorrow.
 

jonecho65

Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
I have always wanted to visit some of the earliest fly fishing areas. Bare with me as I am not as familiar geographically as I should be with these areas. From what I can see the Catskills are fairly more southern than the Adirondacks, not that it matters that much for me.

But watching the movie Land of Little Rivers brought out some of the rivers I have heard/read about since I was much younger. The Esopus(sp?), Neversink, Beaverkill, Battenkill, etc. are some of the rivers I would like to fish on my bucket list.

My preference is for wade fishing, but in a drift boat for some is not out of the question. I do prefer wild fish with a real preference for brook trout followed by browns. Dry fly fishing is what I was raised on and would prefer that over nymph and streamers, but would consider them as well.

Flying up is what I would do as it is too far to drive for me and would burn too many days of fishing just for travel.

Any advice is welcome over which area would be preferable for what I am looking for. I am looking at 5-7 days would be possible.
 

jonecho65

Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Hi jayr, I tip my hat to you on your preferences. dry fly and old famous waters. I am going to Roscoe, n.y. along the heart of the Beaverkill to fish during " Bug Week", last and first week of May-June 2020. I am looking for a fly thrower to share one the best guides around on his drift boat early June. Great surface and spinner hatches afternoon evening right into sunset. nymphing and wet fly middle water column fishing is great. I am looking for a add on to split a 500 dollar guide fee. Please let me know if you or another fellow would like to hook up for this event with me . Things book up early. Sincerely, John. 505-695-0086
 

jayr

Well-known member
Messages
1,733
Reaction score
230
Location
Knoxville, TN
Hi jayr, I tip my hat to you on your preferences. dry fly and old famous waters. I am going to Roscoe, n.y. along the heart of the Beaverkill to fish during " Bug Week", last and first week of May-June 2020. I am looking for a fly thrower to share one the best guides around on his drift boat early June. Great surface and spinner hatches afternoon evening right into sunset. nymphing and wet fly middle water column fishing is great. I am looking for a add on to split a 500 dollar guide fee. Please let me know if you or another fellow would like to hook up for this event with me . Things book up early. Sincerely, John. 505-695-0086
Appreciate the offer, will have to think on it. We are still mulling over some other trips, this is just one of them.

Thanks
 

patrick62

Well-known member
Messages
1,031
Reaction score
90
Location
Lakeville, Conn.
The Esopus is a wader's river. From the Shandaken Tunnel in Allaben (aka "The Portal") downstream to the Ashokan Reservoir it is a tailwater. Upstream from the portal it is a medium-sized trout stream. (Still further up it becomes a headwater, but access is extremely limited and I won't spend time on it here.)

From Route 28 the wading angler can get in the river at over a dozen spots. That's good and bad, because it can get crowded.

But as usual a little bit of bushwhacking will get you away from the crowd.

The state built a new trail and bridge for recreation at the lower, Boiceville end. (It is now known colloquially as Disneyland.) You need a NYC reservoir permit to fish/park there. (The permit is easy to get, and free. https://a826-web01.nyc.gov/recpermitapp/ )

The new access has proved extremely popular with anglers and, this past season at least, reduced pressure upstream.

I know I will get arguments about this but the Esopus is not a great dry fly river. There are some places where fish regularly feed on the surface, yes. And you can get them to come up to the right bug at the right time (especially Stimulators).

But if there was ever a place to use wet flies this is it. The old Folkert's store in Phoenicia sold a pre-tied rig with three wets for a reason.

If I was limited to one fly for the Esopus it would be a Leadwing Coachman wet fly, size 10.

The Esopus also has an extended season, through the end of November. And if I wasn't busy trying to write two editions of my newspaper and if I hadn't closed the camp down I would be there right now, taking advantage of a warmish, drizzly day.

Final thought: Austin "Mac" Francis observed that the Esopus is an egalitarian river. You will encounter anglers using spinning tackle, bait, those funky long dapping rods with salmon eggs, and, in recent years, Tenkara and other fixed-line rods.

I've learned a lot watching these anglers, and chatting with them.
 
Last edited:
Top