Tips for the West Branch Delaware

Davitticus Maximus

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I will be making a day trip to the West Branch Delaware River, Saturday May 8. I have very limited experience fishing there, having done so only 4 times. Only caught fish one trip last summer. 2 on Nymphs, 1 on a dry. I know this is technical fishing to smart fish. Drag free drifts are a must. Good presentations. Match the hatch. Hoping to time this with the Hendrickson hatch which I have been told has begun. I am hoping to get some tips from those of you who know the river well. My plan is to focus on the dries unless there are no risers and then I am forced to change tactics. Thanks for any and allinfo / tips to increase my chance of success.:)
Dave
 

falcon53

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The Hendrickson hatch is waning (except on the upper reaches where its most crowded) and has been hatching in fits and starts then disappears when one would think it should come on stronger. I believe this is due to the lower than normal flows over the past 2 weeks. Spinners should be around however. Apple Caddis were on the river earlier than usual and M Browns are reportedly on the Main Stem. Long leaders and a downstream presentation works best. It can be crowded especially the last 2 years. Get away from the popular access points. Be patient but don't give up on a rising fish but don't over cast repeatedly as the fish tend to roam and rise once and then move. They sulk easily. 50ft plus casts are standard. Not a easy river and it takes awhile to gain confidence. 5 and 6wt rods are the norm. Nymph fishing can be productive but I normally hunt rising fish. Small dimple rises against a far bank can be a really nice fish. Be observant.

As of today wading is limited as Cannonsville is spilling and the only real option is a boat.
 
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Davitticus Maximus

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The Hendrickson hatch is waning (except on the upper reaches where its most crowded) and has been hatching in fits and starts then disappears when one would think it should come on stronger. I believe this is due to the lower than normal flows over the past 2 weeks. Spinners should be around however. Appel Caddis were on the river earlier than usual and M Browns are reportedly on the Main Stem. Long leaders and a downstream presentation works best. It can be crowded especially the last 2 years. Get away from the popular access points. Be patient but don't give up on a rising fish but don't over cast repeatedly as the fish tend to roam and rise once and then move. They sulk easily. 50ft plus casts are standard. Not a easy river and it takes awhile to gain confidence. 5 and 6wt rods are the norm. Nymph fishing can be productive but I normally hunt rising fish. Small dimple rises against a far bank can be a really nice fish. Be observant.

As of today wading is limited as Cannonsville is spilling and the only real option is a boat.
Thanks for your input. I plan on fishing I will be using my 5wt Sonic with 12' leader. I am hoping the flows will be low enough to be able to wade be this weekendif not I might have to change plans. The Beaverkill flows seem doable at the moment but everything could change by then.
 

Walter1023

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Thanks for your input. I plan on fishing I will be using my 5wt Sonic with 12' leader. I am hoping the flows will be low enough to be able to wade be this weekendif not I might have to change plans. The Beaverkill flows seem doable at the moment but everything could change by then.
Hey Davittiucus.......check the flows and river reports. As of today both West and East Branches are spilling over the top of the reservoirs and flows are NOT wadeable. WB at Hale Eddy is 3360 CFS and its not safely wadeable at even half of that flow. Check the reports from Delaware River Club and West Branch Angler an most importantly......stay safe !!!!!!
 

Davitticus Maximus

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Hey Davittiucus.......check the flows and river reports. As of today both West and East Branches are spilling over the top of the reservoirs and flows are NOT wadeable. WB at Hale Eddy is 3360 CFS and its not safely wadeable at even half of that flow. Check the reports from Delaware River Club and West Branch Angler an most importantly......stay safe !!!!!!
Thanks for the heads up. I have been following the weather and flows for the area. The last I looked, the Beaverkill was fishable and that may be where I will be heading instead. If that doesn't work out maybe I will just fish local. One way or the other I am fishing Saturday, all day!
 

Davitticus Maximus

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Well I just looked at the flow at the Beaverkill, and it's at 1360 I quess the Catskills is out of the plans. Time to get started with a new plan.
 

Walter1023

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Well I just looked at the flow at the Beaverkill, and it's at 1360 I quess the Catskills is out of the plans. Time to get started with a new plan.
The Beaverkill is at about 1,000 CFS right now - I would expect it to be at about 700 cfs tomorrow barring any substantial rain - at that level it is wadeable and you can fish it. Keep an eye on the flows today - particularly what they are in about 12 hours. that will give you a sense of conditions tomorrow. as for the Upper Delaware system - as of now its all out of play for the wade angler.
 

frickerdog

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Everything in NW NJ is flowing very high right now...and those streams are all in the Delaware River basin. I fished this morning in NE NJ and nearly got knocked off my feet in a normally mild flow. With the exception of a short time in April, flows have been high much of the spring.

Of course, in 3 weeks, they'll be talking about drought here. Lol.

Daviticcus -- you probably made a good decision to bail since not only are water flows high, but nighttime temps have been very low this week and the fish have all hunkered down again. The river I fished this morning had a nice hatch going, and I did not see one trout rising. Also, tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy in NY/NJ...it would not have been a pleasant day.
 

dolomieu

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I will be making a day trip to the West Branch Delaware River, Saturday May 8. I have very limited experience fishing there, having done so only 4 times. Only caught fish one trip last summer. 2 on Nymphs, 1 on a dry. I know this is technical fishing to smart fish. Drag free drifts are a must. Good presentations. Match the hatch. Hoping to time this with the Hendrickson hatch which I have been told has begun. I am hoping to get some tips from those of you who know the river well. My plan is to focus on the dries unless there are no risers and then I am forced to change tactics. Thanks for any and allinfo / tips to increase my chance of success.:)
Dave
I don't know that river at all, but I do watch YouTube videos of a guy that has pretty decent success up there multiple times a year.
Search PA Woods N Water on YouTube. His name is Scott. He mostly nymph fishes but has had success with dries there as well.
Some of his videos explain his setups.
Good Luck!
 

Davitticus Maximus

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Well, after some research and sniffing around the internet I have devised a new plan for tomorrow. It seems most of N.Y. will be hit with some rain tomorrow. That is , except for the Rochester area. I have heard about a particular Creek that has a good reputation as being one of New Yorks top Brown trout fisheries. I am going to check it out. Supposedly it is also a somewhat tough technical stream that is heavily pressured.
 

NJfishkeeper

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i made a trip to the west branch for the first time april 23-26th. the hendrickson hatch was just starting up with a good blue wing olive and caddis hatch booming. the rivers werent super fast or unwadable when i was there. im a total newbie when it comes to fishing big technical water like that but i was able to hook up twice once on a dry dropper and once on a nymp. And my buddy that never fly fished before hooked up once on a nymph.all in all it was a great trip for us, im back on my home waters now working my techniques and will be back there for sure, having hooked up and not landing kills me !!! But have a great trip and fill me in on your experiences ! ill watch this thread !
 

Davitticus Maximus

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So today I went to the Rochester area to try out a new stream. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as water conditions, but was pleasantly surprised to find the stream running clear. I managed to hookup with 3 browns, but only got one to the net. The other 2 got off before I could net them. None were very big, but atleast I didn't get skunked. I was using a hares ear nymph, and all 3 were in the same small pool. I missed a couple others when I switched to a streamer. I really enjoyed the scenery while I was there. There were many different kinds of birds to keep me company. I even saw a Marten or Fisher crawl out of the water onto a tiny island and shake the water out of its fur. I ran into a few other fisherman and everyone was friendly and willing to chat.
I brought my new Sage Sonic and got a chance to put it to the test. I cast dry, nymph, and streamer and I felt it handled all very well. I think it was money well spent for what I will be using it for. I am looking forward to going back and exploring more. I hears there are some big boys hiding in there.😉
 

zonk1085

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With the big bugs (March Browns, Brown Drakes, Green Drakes, etc.) coming, or perhaps already come and gone in this strange year, any leader advice? Any recommended formula that's both stout enough to turn over a large fly and long enough to fool a Delaware trout?
 

Davitticus Maximus

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With the big bugs (March Browns, Brown Drakes, Green Drakes, etc.) coming, or perhaps already come and gone in this strange year, any leader advice? Any recommended formula that's both stout enough to turn over a large fly and long enough to fool a Delaware trout?
I have been told by guys who fish it often, to use nothing bigger then 5x and about a 12'-15' leader.
 
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