APRIL, MAY AND JUNE
This is by far the most popular time to be here on the Delaware River System, due to the bigger bugs and the fish not being pressured yet. Water flows during early April have a tendency to be a bit higher due to spring rain and snow melt but tend to stabilize was we move into May. Fishing in April can be like rolling the dice as far as weather and water levels go. You may luck out and get some good weather with warmer air temps that will lead to productive fishing. You have about the same chance of running into colder air temps and higher water levels during this time of year.
In the beginning of April, if the weather cooperates, you will have a great opportunity to hook into some hungry fish using stoneflies, Blue Wing Olives and streamers. As we get later into April we will start to see some Hendricksons, Blue Quills, chimarra caddis and some Blue Wing Olives as well. This time of year can be great for fishing due to the fact that the fish haven't been fished to much and these are the first prolific hatches of the year. The spinner falls will also start to become a factor and often will occure mid-day during the warmest air temps.
As we get into May things really start to pick up. The temps are warming up, the bugs are more active and the hatches last longer. We still see Hendricksons and Blue Quills in the early to the middle part of the month. When we get into mid-May, we have March Browns and Grey Fox which are nice big bugs that trout go crazy for. These will usual last to the end of May and into the first few weeks of June. We usually start to see some early Sulphur activity on the main Delaware this time of year as well.
When everyone thinks of the first few weeks of June, the first thing that comes to mind are the drakes, both green and brown. These are gigantic mayflies that hatch for several weeks and really bring up the largest fish in the river. The dralkes aren't very prolific on the West Branch, but the Main or East Branches have much better substrates for these burrowing bugs. Towards the end of these hatches there is a transition period were things are a little slow before the Sulphurs really get started. When the end of the month comes around we then start to see an increase in Sulphur’s, lt. Cahill, Slate Drakes (Iso's) and Blue Wing Olives.
July, August and September
Once we get into the summer months water flows are a little more consistent and if you are a fan of technical dry fly fishing this is the time to be here. With a very consistent Sulphur hatch from the middle of June to the the beginning of September, these fish have seen the same bug for months so fishing for them can be technical. This time of year it is always good to carry a large variety of patterns with you, ranging from spinners, emergers, cripple style patterns, to duns and dropper nymphs. Slate Drakes are a good pattern to have around this time of year too. The larger Iso is a good blind casting fly when nothing is going on or if you have tricky fish sipping on some Sulphurs, throwing a Slate Drake or a spinner over them can provoke them to eat.
When the middle of September comes around, the Sulphur’s have come to an end and the only hatches that are around are the Blue Wing Olives, Slate Drakes, Lt. Cahills and Heptegenia hebes . These bugs tend to be more consistent down on the Main or East Branch. The West Branch this time of year and into October is great if you like throwing streamers and finding pockets of rising fish is pretty common. As we move into October the fish are getting into their spawning mode and are tend to get more aggressive. Usually, when the end of October comes around, the fishing slows down quite a bit and that is when our season comes to an end.
As we move into Summer and Fall, our area offers a variety of othing fishing opportunities for you to try. The Lower Delaware is ranked within the top 25 small mouth bass rivers in the country, offering anglers an exceptional opportunity to hook up with the mighty small mouth bass. We also offer Fall musky trips.
NOVEMBER – MARCH
Things slow down drastically in the Winter months. At this point of the year, the NY-only portion of the West Branch and the upper East closes (October 16th-March 31st) to all fishing, but you can still access all the rest of the river system below these areas. Things are generally slow and there is not much surface activity to be seen. For the hard-core angler it offers an opportunity to fish, especially on warmer days when you can usually have some luck while nymphing and maybe the occasional Blue Winged Olive hatch.