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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Delaware River System Post Flood Fishing Season

The flood of June, 2006 was devastating to the local communities and the fishing industry on the Delaware. For several weeks the system was unfishable and the personal and the business losses were extreme to everyone in the community.
By the end of July things began to change. There was a tremendous amount of bait washed into the river from the reservoir and the tributaries. As the water receded we found many large and very hungry brown trout in the river more than willing to crush streamers. There were days when you could watch fish slash and boil on bait fish, throw your fly at the "blitz" and hook up to a very nice brown.
It took longer for the insects to come around and seemingly longer for the fish to get on them, but as the season progressed flying ants, olives, isonychias, hebes, and cahills were back on the menu.
Was it as good as normal? Mostly not. It is obvious that the fishery took a hit from the flood, but it is far from destroyed. The changes in the river have rearranged some of the riffles, created others where there weren't any before, and all in all caused a new learning experience for fishermen.
There are still many awesome wild trout in the Delaware system. From the number of small fish around this summer and fall it looks like we'll be okay. I wouldn't expect the banner Spring like we had this past year ( ...who knows?), but you can be sure there are still trout in the river. True, many tributaries have been damaged by the flood and time will tell if the damage will definitely affect future recruitment. I was fearful that we lost a year class of rainbows, but seeing a decent number of baby 'bows in the river has eased that fear some.
As far as next years hatches go, this is something that time will tell. As long as the fish are there they will still have to eat, just what they eat might change. I think we'll see bugs, just not as many as we're used to.
All in all, the resiliency of a wild fishery will prove itself superior to one dependant of domesticated trout.

By the way, the smallmouth bass fishing this summer and fall was truly incredible. Anything less than a thirty fish day was lousy. The fish were big and plentiful and more than willing to eat flies and lures.

Find out more about this fishery at Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters