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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mid May Upper Delaware River Fishing Report

May 13, 2009

Mid May is here and I've just come off the river for the first day since April 15. The season has been very good up to this point, different for sure, but none the less good to excellent fishing.

The late April three day long heat wave that hit the Northeast resulted in the Hendrickson's blowing off the Main Stem of the Delaware rather quickly. By the end of April we were already fishing March browns on the Delaware and the East Branch. The Upper West Branch is still seeing some decent Hendrickson hatches.

Due to lack of rain (we are somewhere around a 6" deficit for the year) and the ridiculous water management plan that is currently in effect, the Delaware River System has been experiencing below normal water flows. You can check the real time flows of the upper river here: Delaware River Water Flows Fortunately, except for the short warm spell, air temperatures have been mostly below normal with most nights flirting with freezing temperatures. The daytime temperatures have also been below normal and the long term forecast shows this cool trend continuing.

We've been catching some giant browns and rainbows regularly, but more importantly I've been seeing more baby rainbows and browns in the main river than I've seen in quite a few years. It looks like the last two years have had some successful spawns. The lower than normal water flows are still high enough to allow us to float the river, but the low clear water makes getting close to rising fish a challenge that is usually reserved for sunny summer days. Twelve foot 6X leaders have been the minimum on the flatter water, especially on the brighter days.

Right now, if you have plans to fish the Upper Delaware System you'll need to have a variety of bugs with you to cover all the bases. Emergers, duns and spinners will cover the top, while nymphs and wet flies should keep you busy in between the hatches. On the Main Stem and East Branch look for March browns, Grey Fox, tan caddis, egg laying caddis and sulfurs. American shad have made their way from the ocean and can be real fun when offering sight fishing opportunities. The upper West Branch still has Henricksons hatching and still showing some apple caddis. As you go down river expect the West Branch to start exhibiting the same hatches as the main river. The wading angler will most likely do best on the branches. The wading is easy and there are more than enough fish around.

You can check what should be or could be hatching on this Hatch Chart