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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fishing the Upper Delaware in the Summer

Summer opens opportunities to fish for big, selective West Branch wild brown trout either by wading or floating, determined by the water flows. A decent number of rainbow trout migrate from the Delaware River into the West Branch of the Delaware seeking colder water increasing the resident fish population. The Sulfur hatches can be incredible! Blue wing olives, isonychias, Cahills, tricos and caddis also make their famed appearances. Later in the summer terrestrials become added to the menu.

This time of year often means mid to late morning starts and wading in cold water, so appropriate gear is important. Wearing fleece under your waders on 90 degree days is normal. This isn't easy fishing, but on most days you will encounter large browns surface feeding. Light tippets and picky fish is what you should expect.

The upper East Branch turns into a spring creek like fishery with "far and fine" being the rule for the spooky browns that call the crystal clear waters home. Stealthy wading is a must. Then there's the Mainstem...

In recent years, the Mainstem Delaware River trout fishery hasn't stretched all too far down river. This is due to warmer water temperatures. Most fish migrate into the cooler water of the West Branch and the very upper main river. As long as water temperatures peak no higher than the mid sixties the Main Delaware River fishes very well.

The Mainstem of the Delaware has become (actually, it has always been) an excellent smallmouth bass fishery. These guys are a blast on the fly as well as light tackle and inhabit some very beautiful and pristine sections of the river. The sections of the river I smallmouth fish have been ranked in the top five of smallmouth bass rivers in the US. It's a fun day of fishing with the occasional walleye or striped bass thrown in too.