It's hard to believe we're nearing summer's end, especially when the Upper Delaware fished like the spring for the past couple of months. High water brought about by a wetter than usual summer led to generous water releases from both the West Branch and East Branch reservoirs. The result was cool water throughout the upper reaches of the Main Stem of the Delaware and happy, happy trout!
We had excellent streamer fishing on both branches of the Delaware including the upper section of the East Branch. More often than not the hatches were outstanding with big mayflies, isonychias and Cahills being the fly du jour on the Main Stem. Sulfurs, olives and terrestrials dominated the menu on the rest of the system with sporadic appearances of stenos.
Those who extended the effort of pounding the water with streamers were aptly rewarded with some terrific browns. Evening hatches and spinner falls were the icing on the cake. There were times when the fog created surreal fishing conditions and made seeing rising fish a challenge unto itself.
The last week or so saw more moderate water levels as the runoff and releases subsided. Nymphing has come more into play while waiting for rising fish. Dries and droppers have been as productive as anything else and provides more of a visual than swinging flies or bottom bouncing. This should continue as we await the hebes, caddis, and olives to increase their showing.
Tricos have been hatching while white flies have so far been scarce. Another spurt of isonychias is likely before it's all over. You can check out a hatch chart to see what should be or is likely to emerge.
Summers isn't over yet and water temperature and flow still play a critical role as to the quality of the fishing. Word from the grapevine is New York City agreed to increase the flows through September by 250 cfs above what the current water flow plan (FFMP) calls for. If this turns out to be true the fishing should stay sweet. Water flow data, including temperatures and a guide to wading the system can be found here: Delaware River Water Flow Data
The higher water flows we've seen this season has led to an increase in the survival of young trout. More water means safe haven from predators and it's been wonderful to see the large number of baby browns and rainbows in the river. Hopefully we'll get realistic water flows in the coming years so these fish can flourish.