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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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Release Program Proposed to Stop Flawed FFMP

PRESS RELEASE - May 5, 2009

New Release Program Proposed to Stop Flawed FFMP From Harming Upper Delaware River and Endangering Downstream Communities

Hancock, NY -- Friends of the Upper Delaware River called today for major changes to the schedule of releases from the New York City reservoirs. "The City's practice of hoarding water creates unnecessarily full reservoirs, deprives the river of flows needed to sustain the fishery and cold water ecosystem, and creates a dangerous flood risk potential all the way downstream to Trenton," said Dan Plummer, chairman of FUDR. Al Caucci, a noted author and expert on aquatic insects in the upper Delaware River and its tributaries, added, "The release pattern in April is especially damaging to aquatic life, fluctuating from 1500 cfs to 110 cfs and then back to 1500 cfs as the Cannonsville Reservoir goes from 100% to 99.9% and back to 100%. The last weekend in April releases to the West Branch were lower than they have been in years. Fishermen, businessmen, and flood victims wonder in amazement how officials could have come up with such a damaging plan!" Susan Alper, co-owner of the Bluestone Grill in Hancock lamented, "When the rivers go down, so does our business."

Low flows coupled with sunny hot weather over the last weekend of April caused temperatures downriver to climb to levels that stressed the trout and likely killed many of the cold water insects on which they feed. Dr. Robert Bachman, a fisheries biologist and commissioner of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, explained, "The trout begin to seek refuge in colder water and stop feeding as water temperatures reach or exceed 68 degrees F. Temperatures above this rapidly become lethal for cold water insects."

Commenting on New York City's reservoirs release program, Cathy Myers, deputy commissioner of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said, "No one believes this schedule is ideal for fisheries management." She went on to state, "We remain committed to improving sustainability of this remarkable fishery," and noted that the fish commissions of both Pennsylvania and New York are working on joint recommendations, "to make better use of the water we have available for fish habitat enhancement."

Lee Hartman, vice president of FUDR, announced, "On April 20, we presented to New York City and the governors in the four basin states a comprehensive proposal for a new release schedule for the next year. This proposal does not rely on any water that the City needs for its water supply. For the sake of the river and the economy of this region, we urge the government parties to adopt and implement it as quickly as possible. The cold water ecosystem of this river cannot survive under the current management policies without the significantly greater releases provided by our proposal. In the past, the upper Delaware River has been a destination for thousands of anglers each year from across the country. The decline of this great fishery and its unique wild rainbow population would be a devastating loss for everyone."

For further information, contact Dan Plummer at (607) 363 -- 7848.

Proposed Releases from New York City Delaware River Basin Reservoirs

The Friends of the Upper Delaware River, along with seven other conservation groups recently sent a letter to the Governors of NY, NJ, PA, DE and the Mayor of New York City, the Delaware Basin Commission and others with their proposal for water releases for 2009 & 2010.

The proposal would provide water to the Neversink, West Branch and East Branch rivers thereby also providing water to the Delaware River. Briefly, this proposal is based on NY City's planned shut down of of their Delaware aqueduct and utilizing excess water supplies for the benefit of the environment and the added relief from flooding that could occur. The complete letter is available at the following link: Proposed Releases from New York City Delaware River Basin Reservoirs for 2009-10