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general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

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2010/7/6 20:36
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I am already thinking of spring and trying to plan a trip or two. I have not fished the West branch of the Delaware. I know drift boats are very popular and since I do not own one that could be a problem. Is it worth my while to go this one on my own or should I just go ahead and hire a guide? I have always enjoyed doing things on my own but if walking and wading are not productive than I have no problem with a guide. If a guide is a Must can you recommend anyone?
Also what kind of fishing can I expect in say may early june? Lastly what kind of fly patterns are an absolute must have. Any other recommendations you would like to add like restaurants, pubs, fly shops and just local attractions would be great as well.

Posted on: 2013/10/25 17:10


Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

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2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
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5000 word response coming when I get home. Too much for smartphone.

Posted on: 2013/10/25 18:23
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Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

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2010/6/12 10:11
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My advice as a (Jersey) local ((yea, I know...),

FIRSTLY BUY THE PAUL WEAMER UPPER DELAWARE BOOK.

SECONDLY BUY THE PAIL WEAMER UPPER DELAWARE BOOK.


Go for as many days in a row as you can. Get a drift boat for the first day to cover as much water as you can so that you can retrace what you like on foot. Now keep in mind that the catskills are very sensitive to weather systems. If the west is blown out, the east may not be, and if you're with a good guide he'll act accordingly.

Once you're on foot, you better be up for walking a mile in either direction of the lot you park at because it's going to be swamped. I snob it and only fish it in the winter for this reason and then hang at the East in the open season to get away from the crowds, but thats because i'm a jerkoff from Jersey.

ALSO... don't overlook the upper west way above the dam.

Posted on: 2013/10/25 20:34


Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

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2007/1/28 18:18
From Woodstock, MD
Posts: 341
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A person you might want to "page" is "Jersey George". He fishes up there a lot. I floated it two days in August with a guide. We caught fish. One of the challenges of not having a boat is, much of the bank is posted.

Posted on: 2013/10/25 20:42


Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

Joined:
2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 4299
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I wade fish up there all the time - and it is well worth it.
The west branch - in PA at least - has many places to access it from.
There are only a few spots - mainly the delaware river club section - that are posted.
So, you certainly don't have to float it.

The main stem is a different story. Most of it is posted - although there are a few places to access it also.

As for hiring a guide - yeah it would certainly get you into fish faster.
But I've always fished it on my own - just started going up by myself about 25 years ago now. And have really enjoyed exploring and learning the place.

Myself - and many other forum members - go up regularly. You'd be welcome to hook up with any of us I'm sure. I'll be up there next spring - around the end of april - looking for the hendricksons

Posted on: 2013/10/25 22:11


Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

Joined:
2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
Posts: 2766
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I have not fished the West branch of the Delaware. I know drift boats are very popular and since I do not own one that could be a problem. Drift boats are popular because you can cover a lot of water and because they make it easier to reach fish that are too deep to reach by foot. At that time of the year, the rainfall and releases could have the river at 225 cfs which is knee deep in most places or at 1800 cfs which gives you zero chance of wading and if you do, go coffin shopping before you head out. You won’t know until a few days before hand or the day you intend to fish. The river flow can jump 1000 cfs in one direction or the other without any warning.

Is it worth my while to go this one on my own or should I just go ahead and hire a guide? If you have never fished there, a guide can only help you identify rises, holding lies and hatches. You are electing to go during the time that is commonly referred to as “bug week” in the Catskills. You will be fishing with several hundred of your best friends. You will want a good 5 wt for dries, a good 6 wt for nymphing or dries on a windy day and maybe a 7 wt if you want to toss junk. It’s fairly big water and casting is very important. You will want to be able to throw it 40’ and hit a pie plate 3 out of 4 casts. If you can’t, practice all spring. Casts of 50-70’ may be needed to reach some fish. On the bigger flies, you can get away with 4x if you are a good caster / put slack in the line. There is no need to go lighter than 5x.

I have always enjoyed doing things on my own but if walking and wading are not productive than I have no problem with a guide. If a guide is a Must can you recommend anyone? Guide recommendations: Ben Rinker of East Branch Outfitters, Brandon Alexander of Borderwater Outfitters, any of the guys at the Delaware River Club or from the West Branch Angler.

Also what kind of fishing can I expect in say may early June? If you can tell me the weather patterns, flows, air and water temps leading up to your fishing dates, I could probably narrow down what you’ll see. Another thing you’ll want to understand is that some insects hatch in specific locations and not so much in others. If you want to hit the Brown Drake, the WB is not a good choice. The Hendrickson could hatch on the Main Stem and be done by May 5th but the Hendricksons may linger on in the upper sections of the WB until June 1st. It’s a pretty complex river if you want to really break it down.

Lastly what kind of fly patterns are an absolute must have. You NEVER want to reach that river system without a good selection of caddis (adults, larva, pupa, CDC emergers, bubble backs…..olive, tan and charcoal will cover most hatches. #14-18). In the first week of June, I’d plan on seeing sulphurs, sulphurs, sulphurs, Green Drakes, Cornuta, Slate Drake and Brown Drakes. Depending on the weather, the hatches could be 2 weeks ahead or 2 weeks behind. You could also see March Brown spinners, Grey Fox, Cahills, Yellow Drakes and on cloudy days…Olives. If you like nymphing, PT, Prince, caddis larva, golden stones and iso nymph will cover you for most bugs. You could be using #10 or #18 nymphs. You also want to be aware that in one pool you may have a blanket hatch of sulphurs, you drift to the next pool and it’s a caddis hatch and the pool after that is Iso emergence. Be prepared to change bugs often….very often.

Any other recommendations you would like to add like restaurants, pubs, fly shops and just local attractions would be great as well.

• budget minded trip: Capra Inn for lodging. Lydia’s, Little Italy II and Circle E for grub.

• moderate expense trip: East Branch Outfitters for lodging. Toss in the restaurant at the WB Angler for dinner

• open ended budget: Delaware River Club, WB Angler or Dream Catcher for lodging.

Other attractions: Catskill fly fishing museum. It’s about 30 minutes east of Hancock on Rt 17.


Correction to Gene’s post – Yes, most of the banks on the WB are posted. There are quite a few access spots and it’s governed by PA navigable river rules….. simply stay inside the high water mark and you can go anywhere you’d like. That rule applies to the WB and Main. The EB / upper EB are under NY law where the landowner has rights to the river bed and wading can / will be considered trespassing in many locations. For almost the entire length of the Beaverkill (over 20 miles) NY State has public fishing rights on both banks.

As someone stated earlier, the book by Weamer is extremely helpful in finding access, describing river sections and hatches. Is the WB great? To some folks. It probably has more fish per mile than the other branches but it also gets 10 times the fishing pressure. I strongly urge you to explore the 15 miles of the upper EB, 13 of the lower EB, 23 miles of the Beaverkill and 20+ miles of the Main Stem. Don’t limit yourself to one place just because you read it was good. I’m closing in on 30 years fishing up there and the WB is almost always my last choice but that’s due to the crowds.


I’m sure I’ll be there once in April and then try to make it up every other weekend through 4th of July.





Posted on: 2013/10/25 23:00


Re: general info on fishing west Branch of Delaware

Joined:
2009/12/3 14:56
From Cato, NY
Posts: 1000
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END THREAD HERE ANDY just summed it up the best you can....

Posted on: 2013/10/28 8:27






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