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Upper Delaware System April 26-28 2014

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1/9 13:36
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I spent the last three days in the upper Delaware system fishing the Lordville section of the upper Delaware on Saturday and Monday and the Fish's Eddy section of the East Branch on Sunday. I did not fish the West Branch, as this weekend was the one fly tournament.

Right now there are very limited wading options on the lower East Branch and none on the Delaware. The upper East Branch may have more wading opportunities but I have always found the lower East Branch to be more productive in the early season. A few days of no rain should bring levels down and open up additional water for wading in this section.

Saturday, April 26th Lordville Area of Delaware

On Saturday I arrived at the Delaware a lot earlier than necessary but instead of sitting around drinking coffee and waiting I decided to launch my NuCanoe Frontier 12 (coupled with an electric motor) and dredge the bottom of the riffles with an oversized, heavily weighted stonefly nymph. It is a daunting task and success takes perseverance, as the riffles are quite large. Eventually I hooked a nice brown about sixteen inches and a nice rainbow about fifteen inches.

Around 10:00am caddis started appearing in sufficient numbers to attract the attention of some of the stream's resident trout. Due to the volume of water, the rising trout were close to the stream banks so this was a situation where a pair of binoculars came in handy, as you really had to locate the trout. Switching to a #16 tan elk hair caddis proved to be the ticket and in the next few hours managed to land eight trout, six browns and two rainbows. All were in the fourteen to seventeen inch range, not behemoths by Delaware standards but certainly nice trout.

Around 1:00pm the top water activity slowed substantially so I reverted back to nymph and streamer fishing with no success. This pattern continued until around 3:00pm when some Quill Gordon mayflies began appearing in localized areas so I resumed my search for rising trout.

Once again, any rising trout were found close to the banks but the number of rising trout were far less than during the caddis hatch of mid morning. I spotted what appeared to be a nice trout so I tied on a thorax style #14 Quill Gordon and managed to successfully line him on my first cast putting him down for good. It happens but eventually I managed to find another rising trout and after several casts brought a small thirteen inch brown to hand.

As the afternoon progressed the caddis reappeared, as did some QG spinners, and the surface activity picked up again. Although there were some spinners, the trout remained focused on the caddis and of the several trout I caught as darkness approached, all were caught on a caddis.

Sunday, April 27th Fish's Eddy Area of East Branch

Arrived at my launch area around 9:30am. In my experience, nymph fishing the East Branch has never yielded the same level of success as the main Delaware or West Branch. When I arrived caddis could be found dancing about and it didn't take very long to find a dimple signifying a cooperative and hungry trout. Without hesitation the trout took my elk hair caddis offering and within fifteen minutes of arriving I brought my first fish of the day to hand, a fifteen inch brown. In a stretch of about two-hundred yards several rising trout could be found and it was a simple matter of picking off each one in succession. None exceeded fifteen inches, in fact most were in the eleven to twelve inch range, but anytime you catch them on top it is fun.

Similar to Saturday, the caddis suddenly disappeared around noontime but around 2:00pm some Quill Gordon mayflies began appearing but the trout didn't take notice. In fact, the surface activity was dead until later in the afternoon when the caddis reappeared. Once again, many of the rising trout were confined to small areas along the banks so if you found one you found several. I fished into the evening landing maybe another dozen small browns, once again all in the twelve inch range.

Monday, April 28th Lordville Area of Delaware

Upon arrival there were some caddis and stoneflies flying about with scattered rising trout close to the banks. I managed to land a few average sized browns and then around 1:00pm a substantial Hendrickson hatch broke out providing over two hours of non-stop top water activity. This early in the season the trout aren't as leader shy and if you got a good drift it would be taken. I brought many trout to hand, a mixture of browns and rainbows, with the star of the show being a brown that measured just under twenty-two inches. This was one of those magical spring days when everything just comes together.

Eventually the surface activity ceased and I resorted back to dredging the bottom with nymphs with zero success. Sensing there could be a spinner fall later in the evening I beached the kayak and relaxed.

As late afternoon progressed into early evening Hendrickson spinners began appearing in numbers sufficient to bring trout to the surface. The spinner fall was not excessively heavy or prolonged but good enough to bring one final hour of satisfying fishing.

I have a feeling the upper Delaware system is going to fish very well this springtime. It is about time the trout start "looking up."



Posted on: 4/29 16:30


Re: Upper Delaware System April 26-28 2014

Joined:
2009/2/13 4:12
From West Chester,PA
Posts: 146
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Great post.
I was thinking of heading up Monday(yesterday) for a few days but cancelled due to the weather.Depending on the rainfall and releases,i'll try to reschedule for early next week

Posted on: 4/29 18:26
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Re: Upper Delaware System April 26-28 2014

Joined:
2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
Posts: 2766
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John,

The one bug had a few boats on the west, a few on east and the remainder on the main so the west wasn't jammed up buy contestants.

Did that wacky weather hit you on Saturday? We hit lower east and had rain shower after rain shower. Some heavy gusts too. There was little bug activity spotted by us. A handful of olives, blue quills and a couple of stones. 10 miles into the float before we saw a rise. If you do well nymphing main, you should have equal succes on east (imho). We got a few on PT's.

Sunday we moved to west hoping to find some bugs. Hooked up a few times sub surface. We floated into and out of a few bursts of quills. No rises spotted until 2:30-ish. In one pool, hooked up 6 times between the 2 of us one they started rising.

No braggin sized fish but did land 3 bows in a row that measured 17"-18.5". The bows were still pretty beat up from the spawn. Thin, freyed tails and not much fight. That will change quickly though.

Good fishing or bad, it's a beautiful place to spend some time. Nice report.

Posted on: 4/30 20:08
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