A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a late summer trip to the Catskills. I’ve been wanting to go visit there for years, and finally set aside time for a trip. We stayed in a cabin near the Roscoe area, which is known as “Trout Town, USA”. I know there are probably a lot of towns that claim to be fishing towns, but very few get to claim the title of being the birthplace of American fly fishing.
We arrived in Mid-August, and anyone I talked to said the water was very low in many places and recommended that we try the two tailwater streams in the area, the east and west branches of the Delaware River.
Aside from being tailwater streams, both the east and west branch are known to be very technical fisheries. In my life, I’ve had the good (or bad) fortune of fishing some of the most painful fly fishing streams. From relatively unknown spring creeks to the LeTort Spring Run; I’m always up for a challenge! Well, I definitely got a challenge in the ultra clear and low waters of the East Branch.
I got a late start after enjoying a small breakfast and coffee and ended up at the East Branch around 11:30am. The sun was blindingly bright overhead, but there was a glimmer of hope in sporadic rise rings I had seen on the surface while walking down to the river. Every time I cast, I watched my line reflect like a mirror down through the clear water and onto the riverbed. These fish could see anything and everything, so I knew all my casts had to be perfect.
I tied on an size 20 pale yellow parachute fly as a Hail Mary for the rise activity, but my real bet was on a size 18 nymph I had tied as a dropper a couple feet below. It’s a nymph that I tie with little clear craft beads, and for some reason, trout love it. The water was so slow and clear, I was casting and watching a painfully slow drift as it moved downstream. I’d take a step and repeat, covering an area that looked to have some aquatic plants and larger rocks on the stream bed.
After an hour or so, I saw the most subtle take as the dry dipped under the surface. I peeled the line off the water and could already see a fish shaking it’s head at the stream bed. I knew I had a fish on. After about a minute or so, I safely netted it.
I continued to fish for about an hour or so, and decided it was time to grab some lunch.
The next day I decided to go the opposite way, or the west branch so to speak. While I didn’t see a soul on the east branch, the west branch was noticeably more crowded, but I saw a lot of rising fish while there. In the couple of hours I was there, I had one brown take my dry like a flash of lightning and I lost it after a short fight. It was a shame because I could see a ton of trout rising.
All in all, it was a great first trip to the Catskills, and I’ll be sure to head back when the season re-opens!