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> > West Branch of the Delaware River

Al514August 2nd, 2008, 8:34 pm
Central New York

Posts: 142
Any suggestions for flies this time of year (besides BWO's and tricos)? I'll be down there for three days starting Monday and dont want to be unprepared. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
TroutnutAugust 3rd, 2008, 12:50 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Streamers. ;)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
WbranchAugust 3rd, 2008, 4:24 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Try and stay away from the water from Stilesville to Hale Eddy Bridge. I fished the WB Wednesday through Saturday this past week and the river is just full of algae and aquatic grass throughout the water column. It is virtually impossible to fish any subsurface flies. You can fish dry flies but you can't be casting haphazardly or letting the fly float too long. Find a target, wait for a rise, cast, complete a float, and pick-up. Don't cast again until you see a rise. Even following that advice you will often get grass and algae on the fly. Don't let your fly line hang idly in the water while waiting to cast - algae floating just in the film will catch the line and literally there will be pounds of the junk.

I fished below Hale Eddy yesterday and found that there was virtually no problem with algae and grass. Right now your predominant insect is Ep. dorothea in #18 & #20. The fish do not often eat the dun as I think they know that if they eat a bug on the surface it might hurt! Most guys fish dry flies and I think the fish get conditioned to know eating a dun is not a good idea.

I did see quite a few Japanese beetles floating on the river so that might be a great fly to try as I doubt many guys are fishing them. There are few Tricos on the upper WB (Stilesville to West Branch Angler) You find lots of Tricos from below WBA all the way down to Shehawken.

I saw many #18 Baetis on Wed, Thu, and Fri. The mornings of Thu and Fri I stayed at my cabin to fish Tricos. Thursday I rose a bunch and landed five. Lots of fun on 7X.

When I say it is impossible to fish subsurface what I should say is it is going to be a nuisance due to the algae. Because the fish do not like to eat duns I often hang a #18 - #20 PT or Sulfur nypmh under my dry fly on a piece of 6X about 6" - 8" long. You will see lots of backs, tails, and boils as the fish eat the nymphs that are rising from the bottom or are just floating in the surface film. You should tie some floating nymphs and cripples. Don't use anything heavier than 6X.

Look for shaded water. These fish hate the sun unless their is a huge hatch. You will see this if there are bugs on the water - when the sun shines the fish don't rise but about thirty seconds after the clouds put shade on the river you will start to see rises. Therefore you need to be looking for sections of river that are not in full sun or wait until the edges of the stream become shaded as the sun goes further to the West.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfAugust 3rd, 2008, 11:04 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Matt knows the river well, so take anything he says as gospel. Also, try to get upstream of rising fish and use across and down reach casts to deliver the fly with no drag. Generally stay with a fish if it's rising steadily; it often takes many, many drifts over the same fish to get a hook up. But if another is rising nearby, you may wish to rest a fish a bit, work the other fish thoroughly, then come back. Best of luck; this is some of the toughest fishing I know of. The algae is a real pain. You might want to try some of Gonzo's polywing duns and emergers. They clean up easily and keep floating longer (use Mucilin on the wing and hackle or hivis legs) than flies with natural materials.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchAugust 3rd, 2008, 11:26 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Louis's comments are excellent. Both of my larger fish were taken on downstream angle drifts where the fish sees the fly first and seldom the tippet as it is off to the side. I use Rio 6X florocarbon. I did cast to one or two other fish during my three plus hour session with the 23" fish but I never moved out of my wading position as I felt I was in a very good spot to get good downstream angle casts.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Al514August 3rd, 2008, 3:08 pm
Central New York

Posts: 142
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions - I really appreciate it. I'll see what I can kick up down there over the next three days and report when I get back.

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