Thursday, August 8, 2013

Exploring A New River: West Branch Of Delaware Fishing Report

The West Branch Of The Delaware
Exploring a new river is always fun and challenging at the same time.  Gathering information about aquatic insects and fishing conditions is fairly easy today but you never know if your Sulphur dubbing that works on streams and rivers back home will be the same color on new water. So I traveled up to New York to meet Danny and Pat for my first stab at the West Branch Of The Delaware for a few days.
Good Looking Brown From The WB

A few random things before I get into the fishing. First, I found it difficult to find information online as to where to tent camp around the WB. After doing some digging Oquaga Creek State Park was our destination. I HIGHLY recommend this for people looking to save money and tent camp. The location was only 15 minutes at most from the little town of Deposit. The campground itself had really spacious tent areas and the bathroom and shower facilities were really nice for a campground. It was also very cheap, weekend rates were $30 a night but mid-week was only $15. FYI no cell phone service. Also, the access to the entire stream was very poor for wade fisherman. If you can take a boat do so, even if it is a kayak, you can float from hole to hole and if the streamer bite isn't on fishing out of a boat isn't a must. Your other option is to pack a lunch and hike along the stream which can be brutal but doable. I also noticed not many people were out  in the early morning, if you want some solitude get up early and fish.
These Bows Fight Like Champions!

Day #1 Float From Deposit Sewage Plant to Balls Eddy:

Pat With A Healthy West Branch Bow
The water was flowing around 547 cfs around Hale Eddy on this day and was super cold.  The majority of the water in this section was fairly shallow at these flows. The river is made up of many slow pools with limited riffles and runs. This makes it very challenging to locate prime holding spots for trout. We did not get many bugs on this day and the streamer bite was off. There were a few island sections that created some easily noticeable holding areas and we did manage a few fish at these locations. Some bugs started hatching at 5pm and we did see a good number of fish rising in certain sections but we only got a few hits on the surface. Pat did better the day before near Deposit Bridge but overall it was a tough day on the water. I would not go back to this location unless I knew a hatch was coming off.

Another Spectacular Brown Falls To The Nymph
The Master At Work With One Of His Many Fish On This Trip 
Nothing Wrong With Catching Fish Of This Size All Day
Day #2 Float From Balls Eddy Down to Hancock then Hancock down 3.5 miles to a take-out on the main stem.

The water from Balls Eddy down to Hancock was my favorite section of this trip. There were more numerous runs and riffles. Even the slower water had more depth to it. It was much easier to nymph this section and we did manage more fish then the prior day from the Balls Eddy access area down to Hancock. Master Nympher Pat sent me a text 1 mile above the takeout in Hancock that said little #20 nymph's were taking fish easily down in Hancock, the beast pulled in over 30 fish while Danny and I only managed 12  between the two of us. Pat and I floated past Hancock and down the main stem and got into some more fish all on the smaller flies. The water on the main stem was much bigger but we did manage to catch a few trout on the same flies that were working on the WB. If Danny and I would of been throwing the small stuff earlier I think we would of gotten into some more fish. I would highly recommend this section and if I make it back to this water I will be fishing here.
Danny Getting Rewarded After A Tough Day Of Fishing

Day #3 Wade Fishing in Hancock

Pat had to leave early so Danny and I decided to hike up from Hancock and fish a few productive spots from the day before. Well we hit it good because 24 fish came to the net on the little stuff and provided an awesome day of fishing. We did manage a few fish in the 18 inch class, the fish on the river fight very similar to the Yough fish I'm used to catching back home. A 15 inch rainbow on this river feels like a 20 inch fish on most.
I Have To Get Me One Of These Soon! 

To sum things up this stream was well worth the trip, I can see how the streamer fishing and dry fly fishing would be world class when the conditions are right. We saw tons of fish on the float nearly everywhere and the quality of fish was really good. I wouldn't overlook nymphing on this stream either, while most guys were throwing dries we kept underneath and were bringing more fish into the net then most.

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