Great Western Catskills offer plenty of fishing excitement

Delhi — New York State’s trout season opens April 1 and for a growing number of fishermen, the lure of the Great Western Catskills makes Delaware County the place to be for this rite of spring.
Natural area trout streams, which eventually flow to the Delaware River, provide freestone stream fishing. These rivers combine with the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs to total 11,000 acres of water habitat. Constant reservoir releases of cool, clear waters have enhanced the West Branch and East Branch to create unique tailwater fishing. Optimal year-round trout conditions ensure the serious angler and the adventurous visitor the most challenging and demanding fly-fishing in the Northeast.
The Beaverkill, the East and West Branches of the Delaware River, the Willowemoc and the Bushkill are among the renowned trout waters that flow through Delaware County. The “Birthplace of Fly-Fishing” has been popular among anglers for more than a century and each year Catskill rivers and streams attract new legions of fishermen.
While fishing in the region is great in every season (including ice fishing in winter) the thrill of early season angling is unsurpassed. The sights, sounds, smells and of course the hatches of April and May converge to make Catskill Mountain fishing an unforgettable experience.
The easiest way to gather information about fishing in the Great Western Catskills is to contact the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, which offers a full color fishing guide/map with public access points. The fishing guide may be ordered free of charge by contacting the Delaware County Tourism office at 866 775-4425, or by e-mail: info@greatwesterncatskills.com. Website visitors are welcome to sign up for e-mail updates at www.greatwesterncatskills.com.
For those in search of “trophy trout” the Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs present great spots to “land the big one.” Fishermen on these waters will want to pack a camera, too. When their respective seasons open, trophy brown trout, smallmouth bass and pickerel, are among the species that challenge sporting enthusiasts on these waters. Fishing the reservoirs just got easier. The New York City DEP, which oversees these waters, has made it easy to get fishing permits for the reservoirs by placing it online. Go to www.nyc.gov and search for watershed recreation. Regular DEC fishing permits are easy to get at almost any local sports stores.
Seasoned fishermen recognize that the way to “live large” while seeking the big one is to rent a private cabin with all the comforts of home, and great fishing just minutes away.
From Downsville down Hancock and on to Deposit, numerous campsites, affordable motels and cabin rentals abound.
Fish beneath the historic covered bridge in Downsville where lodging options range from the on-river Pepacton Cabins(www.pepactoncabins.com), the classy Yellow House B&B (www.yellowhouseny.com), or the always affordable Downsville Motel (www.downsvillemotel.com) - a favorite among anglers. The conveniently located Al’s Sports Store in Downsville (www.alssportstore.com) supplies everything an angler needs, from gear to a private river guide. When fishing time is over, the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant (www.oldschoolhouseinn.com) is a great place to dine and spin some fishing yarns.
For fishermen visiting the Hancock area (where the East and West Branches of the Delaware River converge), a full service resort such as the West Branch Angler (www.westbranchresort.com) is a great place to stay. The resort comes complete with a restaurant, an Orvis store and knowledgeable river guides on staff. Bass Cabins (www.golfandxski.com) is nearby too and lets you (or the spouse) combine fishing with a love of golf at their French Woods Golf Course. Hancock boasts a fine new hotel, great motels and B&Bs both in and outside the village. After an exhilarating day on the water, anglers will enjoy telling fishing tales at the Bluestone Grill (www.bluestonegrill.com). This casual eatery serves lunch and dinner, topped off by a popular list of homemade desserts.
For those visiting the Deposit area and the lower edge of the Cannonsville Reservoir, lodging options include the Deposit Motel, new Eagle Valley Cabins (www.evcabins.com) or private home rentals, such as Dream Catcher Lodge (www.dreamcatcherlodgeny.com) with one mile of river front access.
Landing trophy fish is only part of the experience. The Catskill Mountains have a special appeal that makes “just being here” a large part of the attraction, catching fish is a special bonus.
To learn more about fishing in the western Catskills and the Upper Delaware River region, or finding the right campground or lodging host to stay with, log onto: www.greatwesterncatskills.com. Call toll free: 866 775-4425 or e-mail: info@greatwesterncatskills.com.
When it’s time to fish, visit the Great Western Catskills of Delaware County and “Let the magic of our mountains move you.”
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