Hook, Line and Sinker: May 9, 2012

The first week in May proved to be full of promise for both for turkey hunters and trout fishers. The showery weather we’ve had hasn’t compensated for the lack of April rains, but nonetheless has helped it to keep water levels near normal.
Fly hatches continue to be occurring ahead of schedule, with March Browns reportedly making their appearance – and other mayflies and caddises also seen in good numbers hatching and on the water.

We fished on Sunday evening arriving at our destination on the lower Beaverkill at about 6:45. The water was “right” – at a good level with a water temperature of 60 degrees. There were a few sporadic rises here and there, and we found that as long as we moved around, we could find a fish to cast to. By about 7 p.m., a number of small caddises and medium-dun-colored mayflies, in sizes #14s and #16s, began to hatch.

Few fish rising
And although there were at times waves of flies in the air and a good number on the water, there were not many rises nor steady rises, but we were generally able to find a feeding fish to cast to. We were successful in catching a number of feisty wild rainbow trout that shot like rockets out of the water and provided fun fishing. Interesting, because the Beaverkill has always been a brown trout fishery, but in recent years, has seen more and more rainbow trout – to the extent that one could say that the Beaverkill is slowly becoming more of a wild rainbow trout fishery.

On Tuesday morning, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 466 cubic feet per second. This was below the average flow of 511 cfs, based on 98 years of record keeping. The highest flow on this date was 2,380 cfs in 1989; the lowest flow recorded on May 8 was 210 cfs in 2001.

The East Branch Delaware at Fishs Eddy, however, on this same date registered at 932 cubic feet per second. This was above the average flow of 866 cfs over 57 years of record keeping. The highest flow on May 8 was 4,660 cfs in 1989; the lowest recorded flow was 384 cfs in 2001.

Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville reported that fishing in Pepacton Reservoir over the past week was a bit slow. Anglers are successful in catching fish but not any large fish, most are skinny and smaller. Chris Hecker from downstate, fishing with his young daughter, was successful in bagging a five and-three-quarter pound brown trout; while little Samantha Kennedy, wearing her father’s camouflage suit rolled up, managed to catch a three-pound, two-ounce brown.

Where to find them
Most trout are being found at 30 to 40 feet down, although for this time of year they should be in about 10 to 15 of water, and closer to the top. The trout are not feeding that well and are still skinny; although a couple of reservoir fishermen reported fishing on a rainy day this past week that was one of the best days they ever had – using smaller sawbellies, they were successful in hooking 10 trout and landing seven.

Reports are that drift boats are beginning to interfere with the wading fishermen on the West Branch of the Delaware. Trout fishers who take the time and effort to wade to their favorite fishing spots are having their fishing space invaded by the drift boat fishermen, especially new guides, as well as individual drift boat owners, who don’t seem to have any knowledge of stream etiquette. A few complaints have come from wading fishermen that while they were hooking and landing fish, a drift boater was heard to say “hey, he’s got fish over there!” and made his way over to where the wading fisherman was, and started to fish over the area he was enjoying! Let’s hope that this does not become standard operating procedure – and that the drift boaters will remember the ‘rules’ and etiquette of this fine sport of trout fishing.