Hook, Line & Sinker: July 16, 2014

This summer certainly seems like one for the record books. Not a week goes by that there hasn’t been a rain shower, thunderstorm or tornado warning somewhere in or near the Catskill Mountains!
Last night (Monday) there was a powerful deluge in the upper Beaverkill/Hardenburgh area that downed trees and power lines, caused telephone outages and alarm systems to go off, washed driveways and roadsides so as to make driving challenging. Rivers and streams are again bank-full and the color of café au lait and our reservoirs are at or near the spilling point. In the wee hours of the morning, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls had swelled to nearly 7,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) (the average flow on July 14 should be less than 160 cfs) and the East Branch Delaware River had spiked to nearly 9,000 cfs, quite a contrast from the average flow that would be less than 374 cfs on July 14.

So with rivers and streams unfishable again, Ed and I headed over to Pepacton Reservoir, although later in the day than usual due to work constraints. We had heard that it was fishing well toward the end of last week and even up until early this morning. No sooner had we started rowing out from shore than we noticed a swirl behind the boat and observed a bald eagle soaring low over the water, a good omen, I figured. However, after a couple of hours rowing, and thunderclouds starting to move in, we decided we had missed the best time of the day and packed it in just before the showers started.

“Fish are biting”
A check with Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville confirmed our report that the “Fish are biting, they started hitting again toward the end of last week.” One customer who came into Al’s store on Monday morning reported that as soon as he started letting line out, the fish starting taking his bait. He and his partner managed to catch a couple of four pounders and a couple of seven pounders, and lost two other good fish! They reported that the fish were “hitting like crazy” and were all about 30 – 35 feet down.
Another seasoned reservoir fisherman reported fishing near the dam and catching the biggest bass he’s ever caught on Sunday morning. He also mentioned a Pepacton fisherman who has done ‘pretty well’ catching 50 fish over five pounds so far this year!
Mike Nevins of Nanuet landed a heavy trout that weighed seven pounds, five ounces, and measured 25 and-a-half inches. The big fish was taken out of the East Branch Delaware River! Interestingly, I spoke with Carl Gordon who reported meeting Mike Nevins in 1979 when he moved up from Long Island, and credited Mike with teaching him how to freshwater fish (Carl came from a long line of saltwater fishermen who grew up near Shelter Island and Orient Point.) Evidently, Mike did his job well and Carl was a good student of Mike’s – as this weekend Carl, now of New Hampton, was also was successful in a great catch from the East Branch Delaware - bagging two large browns out of the river that measured 18 and 20 inches respectively.

The big ones
The largest trout brought into Al’s Sports Store this week is leading the July Trout Derby: Larry Kennedy from Pennsylvania was fishing sawbellies when he caught a ten-pound, two-ounce brown trout that measured 28 and-three-quarter inches in length. Currently in second and third places in the derby are two seven-pound browns; the second place is occupied by Mike Fulton from New Jersey who managed a seven pounder that measured 25 and-a-half inches. He just bested the trout taken by Tom Adams from Verplanck, by one-quarter of an inch. Tom Adams’ seven-pound brown measured 24 and-three quarter inches. The derby runs through the end of July. A $10 entry fee will put you in the running for cash prizes awarded to the three biggest trout caught.