Hook, Line & Sinker: July 9, 2014

This first week of July was a memorable one depending on where in the Catskills you happened to be. Some areas were deluged by thunderstorms, wind, hail and mud while others just got a healthy dose of rain to water their gardens, and keep area rivers and streams in good shape.
In reporting about the many opportunities that summer in the Catskills offer – we’ve had a number of fishing derbies in our area to report on: Pepacton Bait & Tackle in Arkville reported on the winner of their June Trout Derby. Sponsored by Tom and Cheryl Phillips, the prize-winning fish was caught by Bill Milman, a local resident, who brought in a beautiful 10-pound, one-ounce brown trout.
NICE CATCH — Dusty Howe recently hauled in this nice seven-pound brown trout while trolling on the Pepacton Reservoir. — Photo courtesy of Al’s Sport Shop, DownsvilleNICE CATCH — Dusty Howe recently hauled in this nice seven-pound brown trout while trolling on the Pepacton Reservoir. — Photo courtesy of Al’s Sport Shop, Downsville

Pepacton Bait & Tackle sponsors a Trout Derby during each month of the trout season, from April through September. For a $10 entry fee, anglers may bring in as many fish as they catch during the month to be weighed in – and the largest fish caught provides the winning angler all of the entry money. Pepacton Bait & Tackle is located on Route 28, between Margaretville and Arkville.
And also in June, the second annual Catskill Kayak Fishing Jamboree was held at Pepacton Reservoir on June 28 and June 29. Sponsored by Roscoe Campsite, Scott Conly and Frank Healy, approximately 60 entrants participated in the event. For the past couple of years, the NYC DEP has allowed kayaks on the reservoir, as long as they are steam-cleaned prior to launching. The date was chosen to promote New York State fishing to out-of-towners at no cost; the last weekend in June has been dubbed “Free Fishing” weekend. The entry fee for the Kayak Fishing Jamboree of $60 included an overnight stay at the Roscoe Campground, a free boat wash (as all boats put on the reservoir need to be steam-cleaned) and a dinner after the contest. The winners are awarded trophies at the dinner.

Pitching in a donation
Part of the Catskill Kayak group’s tradition is to make a sizable donation to a worthy cause. This year’s recipient was Catskill Mountainkeeper – and the Catskill Kayak group was happy to donate $500 to the organization, to help promote and ensure the clean air and water we enjoy in the Catskills. Winners in the contest are as follows:
Trout: Tom Lowe of Long Island caught a four-pound, four-ounce brown. C.J. Pansa, from Poughkeepsie bagged a three-pound, seven-ounce brown, and Taurus Vebliunas took a three-pound, one-ounce brown trout.
In the Bass division, Bob Stuber of Long Island, caught a 20-inch smallmouth bass; Taurus Vebliunas of Long Island managed an 18 and-a-half inch bass, and Skip Knapp of Point Pleasant, NJ netted a bass that measured 16 and-three-quarters inches in length.
And in addition to these fishing contests, Candy and Eddie Chin of the Tremperskill Country Store sponsor a Trout Derby each month during the trout fishing season, with a $10 entry fee per angler, as does Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville in June and July. Both contests offer cash prizes.
Pepacton Reservoir has been spilling for the past several days; it has finally ceased as of Monday afternoon. As a result, many small bait fish were carried over into the East Branch Delaware River, and fly fishers were out on the river with streamers, which imitate small bait fish – so many that Al Carpenter reported that he was totally sold out of any white and silver streamers over the weekend!
A few reservoir anglers reported good fishing; teenaged Nick Wilma was fishing with his dad. They caught eight brown trout, the largest of which measured seven pounds, two ounces – but was very long and skinny , at least 28 inches in length, with a huge head and a big hooked jaw. The Wilmas found that the fish were all about 15 feet down – quite a difference from the reports last week of most fish being from 25 to 34 feet down pretty consistently. Evidently the pouring rains disturbed the thermocline and caused a great change in where the trout are being found.

Early leader
Mike Fulton of New Jersey is currently leading the July Trout Derby sponsored by Al’s Sports Store with a seven-pound, 25 and-a-third inch brown trout. Mike’s been catching at least one good fish each day, and took second place in last month’s Derby with an eight-pound, ten-ounce brown.
“Stevie-O” of Highmount has had good success at the lower end of the reservoir. Over the weekend he caught five trout on one day, and seven the next; the largest of his trout weighed seven pounds.
Tom Heaps, also from New Jersey, was fishing with his girlfriend, Tanya, when he managed a six-pound brown; Tanya also caught a couple of trout, one weighing three and three-quarter- pounds. They were fishing with sawbellies.
And Linda Leto, fishing with her husband, Andy, caught two trout, one was a four-pound brown that was caught up near the surface. The Letos found success fishing during the middle of the day drifting sawbellies.