For the third show I had the chance to interview Tony Hill, the President of Mianus TU. Not only did I learn more about the chapter and its history, Tony also walked me through a number of its outreach programs.
Started out Saturday by joining my friend Walt Franklin of Rivertop Rambles at Summerfest on the grounds of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. Summerfest is mainly a fly fishing flea market, but there are also other events during the day. This is the second year for me and it is always a lot of fun.
We spent a couple of hours walking around, catching up, comparing blog notes and visiting the vendor booths, whose offerings ranged from fly tying materials to vintage bamboo rods. But soon were talking about the opportunity to fish.
I had never fished the Willowemoc and it had been some time ago for Walt, so we hopped in our cars and within a few minutes were on what looked to be low and clear fishy water.
The Willowemoc is a picturesque stream with plenty of fly fishing history.
It is a collection of pools, runs and riffles, easily wadeable and requires only reasonable casting effort. I was using a 9′ 5wt. and could reach the opposite bank when needed.
But looks can be deceiving. Despite the Willowemoc’s attractiveness, neither of us hooked up in the hour or so that we spent there. Eager to get into some fish, we had a quick lunch at a restaurant in Roscoe and headed to the Beaverkill.
I had some luck a few weeks before on the Beaverkill, but we went to an area that was new to me.
This particular spot is well known and well marked, yet Walt and I shared the water with only one other angler for most of the day.
When we arrived we were happy to see fish rising, but it quickly became a guessing game on what flies to use.
We practically threw everything in the flybox at them until we settled on small midges in the 22+ range. It took me several missed strikes to figure this out.
We caught fish on both light and dark colors, but darker colored flies prevailed. We were broken off several times. Walt and I will be forever haunted by the trout that broke both of us off and took our leaders and flies a few times that day.
After we unlocked the fly selection mystery, we were both into fish. Nice healthy browns, none more than 12″. All were good swimmers, vehement protesters and net adverse.
We spent a few hours catching trout, comparing notes and spotting fish for each other. The overcast sky that had accompanied us began to break but the temperature stayed comfortably in the 70’s.
But all good things must come to an end, and in my case, a wet one. As I turned to leave the river, I slipped on a rock and fell completely into the cold water. I was wearing pant waders, so when I stood up there was no hope of finding any part of me dry. Luckily only my pride was hurt. A quick trip to the car to change and I was dried off and good to go.
Walt and I packed up, said goodbye and headed out in opposite directions. As I drove home, the Allman Brother’s Blue Sky came on the radio and the Catskills sky turned to a nice shade of light blue. It reminded me that this trip was a great chance to reconnect and spend some time on the water with a friend. Hope you do the same before the end of the season. Enjoy!
To watch the first show, which covers fishing the east branch of the Croton Watershed, click here.
For the second show, kayak fishing on Lake Kenoshia, click here.
Had a chance to visit the Neversink River with members of both the Hacklebarney and Ridge and Valley TU chapters. I’d heard good things about the Neversink, but never fished it. My guess is that its relative proximity to the Beaverkill and Delaware places it down on the list of popular fishing options. So when the opportunity came up for a day trip, I happily agreed.
One thing that contributes to its relative obscurity is that this is not an easy river to find, or more accurately, find access. I drove through a series of rural neighborhoods to reach the entry point. Luckily other members of our party arrived before me or I would’ve driven right past. No real markings or parking area.
The next consideration is that this is not a park and fish destination. It was a 30-minute downhill hike over a washed out rocky trail, and it was twice as hard to climb on the return. I heard huffing and puffing on the way back, with some of our party opting for quick rest stops.
That said, the gain was well worth the pain. This is a beautiful river that offers, riffles, runs, pockets and glassy water, much of it waist deep or less. Wading difficulty ranges from flat sandy bottom to fast water over car-sized slippery rocks, so a wading stick is recommended.
We were into fish almost immediately, and continued to catch until the early afternoon. Most of what we hooked was wild browns in the 10-12″ range. My friend Fredy caught the fish of the day, a healthy 20″ brown. Bacon!
The pic below is of the 12″ that I caught on a standard elk hair caddis. It was one of three I caught on a dry fly.
These were really aggressive fish. Here’s a comparison of how my elk hair caddis looked after catching 3 wild browns of 12″ or less.
If you’re willing to make the trek, this is truly a hidden gem. We saw no other anglers, and the stream was not littered with bait cups and other refuse. One word of advice: Bring your hiking shoes and save your wading boots for the water. Enjoy!
As part of the weekend’s camping and fishing program, I decided to explore some new water. Originally the plan was to fish the Farmington, but the prior night’s storm caused the wind and water to be a little too high to be enjoyable, so I thought the Still would be a good small stream option. I was not disappointed.
If you’re not familiar with the Still River, it feeds into the Farmington at the town of Riverton. Most people pass over it heading upstream to Beaver Pool or downstream to Church Pool. It doesn’t exactly stand out. From the road it looks rocky with only anemic flow, more like a side channel of the Farmington than a separate body of water.
I attempted to fish it briefly twice before, but each time found it difficult to wade and the water level too low to sustain any fish. This remains partly true, but on this trip I spent time exploring other stretches and found deeper pockets previously overlooked. Another lesson in knowing your water.
Starting upstream, I tackled a section containing a series of pools and riffles, none more than twenty feet in length. Tried a few different approaches, but found that drowning and dragging a tiny BWO dry was an effective way to bring this rainbow to hand.
After that I covered a long stretch of water unsuccessfully, stopping at a bend containing two small, knee-deep pools. A few strips with an olive woolly bugger and this brookie was on the line.
Next I found a fast-moving run bordered by a downed tree trunk. Whatever is hiding underneath there effortlessly took two of my brown woolly buggers. After losing the second one I decided to leave it alone.
Finally I came to a fast moving pool where the river converges before it reaches the Farmington. Streamers were ineffective, but high sticking a nymph thru the strongest current hooked this feisty brown.
This trip reminded me to:
- Have a Plan B fishing destination when possible, especially if the weather is uncertain
- Periodically revisit water, even if has been unsuccessful in the past
- Try more than one technique, even you’re experiencing success
Hope your finding some new water. Enjoy!