It’s Beginning to Happen on the Delaware

Delaware hatch

Things are starting to heat up on the Delaware River, and it won’t be long before hatches like this one start coming off.

photo Courtesy West Branch Angler

Just a couple of hours north of New York City, the Delaware River system offers some of the finest big-river fishing east of the Mississippi and ranks right up there with the best rivers in the country. It’s a wide, western-style river with legendary hatches and some very big wild trout. The beauty of it is that the Delaware can be a fickle mistress, offering epic days and incredibly challenging days, and you never know which one you’ll have  until you step in the river. 

Situated just below Hale’s Eddy, a few miles south of Deposit, is West Branch Angler and Sportsman’s Resort, an Orvis-Endorsed Lodge that is, simply put, designed for anglers. This is a fishing lodge in the best sense of the word, with very comfortable accommodations, good food, and great fishing. Whether you’re wading on your own or floating with one of their guides in a drift boat, this is a place where you step in the river in the morning, come out at night, eat well, fall into bed, and repeat. There is access not only to the West Branch, but the entire Delaware system and many of the legendary Catskill rivers, like the Beaverkill and the Willowemoc.

The Delaware is in the first stages of waking up from the winter—the flows are heavy and the water is cold at this moment—but the water temps are moving up. Within the next few weeks and even days, the fish will start looking up. Right now, there are alewives in the river, and streamer fishing can be excellent this time of year. Guides will begin working next week (April 10 forward), and as time progresses the hatches will become more prolific and streamer fishing will turn to drys and emergers. Quill Gordons and Hendricksons will begin to appear on the main stem of the Delaware around the middle of the month and start moving up the river as the weather warms. With cooperative weather, the fishing can be remarkable in the next few weeks. This time of year, the fish are fresh, hungry, and haven’t seen a fly in a while.

On April 15th, the newly renovated restaurant will open for the season, and April 16th kicks off the season with the “Hell or High Water” party which will feature Orvis’s Fly-Fishing 101 and 102 classes, which are free to the public, as well as the Fly-Fishing Film Tour. This is a great event for everyone from seasoned anglers who are ready to get in the river to outright beginners who want to try it for the first time. 

There is a full-service fly shop on the premises that was doubled in size last year and has everything you need to start, or anything you might have forgotten—not to mention a great fly selection and a staff ready to tell you where to go and what to use.

Call Matt or Sam at 800-201-2557 for the latest hatch, flow, and temperature updates. In just a few days, you could be fishing on one of the finest fly-fishing rivers this country has to offer, and for a significant portion of the US population, it’s only a few hours away. 

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