As promised, here's the report on one of the best three day weekends we've had this year. We arrived on the West Branch of the Delaware early after on Friday, unpacked, had a beer, kissed the wife and went fishing. The weather was cloudy, humid and windless, perfect conditions for hatches and rising trout. We were not disappointed, as when we got to the river there were loads of bugs on the water and rising trout.
Before you think it was easy pickings, let me tell you a little about the upper Delaware river system. There are loads of bugs and trout that feed on them, but the fishing is fairly technical and demanding most days, requiring anglers to use all of their skills if they want to be successful. Just because the fish are rising and taking naturals off the surface, it doesn't mean they'll take your offering just because you present it over their feeding lie. If you don't believe this, just ask the many anglers that fished this weekend that didn't catch anything. We saw one drift boat, complete with guide and two anglers, fishing to a number of steadily rising fish without so much as a refusal.......in the course of an hour or so, every fly they cast went unnoticed by the feeding trout, all the while the trout continued to take natural after natural off the surface.
And their were bugs, lots of them - small sulphurs, large sulphurs, slate drakes, blue-winged olives, paraleps, light cahills, cinnamon caddis, dark gray sedges, duns, spinners and even some stonefly adults. Here's a large sulphur - Ephemerella invaria - that landed on my tying vise as I tied Friday evening....that's our bonfire in the background.
The blue-winged olives were everywhere Saturday afternoon, yet we didn't take a single fish on a BWO imitation. Instead, we did well with slate drakes and small sulphurs, which were present in fewer numbers, but clearly the day's special on the menu. Here's a clump of blue-winged olives I lifted off the water with my finger tip - they were that numerous!
I took this 18" or so brown on Friday on a #18 snowshoe rabbit foot sulphur pattern. Take a look at the broad tail on this fish..........powerful fighters and all wild fish.
And here's a typical wild Delaware River rainbow. These boys fight like no other trout I've ever caught. This one was maybe 12-13", but still managed to make my reel sing as he went on a couple of long runs that ripped line line from my reel. Did I say they also jump clear out of the water when hooked?
It was a great weekend fishing with friends. I'll post some pics of the flies I used when I get a chance. In the meantime, get out and fish!