Jared, Steve and I headed up to the Catskills this past weekend looking for bugs and rising fish. Jared and I left Sunday around noon and headed North. When we made it to the West Branch of the Delaware, we were greeted with high sun, extremely warm temperatures, few bugs and even fewer rising fish. Around 6 o'clock, however, the fishing began to pick up. Over the next few hours, I picked up a few fish, but nothing fantastic. Right at dark, a huge caddis hatch began and the fish turned on. There were a ton of rising fish and we took advantage of it, each landing two fish during the short burst of action, with Jared's last fish of the night being a good one. We walked back to the car in total darkness and headed back to the motel where we met up with Steve. We BS'ed for a while and then hopped in the car and grabbed dinner at Lydia's. It was a good way to end a good day.
Jared with a nice fish in the dark
The next morning, we had SUPER high expectations. The forecast called for clouds, little wind, a few scattered showers and high humidity... aka perfect bug conditions. We got to the water around 9:30, and within minutes I hooked and landed my first of the day, a pretty brown trout. Jared hooked and lost two right after that, but then the rain rolled in. The light scattered showers we were hoping for became an all out downpour for a while. The rain slowed down, but then started right back up again. The fishing really slowed down after the rain and we kinda sat around waiting for something to happen. Steve then joined us on the bank and we hoped that the bugs would really pick up. That didn't happen. We had scattered caddis, sulphurs and march browns, but not the huge hatches we were expecting. Sometimes it just works out that way. Jason Taylor, a friend and customer, met up with us and the whole group continued with the waiting game. Throughout the rest of the day, we all caught random fish here and there, but it was definitely not what we wanted.
Spunky little guy
And the release...
The vast majority of the fish we caught were in the 12"-17" range, but there were definitely some bigger fish up. I saw what looked to be a good fish rise and slowly moved up into position. He ate again, and I gave him a March Brown emerger. On the first drift, he engulfed it and it was on. The fish flew down stream, jumping all the way down. I got him back up towards me, but when I went to net him, he wanted no part of it. He took off again and continued with his acrobatic showcase, nearly taking me to my backing for a second time. I turned him and got some line back, but he decided to jump one more time. In my case, it was one time too many. As he jumped, he twisted in the air and landed right on my 6X. The fly pulled out and it was game over. Talk about a heartbreaker. That was definitely the largest trout I have ever hooked in my life, and even though I didn't land him, the whole thing just left me wanting more. That was not the only big fish of the trip though. About 30 minutes later, Jared caught a super solid fish way upstream from the rest of the group, so no picture, but from what I heard, it was a hogger. Jason Taylor also caught a great fish down below the group, so yet again no big fish pictures. Overall, it was a great trip, with lots of fish hooked, plenty lost or broken off and a bunch of them slipped into a net. The D can be a fickle river for sure, but the frustrations, hours of waiting and lost fish are what keeps me coming back time and time again. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to brave the forecasted rain and thunder storms and head up in about 8 hours or so. We'll see what happens!