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April 19, 2014
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Using the river in the fall

This eel weir in the Delaware River is a trap made from rocks and wood that captures migrating eels on their way to the Sargasso Sea. Eel is considered by many to be a very tasty delicacy.
Photo courtesy of Pike County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

If you are camping out, be aware how temperatures can drop dramatically overnight, and equip yourself appropriately. (Anything less than 40 degrees requires the right sleeping bag and tent, Diefenbach recommends.)

Wear a hat. Wear sun block. Consider if you need sunglasses.

Know the river, know the rules

As for river levels, Kasper and Diefenbach emphasize that it is the recreational sportsman’s personal responsibility to check river conditions. Call the hotline number at 845/252-7100, and be aware that if the river reaches higher than six feet at either Callicoon or Barryville, life jackets become mandatory. Diefenbach further advises that only expert paddlers should consider being on the river when conditions are this high.

Autumn brings an unusual dimension to river rules with the increased presence of eel weirs, which can create a major hazard for the unprepared paddler. Fall is the time of year when eels are harvested, and paddlers are required to leave a navigable channel on either side of an eel weir. “If you get caught in the middle of an eel trap, get off to the side,” Diefenbach urges.

Finally, when Canada goose hunting season opens, don’t be surprised to see hunters on boats in the river. This is perfectly legal so long as the hunter follows the rules: The hunter’s boat must be anchored, not in motion. There is to be no gunfire within 500 feet of other boats or from residences or businesses on shore.

The Canada geese hunting season is as follows:

Pennsylvania: Oct. 26 to Nov. 30; Dec. 18 to Jan. 15; and Feb. 1 to 28, with a five-goose daily bag limit; 15-goose possession limit.

New York State: Oct. 26 to Dec. 18; Dec. 28 to Jan. 12; Mar. 1 to Mar. 10