Easy Access, Plentiful Fish: Fishing the Delaware’s tributaries
The river warms as it flows south toward Rte. 17, and temperatures can be a problem in summer. South of Rte. 17, the Neversink drops into a gorge, most of which comprises the state-owned Neversink River Unique Area. The Department of Environmental Conservation offers a map of the Unique Area and its access points. This area is too warm to fish in the heat of summer (besides, it’s a long and sweaty hike in and out), and the wading is very treacherous, but you might see a bear, an eagle, or a rattlesnake. The hatches are very different from those on the Beaverkill and Willowemoc (mainly stoneflies and caddis, but also large populations of dragonflies and damselflies). The trout down here are wild (browns and brookies), and the fishing is tough but satisfying. If you want to fish this water, find someone who knows it. Bring lunch and a bottle of water, and wade with cleats and a staff; this is an arduous all-day adventure.
Tributaries of the tributaries
I’m not going to give away my secret spots, but there’s some wonderful fishing to be found in the smaller streams of the watershed. Find them for yourself by using USGS topo maps and Google Earth. Ask in local fly shops (you always get better information when you buy a handful of flies), and the next time a Conservation Officer asks to see your fishing license, view it as a learning opportunity and not a nuisance; he or she knows more about local small streams than you do. And if you ever meet a state fisheries biologist, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Tight lines, and happy prospecting!