Conditions improving daily

Posted 8/29/18

The fishing options around the Upper Delaware Region are improving. Over the last few days, our guides have been able to head out with guests and fish streamers, dry flies and nymphs. Based on the …

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Conditions improving daily


The fishing options around the Upper Delaware Region are improving. Over the last few days, our guides have been able to head out with guests and fish streamers, dry flies and nymphs. Based on the current week’s weather forecast, this trend should continue.

My Baxter House staff guides have been on the East and West branches every day for weeks, and in the last few days we started to float sections of the Main Stem Delaware again.

Overall the fishing is good. There is not, however, any one method that is red hot. At this time, you need to let the river guide you to the correct technique. For instance, on my last few trips we have rigged up streamer, nymph and dry-fly rods. We have been working over the shallow riffles with nymphs, probing the deeper pools with streamers and throwing dry flies whenever we see fish rising. Together, these three methods have led to some great action with quite a few fish coming to net.

For those who prefer to fish the dry fly, here is the story:

Tricos are on the water during the morning hours. The flows are a bit high yet, but if you target the slowest water there are plenty of targets. Yesterday on the way out with my client, I watched a slow pool that had a dozen nice fish slowly picking off these tiny insects.

Most of the other action is later in the day. Around 4 p.m. is about right in most areas. From this time through dark, there are fish rising. Currently olives, sulfurs, isonychia and cahills are about in enough numbers to keep the fish interested. In some areas, there are sporadic flurries of huge insects. These are possibly hexagenia or some other burrower type of insect that looks giant among the smaller insects of summer. Normally I just refer to them as cream or gold drakes.

As always in August, the initial stages of the daily hatch is dominated by juvenile trout. It is simply amazing how many small trout show up every year after the smaller creeks warmed up or shrank to a trickle during July. This year is no exception. There are tons of 10-inch fish eating everything in sight.

With the water still high, #16 olive and sulfur dries have been working well for me. Thorax style, traditional and cripples have been equally effective. Blind fishing our Baxter House isonychia cripple has also been fairly productive during the non-hatch periods.

The nymphing has been best on the drop-offs at the heads of pools and in the more shallow riffles. The best action is coming on small nymphs. I have set up rigs several ways in the last week. The consistent takes have been on #16 and #18 patterns. The most productive have been trigger nymphs, hot-spot nymphs and the old standard pheasant tail.

The streamer bite has slowed down since the water became gin-clear again. We have been taking fish every day, but we have had to change tactics and flies to stay successful. The main change in tactics has been to target water that is broken up with foam and small hydraulic features, and the deep water where you can’t see the bottom.

The fly change has been a switch to flies that are translucent. This style always performs best in clear water and bright sun. The best flies for this effect are ones created with synthetic materials versus natural fly-tying materials.

In the coming weeks the fishing will continue to improve. The pattern of early and late-day dry-fly action will continue until we start getting cooler weather. At that time, the action will become an all day event. The next two months are also prime time for running the numbers up with nymph rigs.


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