What a difference a week makes! Our rivers and streams which had been quite low for the Opening of the trout fishing season last week have now risen to a more ‘normal’ level, thanks to the rain showers we had at the beginning of this week.
The East Branch Delaware River at Fishs Eddy was flowing at 1580 cubic feet per second, as compared to the average flow of 1950 cfs over 60 years of record-keeping. The lowest flow record on on this date (April 12) was 268 cfs in 2012; (flows just last week were similar, in the high 200s) and the highest recorded flow on April 12 occurred in 1940, with 4950 cubic feet per second flowing past the gauging station.
The West Branch Delaware at Hale Eddy was flowing at 951 cubic feet per second, which is still below the average flow of 1390 cfs over 51 years of record-keeping. The lowest flow record on on this date (April 12) was 157 cfs in 1981; (flows just last week were in the high 200s) and the highest recorded flow on April 12 occurred in 2001 with 7840 cubic feet per second recorded.
The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 966 cubic feet per second, which is just about at the average flow of 973 cfs over 101 years of record-keeping. The lowest flow record on on this date (April 12) was 462 cfs in 2012; (flows just last week were similar, in the high 200s) and the highest recorded flow on April 12 occurred in 1993 with 9010 cubic feet per second flowing past the gauging station.
We’ve experienced more winter weather conditions over this past week than we had all winter - about a foot of snow fell on the upper headwaters over April 3rd and 4th, and it’s been a cold and damp week. However, predictions are for warmer temperatures by the weekend, and spring flowers have pushed their way up through the ground. It’s fun to match up the spring blooms with the fly hatches that fly-fishers eagerly await over the long winter. There is an ‘order’ to the succession of flowers and buds, just as there is to the succession of fly hatches - with the first most commonly seen in our Catskills area being the pussy willows and snowdrops. These are still evident in some areas, and tend to coincide with the stone fly hatches. We saw stoneflies hatching in the afternoon during the end of March. Next in succession are the daffodils and budding of the red maples. With Easter coming so early this year, March 27, it was nice to have a vase of fresh daffodils on the table. The fly hatch that coincides with the blooming of the daffodils is the Quill Gordon; again hatching in the afternoon when the water is at its warmest. And just this past week we noticed the swelling of the forsythia and lilac buds - no flowers yet, but the buds are noticeable with their new growth. The Blue Quill tends to hatch at this time.
With the snow and rain of this past week causing high and discolored flows, putting some of the fly hatches off, fly-fishers have been successful using nymphs and streamers. And with the warmer weather predicted for the end of this week, watch for hatches and rising trout and be sure to have some Blue Quills, Quill Gordons and Stoneflies in your flybox….we might even see some Hendricksons.