As we head into the last days of June, our rivers and streams are low and warm, and we’ve been watering our gardens regularly - we are in need of steady, soaking rains. A good evening’s fishing last week on the East Branch Delaware River produced a couple of 18-inch trout and an American Shad; however on a return trip a few days ago we found water temperatures were almost 76 degrees at about 6:30 pm and never even strung up our rods. The warmer afternoon temperatures have put a damper on our fishing; only the West Branch of the Delaware River has adequately cool water temperatures at this writing.
On Monday morning, June 27, 2016, the Beaverkill was flowing at just 97 cubic feet per second. The average flow for this date over 102 years of record-keeping is 191 cfs. The East Branch Delaware at Fishs Eddy was recorded at 250 cfs, as compared to the average flow of 428 cfs over 61 years of record-keeping, with water temperatures reaching at least 75 degrees on five out of the past seven days. But the West Branch at Hale Eddy fared better, flowing at 560 cubic feet per second, which was above the 52-year average flow of 491 on this date. Water temperatures were cool enough on this river, not having exceeded 57 degrees over the past seven days thanks to the cold water bottom releases from the reservoir, but as can be imagined, the West Branch is seeing great numbers of fly fishers seeking out those favorable temperatures!
Some early morning fishing may be productive on the Beaverkill and Willowemoc, in the cooler/shaded areas with a bit more flow. Flies you may see include various sizes of caddis flies along with small Blue-Winged Olives, Sulphurs and Isonychia. It’s probably best to be fishing with smaller flies during these low water conditions; remembering to tie on a smaller tippet when doing so (for example, 5X will be adequate for sizes #14 and #16; 6X for sizes #18 and #20, 7X for midges and flies sizes #20 and smaller, etc.) We are coming into the time of year that many fly-fishers have success with terrestrials, such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, inchworm imitations. If the trout are not rising or feeding on the surface, try a nymph, as the fish will be feeding below the surface and won’t have to expend as much energy as they do when rising to the dry fly.