We fished the East Branch Delaware for about an hour or so late on Monday morning and caught a few fish - one below the surface on a Black Leech, the others on Dun Variants size #14, as we noticed some Isonychias about and even some spinners, along with a few light colored caddises in the air. Fishing was a bit challenging, as the river was so low. As we were walking downstream to our destination, we saw a bald eagle flying upstream with either an eel or a mink in its talons - the creature was thin and hung down on either side. The eagle dropped it in the river and flew over to a tree on the river's edge, where it was soon joined by another. With water levels so low as they were that day, the birds of prey were out in force and evidently having good luck - we also saw a number of Great Blue Herons and a few Mergansers as well.
All changed by the next day. Tuesday’s storms brought a tremendous amount of rain, causing flood conditions in our area. In less than 15 hours, the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls swelled from just 96 cubic feet per second at 6:00 in the morning of September 18, to an amazing 26,700 cubic feet per second by about 8:00 that evening!
Area schools were delayed, roads were closed, the hamlet of Livingston Manor was badly flooded, two bridges were damaged (one was completely swept away) and houses and structures in the middle of town were undermined and ruined.
As waters recede and the flood damage is cleaned up, rivers remain high and discolored. There will no doubt be an adequate amount of water in the streams until the end of the trout fishing season, October 15.
When fishing in high or discolored water, if no flies are seen hatching, and no trout are rising, try fishing below the surface with a large streamer or wet fly such as a large Black Leech or Woolly Bugger; using a fly with a bead head or a cone head can improve your success, as the bead or cone will help with visibility.
Flies that may be observed hatching include Isonychias (slate-colored mayflies) and tan colored caddis flies. The Dun Variant in size #14 as well as the Elk Hair Caddis in size #14, may encourage a trout to rise.