100 Best: Delaware River

Location: Southcentral New York, Northeast Pennsylvania
Type of stream: Tailwater
Angling methods: Fly, Spin
Species: Rainbows, Browns
Access: Moderate
Season: Year ‘round
Supporting Services: Hancock
Short take: Flooding gives the big D a face lift
Handicapped Access: None
Closest TU Chapter: Al Hazzard
The Delaware River is really three different streams.  The West Branch flows out of Cannonsville Reservoir and the East Branch from Pepacton.  They join at Hancock, N.Y. establishing the main stem which fishes well for rainbows and browns all the way down to Calicoon, a distance of roughly 25 miles.  Some have opined that the Delaware is the Madison of the East.  But others assert that the opposite is true.  In its West Branch and main stem, 18-inch browns and rainbows are not the least uncommon.
Name a species of mayfly, caddis, or stonefly and most likely a variant or sub-variant can be found in the Delaware and its branches. For most of us, the West Branch offers the best trouting on the Delaware.  Numerous points permit public access.  Because water temperatures are cooler than on the East Branch, the fishery weathers even the dogest days of August.  
The East Branch is much smaller than the West Branch and access is limited.  The run above heavy whitewater that begins Shinopple, N.Y. is best fished from a canoe. Below Shinopple, the river breaks into a narrow valley and slows.  The Beaver Kill joins the East Branch at, where else, the whistle stop called East Branch.  If flows are ample and cool, the East Branch can hold trout all the way down to its junction with the West Branch downstream from Hancock. If it’s been a long hot summer, forget the lower East Branch. You’ll catch more trout on the West Branch.


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