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The Patagonia

Springtime in the Catskills

It has been a cold spring but for the past week the weather has been warm and sunny during the day leading me to believe the rivers will warm. Because of the warming, yesterday, May 15th, I saw significant insect activity on the East Branch of the Delaware above the reservoir. They were clouds of midges and caddisflies and many mayflies, some of them quite large.

At 2PM the water was high at my favorite spot. The river was wadeable, but the shoreline had only a few dry areas to rest in. When I arrived, I did not see any rises and started casting a small streamer with the 11’3″ Meiser trout spey. After half an hour of observing the river, the fish began to rise to a hatch. I changed the fly from a streamer to a dry fly, and immediately the fish started to go for it. I could not hook up the line so long and so switched to my 9′ 5wt Winston Air and a tan caddis fly. I missed again, and the river went quiet.

I chatted with a fellow fisherman and his son to pass the time. We exchanged tips on fly casting while I watched the water and moved downstream. The insect activity increased as the afternoon progressed. By five, there seemed to be several insect hatches going on at the same time, the river was coated with bugs, and the trout started to rise again.

I spotted one rising trout that I could reach. I started casting to it with a large dry fly similar to a live Mayfly I had seen floating downstream earlier. Here’s a picture and the movie of the result.

It’s tough to make a movie with no one there to help. I didn’t really want to take this fish out of the water, but I did anyway and took a picture really fast. The trout swam away with vigor; hopefully, he still alive. I fell down, backing up to the shore, trying to net the fish and make a movie. The water came over the top of the waders, and I dropped my iPhone. The phone was completely submerged for about 10 seconds, with no damage.

By Peter Geoghan

Adventurer with doubts who self-guides his own fly fishing trips to Chile and Argentina. I am from New York City but last lived in the lovely Catskills, the land of bright trout, many reservoirs, rivers, streams, and creeks. Please email me at psg35@cornell.edu

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