A Day on the River: West Branch of the Delaware River


We quietly floated into a position on an offshoot of the West Branch. Over the years of high water and/or flood stage flows, the river braided/branched out from its normal banks and formed a series of islands. As time moved on, one of the braids became larger and provided new habitat for trout to live in.

We slowly slid into the south inside bank of a larger river offshoot, or braid, with the other side of the braid being the deep section where the trout find primary lies and feeding lanes. John, our guide, stated that we were going to settle in this location for the evening sulfur hatch.

John has been on the river most every day and accurately knew when the hatch would start and end. The afternoon hatch started at about 1 p.m. and lasted about three hours, as he predicted.

We were on the water at about 1 p.m. and organized the drift boat before we launched. Richard was in the front seat, Guide John in the rowing middle seat and I was in the back. The hatch started slowly along with the feeding trout.

To some disappointment, there was an increase of 400 cfs release of water from the Cannonsville Dam, which introduced a significant amount of green slime/moss into the river. We were only able to fish dry flies due to this situation. Even drifting dry flies, the fly would get fouled with the green curse about every other cast.

The afternoon produced several small trout and one big trout that we were not able to get to the net; the hook pulled out after an extended fight. Due to the increase in water discharge and associated debris, the fish were less active as would be expected. Even though the water temperature was very good ranging from 48 to 58 degrees through the day, the fishing was still slow.

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