Hook, line and sinker: May 8, 2013

Cheryl Myers of Pepacton Bait and Tackle in Arkville has announced the winner of their April Trout Derby. Jack Jordan of Pine Hill caught the prize-winning fish, a beauty of a brown trout that weighed 10 pounds, three and-one-half ounces. Jack caught his fish while fishing in the Pepacton Reservoir using a shiner for bail.

Cheryl and Tom are hosting a Trout Derby in May as well. For a $10 entry fee, anglers have a chance at a cash prize (and other prizes) to be awarded for the biggest trout brought in this month. Stop by Pepacton Bait & Tackle in Arkville, or call 845 750-5061.

Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville said that fishing in Pepacton Reservoir continues to be good. Many boat anglers have had good luck trolling Christmas Trees with bait. The trout are about 15 feet down. The fish that are being brought into the store continue to look good, healthy and fat.

Fred Cerone from Pennsylvania bagged a 24-inch brown on a sawbelly that weighed six pounds, nine ounces. Dave Tuttle from Newburgh was fishing about 20 feet down with a sawbelly and netted a nice brown that weighed seven pounds, six ounces. Dennis Horvath of New Jersey was trolling when he caught a six-pound, 14-ounce brown. And Steve Sugarman of Shinhopple caught his first trout on the East Branch this year; a beautiful 24-inch brown while fishing with a size #16 caddis fly.

On Friday morning, wave upon wave of caddis flies were hatching on the lower Beaverkill. The numbers of flies were reminiscent of a snowstorm – mostly caddis with some smaller size #16 dark mayflies mixed in. The hatches continued on all throughout the day, and also on Saturday toward evening.

The East and West branches of the Delaware have also had fantastic fly hatches. Roger Barr of Afton said the caddis hatches on the West Branch are the best he’s seen in 25 years, and an angler fishing the East Branch at 6 p.m. noted that he was the only one in that section of the river, and while casting a size #16 Blue Dun, managed a great brown trout that measured 24 inches in length. He said that the fish were ‘hitting everything’ at that time of day.

Fly action is hot
Dave Budin of Del-Sports in Margaretville reported that he sold quite a few Hendrickson dry flies over the past week. He noticed a Red Quill hatch; the Red Quill is the male of the species, usually tied on size #14, with the Hendrickson, tied on a size #12 hook, representing the female. Dave was happy to report excellent fishing conditions. Water levels are great, temperatures are good, with sunshine and good weather and lots of flies! Young Curtis Aubrey of Margaretville was again lucky to catch another 20 plus inch trout. And rumor has it that John Hoeko of Fleischmanns was fishing the Bushkill and bagged a very large rainbow trout that may have exceeded 20 inches in length.
The last weekend in April proved to be a beautiful one. Temperatures finally started to warm, the sun was shining, great numbers of flies were hatching, and fishing was productive. After such a long spate of cold, overcast days, it felt great to be outside!

There was a terrific hatch of caddis flies on the main Delaware on Saturday late morning/mid-day, hitting the car windshield like a snowstorm at times. And, with last week being the last full week of April, flyfishers have been awaiting the arrival of the Hendricksons, which usually make their appearance at about the time when the forsythia is blooming, along with Dutchman’s Britches, Violets and Colts-foot flowers, and the budding of wild cherry trees. Sure enough, fishing shops have been selling lots of Hendricksons, as these much-anticipated mayflies have been hatching in good numbers on the East and West branches of the Delaware - below Shinhopple, and on the West Branch, above the dam between Walton and Hamden. Hendricksons are also hatching on the lower Beaverkill; the waters have finally reached that “magic number” of 50 degrees, and spurred on the much-beloved mayfly hatch. (The Hendrickson, tied on a size #12 hook, represents the female – and the Red Quill, tied on size #14 is actually the male of the species.)

Pepacton fishermen catching on
Fishing on the Pepacton Reservoir has also been productive this past week.
Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville reported on a number of happy anglers. Al has been selling quit a few trolling outfits since last weekend, and said that he’s just gotten sawbellies in as well.

John Contro, from Binghamton, was fishing from shore with a Kastmaster, and bagged a beauty of a brown trout that weighed 11 pounds, 14 ounces, and measured 31 inches in length.
A party of four, including Charlie Mills of Downsville, and three friends from New Jersey, were trolling on Saturday morning with Christmas Tree rigs and bait in the shallow waters of the coves. The group caught a good number of trout and kept five; the largest weighed eight and- one-quarter pounds. They were finding their fish at about 15 feet down.

Brown from deep down
An interesting contrast was Stevie-O from Highmount, who managed to catch a nice brown that weighed seven pounds, two ounces and measured 26 inches in length. Stevie was fishing by the dam, way down on the bottom in 120 feet of water! He mentioned that there are still a lot of trout hanging on the bottom in the deeper water, but once the water warms and the baitfish start coming up, it won’t be long before the trout follow them.

Speaking of that “magic number” of 50 degrees Fahrenheit – in addition to spurring on the great mayfly hatches, once the surface water of the reservoir hits 50 degrees, as it has a few times this past week, the bait fish will come up to lanterns.

And bass have still been hitting pretty well. A New Jersey fisherman had a banner day on the Pepacton on Sunday – using worms, plugs, stick baits and RatLTraps. He ended his day catching and releasing 54 bass!