The flow is low, the water temperature on the Natchaug is 68 degrees and approaching the STOP level of 70 degrees. The trout are stressed and looking for oxygen in faster moving water and conditions are simply not the best for this early in the season. Hopefully much needed rain will help, but none forecasted soon.
We will proceed with our June 16 no-charge basic casting class at Charlie Brown Campground and will put on hold our on-water session scheduled for that afternoon, pending conditions. Stop by and join us!
A brief look at the river on Sunday returning from a long weekend in the upper Delaware River area was discouraging, after perfect conditions on the East and West branches of the Delaware and the Beaverkill and Willowemoc, although the water temps are rising some on the freestones (Beamoc system.)
The West Branch may be the best trout stream east of the Mississippi, all wild fish and is challenging to say the least. The action was limited to mid afternoon for an hour if that, and again in the evening. East Branch was strictly 7-10 pm action on spinners, emergers and caddis. Both are great challenges and the Farmington which I love to fish, is a walk in the park compared to these. The key on the WB, as is the case on tailwaters I believe, is to be patient, walk and search for a steady riser and of course have the right pattern. Blind casting and casting to middle of the river to sporadic risers may result in a few small fish if you're fishing on top or just under with emergers. Sulphurs were in abundance but the duns went largely untouched as the trout took the emergers.
The best trout are found usually within 20 feet or less of the river side and rising in rhythm and it takes heavy duty searching to find 'em! Chances of a take, providing you're drag free and right over him are greatly increased in this situation...old news for the experienced but worth noting for newer dry fly folks. (I consider on top and just under [emergers] as being a "dry fly.") I was able, after several hours of inactivity to find 3 steady risers within 20 feet of each other, took the biggest, a 17" brown, one a bit smaller and missed a clean hook up on an even bigger fish all inside of 5 minutes on an size 14 Isonychia pattern, having spotted some Iso's coming off earlier.
Monday, a quick stop at 9:00 am at Cemetary pool on the Beaverkill saw March Browns in full force! My adult nephew and I were probably 30 minutes or more late since this hatch didn't last long and the fish stopped rising. I spotted my steady riser across the river, maybe 15 feet from the far bank and instantly knew this was the fish of the trip! I had a March Brown pattern tied on, got in place made a cast upstream for distance and put it on 'em! BANG!
The rest is history...broke off at the tippet knot. I can count on one hand EVER being broke off at the tippet knot, oh well operator error! This was a big brown, legendary for that particular pool and I raised 'em, just didn't get him to hand. I can live with that, it happens. Great rivers, every one a challenge and not being a numbers guy, I loved every minute...searching, wading, walking, staring at moving water for hours looking for the worthwhile target, sometimes not making a cast for an hour...waiting and then several steady roll up rises perhaps 50 yards across the river...then the fun begins!