Our rivers and streams rose briefly above the average flow last Tuesday but dropped back down quickly. On Sunday afternoon the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at about 129 cubic feet per …
Our rivers and streams rose briefly above the average flow last Tuesday but dropped back down quickly. On Sunday afternoon the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at about 129 cubic feet per second, which is below the 106-year (mean) average of 382 cfs. Water temperatures ranged from a low of 57 degrees last Tuesday to well into the 70s as of Sunday afternoon.
Many anglers were out on the river this past weekend, thanks to the “Free Fishing Weekend” offered by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. There were a number of out-of-town cars lining the banks of our favorite rivers and streams. During these Free Fishing Weekends, anyone can fish the fresh waters of New York State and no fishing license is required; all other freshwater fishing regulations still apply.
The end of June is a special time – with graduation ceremonies, schools coming to a close, chicken barbecues starting up, families getting together to celebrate the summer. And this past weekend we were treated to a beautiful phenomenon – the Supermoon (this one being the last of the year) - also dubbed the Strawberry Moon by the Algonquins, who named it thus as it coincided with the ripening of the wild strawberries, a “sign” that the tiny sweet fruits were ready to be picked.
The rising of such a large moon cast a magical ambience to an evening’s fishing trip, as I heard from an angler who went fishing with his son. They headed over to the (main) Delaware river and chose a place to fish but found only sporadic rises; a few mayflies were in the air but no major hatch to speak of. The air temperature was comfortable in the low 70s with a nice breeze; the water temperature was 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
They cast their flies to the sporadic rises and caught several fallfish (chubs) but no trout. The father mentioned the old adage that “chubs and trout will feed at the same table, but not at the same time.”
Undaunted by the lack of success in catching trout, the fishing duo returned to the same location the next night under similar conditions; this time there were no rises, just an occasional fish breaking the surface that appeared to be a trout. It was a nice, quiet evening on the river – no sounds except the water’s soothing flow and the occasional chorus of birds warbling their good night songs. A bald eagle was spotted flying downriver, then back upstream again.
Wakened from his reverie, the son tied on a size #14 Elk Hair Caddis – although there was no hatch evident, there was an occasional rise that appeared to be a trout pursuing something on the surface. He made a half-dozen casts to the fish and all of a sudden, the trout took the fly, he set the hook, and the fun began!
True to the Delaware’s reputation, this was a strong fish, which took off straight downstream, making long runs and leaping at least three times out of the water, putting the angler’s reel into the backing! He could see that it was a beautiful wild rainbow, one of the magnificent trout which the main Delaware is known for, that raced and leaped like a wild mustang and provided thrills for the angler.
When at last the fish was netted, the measuring tape revealed all of 17 inches – and perhaps a bit more. Needless to say, the angler was happy, but the father even more so, proudly watching his son’s success in hooking, playing and landing the fish – which was then gently released back to its home waters, perhaps to provide another exciting fishing trip on another day.
Judy Van Put is a long-time member of the NYS Outdoor Writers Association, and is the recipient of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited’s Professional Communications Award.