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Fishing 2020

JimG.

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So since ski season 19-20 got shut down I decided to do some wading and fishing on 3/21. After passing the main parking area which was packed and seeing fly fishermen fishing shoulder to shoulder near the spillway of the East Branch in the bathtub I drove to my more secluded spot at Brady's bend. Nobody there. Parked and wadered up. Had to bushwack downstream to my favorite pool there has been no trimming of pathways yet so it was more like bramble busting and getting to the water required planning.
EB321202.jpg
Once I got in to the pool I had targeted it had of course changed over the winter with many snags and logs moved around. My favorite cast was very difficult to line up with a fallen tree guarding the shoreline area I was aiming at. So of course I lost a spinner snagging it on the tree. There are few spots to wade out to the best casts; most of this pool is very deep.
EB321201.jpg
This is downstream from the pool. I casted and casted a variety of spinners and Rapalas and didn't get a bite. Nothing has been stocked yet but I was glad for that because if I had gotten a bite it would probably have been a nice fish. Anyway after 3 hours I worked my way back to my pool. And of course I had to push it lining that cast up. I kept walking out towards the center of the pool on a spit of hard bottom...and my next step was into mud quicksand and I was in up to my knees in a flash. So without hesitation I became a swimmer and was lucky that enough of my torso was above water still and my buoyancy popped my legs out from the mud and I swam to shore.
My neoprene waders are tight so very little water got in and my legs, upper torso and in fact my waders were still dry. But my arms and shoulders got soaked and man that water was COLD. Thusly my fishing day ended.

Always an adventure and I had a great time.
 

CastlerockMRV

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Sunday looks like it will be a great day! I'm interested to see what places like Roscoe look like this weekend. I'm assuming it may actually be an even bigger opening weekend than normal. Likely won't head up there for a week or 2.

I officially hung up the skis and made the switch to fishing last weekend and got my first day out on South Branch of the Raritan River in NJ. Hopefully these social distancing and travel guidelines don't get too much stricter as I'm certainly hoping to get a few day trips to the Catskills in to keep my sanity. What better example of outdoor recreation that embraces social distancing can you think of than the grumpy flyfisherman standing alone in a river?!
 

Smellytele

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Sunday looks like it will be a great day! I'm interested to see what places like Roscoe look like this weekend. I'm assuming it may actually be an even bigger opening weekend than normal. Likely won't head up there for a week or 2.

I officially hung up the skis and made the switch to fishing last weekend and got my first day out on South Branch of the Raritan River in NJ. Hopefully these social distancing and travel guidelines don't get too much stricter as I'm certainly hoping to get a few day trips to the Catskills in to keep my sanity. What better example of outdoor recreation that embraces social distancing can you think of than the grumpy flyfisherman standing alone in a river?!

Matters how far you have to drive and how many stops along the way.


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JimG.

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Home -> Car -> River -> Car -> Home.

Blows my mind that anyone would do anything else right now!


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I'm lucky. My routine for a pandemic is home-river-home. But usually home to car to river and back.

Fishkill Creek runs through my property; just stocked last Monday today on my stretch should be good heading out in about an hour.

As for the Beaverkill or Esopus Creek I'm sure those areas will be overrun with fishermen I'll give those places 2-3 weeks.
 

JimG.

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4/1/20: Opening day on Fishkill creek in my backyard. Hiked downstream to where Dutchess county route 7 crosses over and worked upstream. Water was knee to waist deep in spots and crystal clear. Fished from 7 upstream past my house and east to about 1/2 mile from where the stocking truck was on Monday. Looking west towards route 7:
FC413.jpg
Looking east upstream:
FC417.jpg
My house
FC415.jpg
Looking upstream and east to the pool where I caught my first fish today, a gorgeous 15" holdover brown trout:
FC414.jpg
FC412.jpg
continued...
 

JimG.

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4/1/20 continued. Moved east and finally started catching stocked fish.
FC416.jpg
This pool with a deep undercut bank produced 3 stockies, the biggest was 12".
FC411.jpg
Spent 3 hours out and landed a total of 5 trout. All released unharmed.
 

JimG.

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4/4/20-Another day on Fishkill Creek. More good results in pretty much the same places as a few days ago. Caught 9 trout today.

Ready to go

FC44203.jpg

Heading out

FC44204.jpg

Caught 1 holdover brown trout; well fed (plump yellow and white belly) with defined and colorful brown and red spots

FC44202.jpg

and 8 stocked browns all painfully skinny and pale with poorly defined dark spots

FC44201.jpg

the ones that survive the initial fishing frenzy will fatten up and become more colorful as they feed in the creek.
 

CastlerockMRV

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Welp...can’t say I’m surprised or strongly disagree but this is a bummer.


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JimG.

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I am not surprised either. My buddy Carmine is devastated. Like when skiing shut down in March.

I've lived here for 17 years and took the creek on my property for granted for the most part. I have to admit being here and being able to fish as well is pretty special. I feel as if I'm intruding if I go even 25 minutes from home. Here I can just relax.
 

CastlerockMRV

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Between this, skiing ending early, and most Mtn bike / hiking trails being closed for the same reason, I’m running out of ways to recreate. Might do a push-up later. Idk.


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JimG.

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Between this, skiing ending early, and most Mtn bike / hiking trails being closed for the same reason, I’m running out of ways to recreate. Might do a push-up later. Idk.


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Where do you live? There are places to fish near me that are accessible and uncrowded so much easier to maintain physical distances. The west branch of the Delaware, Beaverkill/Willowemoc creeks and Esopus creeks are fisherperson magnets and too crowded to fish now.
 

CastlerockMRV

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I’m just outside of NYC in Hoboken. Have been able to hit the South Branch of the Raritan River a few times but that’s the nearest Trout water I’m aware of. (Apart from a few lakes but I’m a fly guy so those are a bit less interesting to me.)

Silver lining is that the Stripers will arrive soon and I’ll be able to shift my efforts East! Although I’m still very committed to upping my Trout game this year as I’ve only recently made the jump from salt to fresh water.


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JimG.

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I’m just outside of NYC in Hoboken. Have been able to hit the South Branch of the Raritan River a few times but that’s the nearest Trout water I’m aware of. (Apart from a few lakes but I’m a fly guy so those are a bit less interesting to me.)

Silver lining is that the Stripers will arrive soon and I’ll be able to shift my efforts East! Although I’m still very committed to upping my Trout game this year as I’ve only recently made the jump from salt to fresh water.


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Got it. I'm not well versed in that area.

My buddies and I have a few rowboats on the NYC reservoirs but right now that has to be a solo mission as well.

Salt water fishing is also an issue in the sense that your boat will have to be big enough to physically distance or you will be solo. Unless you are a beach/shoreline guy. Those areas will be seeing high traffic too.

You would enjoy the East branch of the Croton river between Sodom reservoir and Diverting reservoir. That's one of my local stomping grounds and perfect for fly fishing. Daily creel limit 1 fish 14" or bigger. Artificial baits only, no live bait. A special regulation area.
 
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JimG.

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Went to the East Branch today. Brady's bend was filled with trout. Caught about a dozen 8-10" stocked trout in these pools:
EB412202.jpg
EB412201.jpg
That undercut bank produced 6 stockies and the fallen trees in the second shot produced another half dozen trout. Before heading out I threw another cast into that nice backwash on the right in the second shot and landed my nicest trout of the season so far:
EB412203.jpg
Moved down to the pools near the Borden bridge in Brewster and caught another half dozen stocked fish before heading home.
 
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JimG.

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Wanted to get another day at the East Branch but the great weather lead to crowds so I audibled to Fishkill creek today. I caught 3 6-8" stocked fish and this very fine brown trout that put up a spirited fight even when landed:

FC425201.jpg

This may be my fish of a lifetime in this creek. I never expected to land something this nice in my backyard. A conservative estimate is 18-20" and 3.5 to 4 lbs.

FC425202.jpg

After snapping that second shot I got the hook out of this fish and quickly got it back in the water. After 30 seconds of being cradled in the current it recovered and swam away in a big swirl.

Fishkill creek continues to produce this season.
 

JimG.

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Great fish. I guess the efforts to clean it up are working. Nice to see.

The clean up efforts have been remarkable. In addition to the crystal clear water there is no longer any refuse (old lawn chairs, car parts and rims, etc.) left in the creek.
 

JimG.

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Fished the East Branch yesterday. It was a real day of fishing. Water was high at least 18" higher than my last trip. I realized immediately this was not going to be a small fish day, they were hiding from the current. This was going to be a you get a few chances at fish don't blow it day. The key would be getting my spinner down to the laminar flow in deep pools so I grabbed some slightly bigger than usual #1 and #2 Vibrax.
Scored after about a half-hour of casting with a 13-14" brown at my regular spot. Fished the bend and moved downstream. I got to the area I usually move back upstream and fished carefully in the deep swirling pool. Bang, another nice brown bigger than the one I landed! And then I lost the fish. Time check and we are at 2.5 hours of fishing time. That seemed like my best last chance at a big fish. Pretty discouraging. Big dummy looking at the fish jump instead of setting the hook right away.
Kept moving downstream past Brady's bend to about halfway to the 84 overpass. I have not fished down there for decades. But it looked great with the high water. It looked very fishy too:
EB52202.jpg
I scoped out a backwash guarded by a big brush pile right next to the main channel with deep fast moving water just downstream from that wire. When I threw the cast I knew it would land me a fish:
EB52201.jpg
The East Branch also has rainbow trout in it, maybe 10% of the trout population. This is the time of year to catch them and usually they are small, like 8-10". So I didn't expect a nice 18" specimen like this one. Nicest rainbow I've ever caught southeast of the Catskills. Fished for another hour or so and headed back to my car.
2020 has been an excellent trout fishing year so far. Funny how it works, if there was skiing I wouldn't even be fishing!
 
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