Earth Day

April 20 – 22 – Roscoe – 

We did some fishing which I will cover below but first:

Earth Day

I remember the first one in 1970. We have come a long way since then.  No more burning rivers or raw sewage in our streams. The soot no longer covers the city buildings from the coal fires and incinerated trash. You can breathe the air on most days and the acid rain that killed so many Adirondack brook trout ponds is at bay – for now. A lot of work and a lot to be thankful for, so get outside and enjoy the fruits of our combined labors.

Of course we have to stay on top of it.  Lots of discussion on the political and legislative levels that I will not get into here, but each of us needs to keep a personal eye on what is transpiring if we want our grand kids to enjoy the streams we are on this weekend.

April on the Willow

Long Island Flyrodders and LITU have a number of stream cleanups each year on the Island:  Carll’s River, Nissequogue, and this year we added Alley Pond Park in Queens. Art Flick TU watch’s over the Carmans. We also do work in Connecticut and upstate NY.

On this Earth Day, Saturday April 22,  we are at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor NY with 30 volunteers from Long Island, organized by Peter Dubno, to clean the Willowemoc and Beaverkill.   We covered from CFFCM to Ferdon’s with a side trip to Mongaup and this pile of trash is only a portion of what was collected, the rest being in the trucks.

LI Flyrodders and LITU Spring Cleanup

Back to the fishing report: I arrive on Thursday and the rivers are clear and wadable in most places. The morning is spent touring the area and taking water temperatures.  Neversink has receded at Grey’s Bridge but still a heavy flow with the reservoirs all at 99% and spilling over. Up Beaverkill Road by the campsite: 47 degrees.  206 Bridge: 50 with some guys in the water.  Barnhard’s at noon: 52 degrees.

I am on the water at the head of the pool by 1:00, working a pair of nymphs (bead-head Prince with a Pheasant Tail dropper).  I lose the rig while working the edge of the riffle. Re-rigged, I fish my way downstream, casting every 25 yards or so, the slower water preferred. I have the place to myself with the accompaniment of a continuous small tan caddis hatch and, once in a while, a single mayfly. No risers. I am hoping for a Hendrickson hatch although the reports are not encouraging.

I don’t expect much and am surprised at the first hit.  I figured, given my mindset, that it was a sucker since I had the flies down deep. Maybe snagged. Then the fish wakes up and gives a good account of himself. Nice Brown.

My inclination was to move down but I toss a few more and hook another, a bit smaller. Both on the Pheasant Tail. 50 yards down and two more. By the bend, an another.  At the Portal I work hard, changing depths, adding weight, but get blanked.  Then I see a  Bald Eagle come out of a tree followed by another.  I guess they took care of those trout willing to be out feeding.  There are 2 pair of mergansers working the run as well. I walk to Hendrickson’s.

The water is clear but the flow is strong.  I wade carefully making double sure of each foot plant and leaning on my staff.  A Hendrickson comes off the water followed by a few more. Once on the other side, I work the usual places still nymphing. The wash behind the big rock brings strong hits without hook ups. I figure out how to extend the drift in the rushing water and have a fighter on.  I am standing precariously on slippery rocks and hesitate backing out for a photo, so I bring him to my side and flip the hook out – beautifully colored.

I have only 2 Hendricksons in my day box since I left the rest in a cup on my tying bench. I move to the edge of the eddy with the dry and then the emerger, working systematically out further and further.  I find myself hauling too long of a cast to no risers – well almost no risers.  There is one guy out in the current in front of Piano Rock smashing emerging flies one after the other.  Seems like a big fellow and very aggressive in his take. I can’t reach him.

Friday – Mike Parody is joining me for a day of fishing before the cleanup on Saturday. He calls from town while talking with Dennis at Catskill Flies, so I ask him to get me a few Hendrickson Emergers. Phil from Trout Town Adventures and Guide Services is there as well. Small town!

Mike Parody

I am about to call the Dette recording when I realize we can see their shop from our hotel (Creekside Cabins Bed & Bath) so we drive over.  Joe was in and offered some suggestions. We repeat the tour of the rivers and take more temperatures. The overnight rain brought them up 6 inches or more and they are a bit discolored.

Check the upper Willow and the water is still clear. We pass two stocking trucks on the road with a caravan of cars behind them. That should help make the weekend for some people.

Next stop is the East Branch which is running muddy at the Flats. We head back to the Willow along old 17, checking pools as we go.  Cairn’s has 4 cars so we stop at the next pull off.  The rocks are submerged but I just have to toss a well weighted nymph rig to where that big boy was rising yesterday.  I have high hopes but no deal.

Above DeBruce we get on the river. A quiet spot where you walk through the forest along the stream.  No stocking trucks getting in here, but maybe some brookies are home. Water temperature 47, wadable. The rain creates some beautiful water courses which we stop to enjoy.

Spate on the Willow

It is after 3 and, with no bugs in sight, it makes sense to stick with nymphs working upstream. By 5 we turn to work our way back.  Mike chose some good water and covered it well with his new 10 foot 4 wt.  I switched to a streamer and was prospecting below him in the low probability runs, retrieving along the quieter banks and hoping.

Mike on the Willow

His was the better strategy as he landed this beauty:

On Saturday we meet up with the others from Long Island at the CFFCM and are assigned to the pull offs from the two upstream of the Museum all the way to Ferdon’s below Junction Pool in Roscoe. Lots of litter and a tire – much cleaner than in those years following the floods where you could expect to find just about anything in the river.

Cleanup at Ferdon’s

Mike and I want to get home for dinner so we plan a little fishing at the Rhododendron Pool after the BBQ lunch provided by the Long Island Flyrodders, and served by Rich and Annemarie Cosgrove (delicious!). Flyrodder Bob Horowitz asks to come along and we are happy to have him.

Mike went to town for some Little Store fudge before joining us. Bob works his way up to the quiet water and is rewarded with 4 nice ones that this year’s stocking truck did not provide – nice work Bob! I fish a short hour and pack it in, greeting Rob Eggleton on the path with a few sports from England. I mention that we stopped by the Red Rose and spoke to his son. They hope to have it open by this summer. Look for the grand opening!

So there you have it.  Some early season fishing, a few Hendricksons, a couple of nice fish and good friends, all giving back to these waters that we love.

One last thing – make sure to clean your gear when you get home.  We don’t want any knot weed in the Carmans.


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