As you so wisely eluded, fly fishing the Upper Delaware can be electric! “Similar to fishing some of the notable waters in Montana.” I concur. I spent two days fishing the upper west branch and main stem and was extremely impressed with the quality of fly fishing opportunities for large wild browns and rainbows. I stayed at the West Branch Anglers Resort. The accommodations and service were excellent. As you know, guide service is available through the resort but I hired Joe Demalderis, a 17 plus year Delaware Veteran who came highly recommended and proved to be exceptionally good. On the first day we floated the upper section of the West Branch and on the second day, we floated the lower quarter of the West Branch and 4 plus miles of the Main Branch. The gauge height at Hale Eddy was high at 5.10 feet, water temps hovered around 60 degrees F, and the combined flow rate from the Cannonsville Dam Discharge and recent precipitation was an unseasonably fast 2500cfs, spring-like conditions. We fished streamers exclusively with sink tip lines on the first day, casting to undercut banks and visible cover. The browns were extremely aggressive in some cases chasing 15 plus feet before putting the hammer down. Alewife or “Sawbelly” streamer patterns proved most effective which makes sense given the number of Alewives that spill over the dam during high water periods. We caught and released 3 beautiful wild browns over 20″, the largest pushing 24″. I certainly lost my share as well. So goes the novice. We saw an occasional sulfur and a few Blue winged Olives 20’s but no real surface activity to note. The second day proved to be more challenging, but equally rewarding. We started the day off fishing, yep you guessed it, streamers! And after an hour without a single follow, we switched to Isonychia Dry/Baetis Nymph, Large Brown Stone Nymph/Baetis Nymph tandem systems which produced nicely most of the day into the early evening. The browns ranged from a very healthy 15″ to 19″, but the highlight of the second day was a 21″ rainbow, which we hooked with a dry fly on the last cast of the day just as the sun was setting while slow drifted through long, quarter plus mile pools casting to rising fish.
Also, I wanted to say thanks for the many years of good advice and service. Your expert knowledge, experience, and good heartedness are much appreciated. The Simms G3 wader and Cloudveil boot system was the right call. Very pleased, and btw I sent my old waders to recycledwaders.com I am going with the wallet and nook sack. Great Idea!