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31, 2008 - Lehigh Update - Low Releases!!
Outflow from Walter is now less than 200cfs, and is in
fact closer to 180cfs. With the lake
sitting at about 1,361' on August 1st we should really
not be looking at anything less than a solid 225cfs minimum
flow from here on out - - thru the end of recreation season.
And here we have a meager 180cfs release! This is really
BS!! Even though the majority of the colder (<20c) water
from Walter is gone, the trout are still there, and need
the water NOW...more than ever! Why are we
holding pool?!?! Higher releases, even if it is warm, allows
the trout to move around, and find the seeps...not to mention,
additional volume dilutes the AMD issues throughout the
watershed. Increased releases will also keep more of the
river rocks covered which can also hold the water temps
We urge all readers to write the Corps and tell them we
need more water for the resource - - especially when there is
more than enough in storage right now to accommodate all whitewater
releases for the remainder of the season. This is very easy...contacts
are pasted below. Bottom line is, there is now way we should be
seeing a 180cfs release or anything close to that low of a release
from here through October 12!
Army Corps of Engineers Comment Contacts
29, 2008 - West Branch Delaware Report
It appears the fishing has tailed off considerably since
the rains of last week, that crushed some areas of the Upper
D Watershed. Hardest hit areas, were the East Branch and
with the latter spiking above flood stage at one point.
The West Branch did not get as heavy rains, but did go off
color. On top of that the water is warming up in the lower
river, due to the lack of any significant releases.
Right now we are in primetime for Isonychias...which is
an imitation that is usually money-in-bank when it comes
to pulling up fish during the middle of the day. Nope -
- this was not the case. In fact none were observed and
only a handful of fish fell for the imitation. Two of the
nicer ones, threw the hook shortly after the take. It appears
we might be in a holding pattern until we get some colder
One other observation is the amount of small and YOY trout
in the West Branch system. In some pools the little ones
are all over, smacking the surface with wild abandon. Photoed
to the right is one that fell to an iso. You can also see
some of the algea on the fly. It really was bad on the upper
West, but settled out by the time the flow reached the Hale
Small brownie that ate an iso.
21, 2008 - Update
Not much doing really. Trying to stay cool is the name of the
game until this most recent hot weather moves on out of here -
- none to soon. Trout fishing for the most part is now an early
morning event, even on the coldest of our PA limestoners. Tricos
are hatching like clockwork - - in the 7-9am timeframe. The Tully,
and the Little Lehigh are two waters down this way that have pretty
good friend of ours was up on the West Branch over the weekend,
and said the fishing was slow on Saturday. Once again there was
a large slug of water which should have helped the fishing somewhat,
once the fish adjusted - - but on this day a storm rolled in,
and after the rain ended the fog/mist rolled in. For those who've
never fished the Upper D system - - when the fog/mist arrives,
the dry fly action tends to shut off...and that is what this person
was looking for.
week we were able to make another run to the upper Lehigh. This
time we were above the Gorge, near White Haven. The quality of
the fish was not on par with the Gorge trip we had, but the numbers
of fish were impressive. Appears there are still a lot of stockies
still hanging on, as well as a lot of recent PFBC planted fingerlings.
It will be interesting to see how these hold up over the summer,
and into the fall/winter. Water temps are now at the point where
catching and releasing trout will put them under a great deal
of stress. It is safe to say we need some rain, as well as a respite
from this heat. Pictured to the right is just one of many stockies
that came to hand during the outing. Again, a dry/dropper rig
produced. We are done with the Lehigh for now.
14, 2008 - Gorg'in!
trout, big water and a dry n dropper rig. One might think this
is only a rocky mountain west gig or at least certainly not much
of an option in PeeAy. Well, that is not exactly the case. The
Lehigh in the Gorge is exactly this.
While the numbers of fish might not be enourmous, the ones that
are there do provide for some exciting fishing. And if they happen
to make their way into the fast water when hooked - - watch out!
In no time, you will be scrambling
along the rocks, chasing them down, as their design is a lot more
conducive to nagivating this threacherous waterway.
The plan for the day was to meet early in the a.m., before the
sun got up and over the ridge, then hit the rails-to-trail and
look for some fishy water. It did not take long until we found
what could possibly be the definition of prime trout habitit -
- boulders, whitewater, deep slots, runs, eddies - - you name
it! And food! Lets not forget the stoneflys! They are everywhere.
Both living, and shucked out.
So after we managed to scale down the bank, it did not take long
for a stockie brookie to smack one of our bead-head droppers.
Shortly there after we got the bow pictured above....which was
then followed by a couple of more take downs of our dry indicator.
By the way, the bow is prolly a swim-up LRSA stocker. Boy did
it make the reel sing! About mid-morning we got a solid wild brown!
is pictured to the right and ate a copper john. In the big water,
it put up a great fight! Another couple of missed fish, and one
more brookie rounded out the morning. Unfortunately we do not
have a picture of the brookie...it sure was a beaut! It measured
out to 13", and was all colored up! Definitely a native fish.
It smacked a small black bugger.
This was really a great outing! So much water, and not enough
time. Hopefully we can get back up in there again this summer.
9, 2008 - Lehigh Update - Lehighton
The Lehigh on the Fourth was far from peaceful. It turns out
our intentions of a leisurely, family float was not in the cards.
Whitewater release, or not, the masses love the Lehigh. The pic
below certainly illustrates how un-whitewater it was, and pretty
much paints the scene that lasted hours. We floated below the
Gorge, and we should have known, but when there is not a release
and not enough water to run 'whitewater' trips in the Gorge, the
permitted companies just pack the boats onto the Jim Thorpe to
Bowmanstown stretch. We've been seeing more and more of this lately.
We have no problem with this, however you have to begin to wonder
how important the 24
designated whitewater releases are, let alone the cfs of the
release when it appears release or no release draws in the business.
We also ask for a bit more courtesy toward the angler. Share the
river as they say.
Surprising, despite the chaotic scene on the river, the fish
still cooperated. The fish have got'n used to the rubber hatch
I guess. Water temps were pretty good too, only peaking in the
high-60s. During the afternoon the smallies were active and a
few trout were caught as well. Not much in the way of bug action
was witnessed, so we stuck with subsurface patterns. Going forward
the Lehigh below the Gorge might not be trout friendly unless
we get some rain, but the roadless Gorge stretch should still
fish well. If you plan to hit it, and are a dry-fly-ite, go with
a large attractor pattern - stimmies, wulffs, humpies; and for
you nymphers, we suggest a large heavily weighted stone imitation.
Fish early or late - lo-light. We hope to get up in there this
Not quite standing room only.
8, 2008 - West Branch Water Woes
Rolling into the holiday weekend, we were all set for the steady
250cfs from Cannonsville
to continue due to the fact Wallenpaupack was supposed to generate
over the weekend, which would mean the Montague target would be
met. With this being the case, no additional water from Cannonsville
would be needed to boost the Montague target to the magic 1,750cfs
Whelp that was not the case. In the early hours of July 4th,
NYC DEP turned on the water, to the highest release we've seen
all summer, and suddenly the West Branch was ice-cold bank to
bank. Nice surprise, although, for the life of me, I cannot understand
why we have to go from the meager release to one of more than
enough water (800cfs+). Can't we find a happy medium - - like
a steady 450cfs all summer long?! For the record, lets just say
that this current incarnation of the Flexible
Flow Management Plan (FFMP)is a flat-out joke! To be dewatering
the West and Upper Main like never before, and to call this new
plan a success would be a a crime. Lets hope some serious progress
is made in the coming months to address the lack of releases,
and the obnoxious yo-yo of flows at Montague. Just take a look
gage, and ask yourself if this is a good enough plan for the
Upper D trout fishery. Remember, the water that is now creating
the yo-yo at the Montague gage, would have been West Branch water
not too long ago.
Anyway, enough of the banter...As for the fishing, once the initial
shock of the cold, and stained water moved thru the system, the
fishsettled into place by Saturday, and the bugs were out in force.
From about 1pm thru dark the Upper West was blanketed in
sulphurs, stenos, cornutas and isos. Shortly after the hatch started,
the fish were on them. Some places there were more risers than
others, but if you really watched the water closely, you could
pick up on the more subtle rising fish. By far the most effective
fly during the day was what I would call a 'dirty' sulphur. This
is a parachute tie, with a poly post, and brown hackle. Body color
ranged anywhere from tan to brown, to burnt orange, to yellow
- - #14-16. More important was a drag free drift in my opinion.
This day produced only browns, ranging in the 13-18" range.
Then on Sunday, the release was dropped a bit more, but the fish
were still on the feed. In fact if you fished the lower West on
Sunday, the drop in release did not become noticeable until mid-afternoon.
This allowed for a morning of steady levels and solid fishing!
Caddis...there were not many of them, but just enough
to get the fish looking up before and after high noon. It really
is something special to pick up trout on drys in the brite sun,
on an early-July morning/afternoon. Blind fishing produced by
far the most hook-ups - - working the current seems, and edges.
However, if you did spot a splashy rise, and you got your fly
over the fish, they were on it! Hook-ups were fast and furious,
one double header. On this day, the 'bows were out in force! Man
did they scream line, and rocket out of the water. It was also
good to see quite a few small fish jumping after, and blasting
drys not having a care in the world.
Overall, it was an exceptional mid-summer, weekend of trout fishing,
on one of the best fisheries in the US! But it can be so much
July 2, 2008 - Happy Fourth & Tully!
First of all, have a safe holiday and wave
- Recently we were out on it running a trip, and found quite a
few rising fish to caddis, but there was very little hooking of
fish. Lots of technical difficulties was the theme that ran thru
the outing. Then to cap the night off, we had to tell a bunch
of, let's just say, english-speaking, challanged anglers - - and
we use that term loosly - - to beat it from the artificial
lure stretch. Bait and saltwater rods in hand, they just could
not understand why they were not able to fish. This all occured
right at dark, so you better believe that quite a bit of this
goes on quite a bit. Sure is a sign of the times.
Catch ya on the flip side!