Catskills Fly Fishing

Catskills Fly Fishing Overview

The Catskill Mountains have some of the worlds best trout fishing rivers. Just two hours north of New York City can put you in some primes fly fishing areas. The Beaverkill, Willowemoc, Delaware and Esopus rivers all have ample Catskill Fly Fishing opportunities. Overlooked by many because of the proximety to the tri-state region the Catskills is the home of American Dry Fly Fishing.

Where in the Catskills?

Simply put if you want to fully experience Catskills fly fishing you’re going to have to head to the western Catskills. Livingston Manor, Roscoe, East Branch, Hancock and Deposit are the towns that run through trout county. Many clients choose Air BNB’s around these towns or rent riverfront or mountainside cabins or lodges. We also offer our own lodging as well.

The only river not in the Western Catskills on our list is the Esopus. The Esopus is a small short river that has murky water and small fish. It is a pretty river but the state put a portal in that messed up the water flow and clarity. This ultimately hurt the bug hatches. If you really want to experience Catskill Fly Fishing you’ll have to head more west. Many anglers stay away from the Esopus.

The Beaverkill and Willowemoc are the best rivers to learn on in the Catskill Mountains. We offer guided wade fly fishing trips and beginner lessons on these famous rivers. It is not uncommon for us to fish 4-5 spots in a single day on a guide trip.

The Catskills also contains the “Upper Delaware” which consists of 3 rivers all connected that originate in the Catskills. They flow 390 miles south and empty into the Atlantic Ocean. We fish and guide the headwaters of this system in the Catskills. The Upper Delaware System is comprised of the East Branch, West Branch, and Mainstem.

Catskills Fly Fishing Map

Catskills Fly Fishing Gear

In the Catskills if you are targeting trout fish nymphs or dry flies you can’t go wrong with a 9 foot 5 weight rod. Make sure the line is newer without any kinks.

We rent waders, boots, rods and reels, nets if needed. Please contact us to learn more.

Catskills Species of Trout

In the Catskills the most common is Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout.

Catskills Trout Species

Cold Front About to Grip Catskills

Over the next few days the Catskill Region and Upper Delaware River System will see extreme winter temperatures. What will this mean for the Delaware River System? Let’s see…

Seven Day Forecast

Catskills Winter Weather

Over the next seven days we will be lucky to get the mercury over the freezing mark. It feels like the sun has had its mask on for about a month now. The sky is gray and the ground is hard and icy.

As the winter temperatures fall you will see the rivers “lock up” a bit. The edges will freeze and runoff melt will seize. As you will see looking at the flows charts, any new runoff that was destined for the river will freeze. Shelf ice is inevitable with these extreme winter temperatures. .

What does this mean for fishing?

Fishing will get very very tough for the angler. The ice on the tip of the rod will make it tough to fish for a long time. The fish will drop into the deepest holes and be glued to the bottom. Indicator nymphing deep slow holes with an indicator is your best bet.

Best Delaware River Articulated Streamer

My good friend and mentor George Cherundolo and I experimented with Kelly Galloup’s Boogieman Streamer over the past decade. Together George and I have tested many articulated streamers on the Delaware River System and this my friends is it!

Why the Boogieman Fly?

The Boogieman is the perfect eastern river streamer. Tied with lead eyes to get the fly down fast when slapping banks is crucial. However making it dance is the second part of the equation. To be blunt, this fly gets down and dances very quick.

Boogieman Fly Best Delaware River Streamer

George and I have dubbed the fly above the “green machine.” As George would say “this fly is a killer.” We will usually start with green and mix it through the color spectrum. Sometimes darker in the brown and black and sometimes lighter in the white to tan areas.

Boogieman Fly in White, Best Delaware streamer

Size of Fly

The size of the Boogieman is also perfect. From 3.5” to 4.5” it will almost get chewed on by any size trout. We have landed fish at or above the 24” mark and also have taken smaller fish with a big appetite.

How to Fish It

When fishing these from a drift boat in high water it is essential to hammer the little pockets and back eddys. Upon your fly arriving in the spot, one big mend allows the weighted fly to sink into the strike zone without leaving the bank. Upon mending the angler will strip the fly back with the tip of the rod in the water. This will almost create a fool proof way of streamer fishing. With aggressive strips away from the bank the trout will most often set themselves due to the force of the strip. As long as your rod and line are not bowed from the current, the angler will have a direct connection to the fish.

History of the Boogieman Fly

Kelly Galloup introduced the Boogieman in 2010. This fly will catch almost any fish that eats other fish and has been a staple in many guides boxes since its inception. This fly closely imitates the Heifer Groomer however has a few minor tweaks. The lead eyes and wool head give it profile and weight, while the cactus chenille and barred feathers make it come alive in the water.

Before the Hendrickson

Whirling Dun Fly by Art Flick
Whirling Dun Fly by Art Flick


By Tom Mason: Some of us in the last few days have explored the tying of the Hendrickson and we have enjoyed this very much. But what fly was used by the old timers before the Hendrickson came along.

Art Flick states in his classic Streamside Guide that the Whirling Dun was originally tied to imitate E. Subvaria. This is that Fly as per the dressing of Rube Cross.

My Take

It was interesting to me because the “Hendrickson” is so famous I never questioned what was tied before its invention. Tom Mason let me know he “was there” (lol) when the Hendrickson was invented. He also told me he tied it with using dinosaur bone tools lol.