Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Right Place at the Right Time

H: When it comes to dry fly fishing (and wading) on the Delaware, it's all about being at the right place at the right time.

Saturday: Jessie and I drove to a favorite spot on the Upper East to fish. Jess had heard reports of good hendrickson hatches the last couple of days. Well, there was a strong blue quill hatch from 1–3 pm, but we didn't spot a single head. We spent 3 hours on the river admiring the views and watching countless blue quills go by untouched by the resident trout. They must have been stuffed to the gills or just dining below. We were in the right place, just at the wrong time.

Beautiful braids on the Upper East branch of the Delaware river.
Hello! Anybody home? Beautiful braids on the Upper East branch of the Delaware River.
Sunday: Jess says to me, "Today, you pick where we're fishing." I suggest we go West. We spent an hour driving around, scouting a couple of places, before returning to the spot we originally intended to fish. As we're gearing up, three anglers return to the lot. We asked if they'd had any luck and if they'd seen any bugs. They replied, "No luck.... Lots of caddis out earlier but we did see a few hendricksons coming off as we left."

When we get down to the river, there are quite a few hendricksons on the water and we soon spot several risers. We instantly get to work. Several casts later, a beautiful fat slob of a brown made its way into my net. I yelled excitedly up to Jessie, "I need a bigger net!" :) It just barely fit inside.

Big, beautiful, buttery brown trout caught on an hendrickson dry fly. Delaware River
Big, beautiful, buttery, brown trout caught on an hendrickson dry. Delaware River. Photo: J. Lettich.
It isn't long before hendricksons blanket the river and fish start rising pretty much all around us. A dry fly fisherman's dream come true! Jessie is working on some fish upstream. I'm casting to a consistent riser about 40 feet directly across from me which is eating every hendrickson that floats over but mine. When it finally decides to take mine, I miss it!

By now, we are no longer alone on this stretch of river. A drift boat angler has anchored by the far bank and two wade fishermen step in just below me. One guy quickly hooks and lands a fish. One of them is perhaps just 30 feet away but I don't mind. There are plenty of fish to go around.

Jess hooks up with a nice fish so I wade over in case she wants my photographic services. After a quick photo shoot of her pretty brown, I walk back down river and notice the same fish I missed earlier back in action. At least I thought it was the same fish. I decide to just wait and watch. Then I see him/her swimming in the clear water, cruising around, rising here then rising there. I waited till it rose again, about 25 feet upstream of me, and then cast. It had to be spot on... not too far above... just right...

Well, as luck would have it, it took my fly on the very first cast. As soon as it was hooked, it took off for Hancock and almost took me into my backing. Another big, beautiful, buttery, brown trout! Needless to say, I was a very happy flygirl :).

Struck gold twice! Another beautiful buttery brown that almost took me into my backing. Delaware River
Struck gold twice! Another beautiful brown that almost took me into my backing. Delaware River. Photo: J. Lettich
There were still fish rising near me but it was now around 4:30 pm. My family had come up earlier that afternoon and were waiting for me at the cabin so I decided to say goodbye to the hendricksons and the rising fish and to Jessie. I yelled over to Jess that I had to go meet my family. She looked at me like I was crazy and shouted back, "What! You can't leave now!" The two anglers next to me probably thought the same thing. What fly fisherman in her right mind leaves rising fish in the middle of a heavy hendrickson hatch on the D?

But I left perfectly content with my two perfectly beautiful trout, the result of being at the right place at the right time for a couple of hours.


  1. The Delaware River certainly seems to be the right place.

    1. It's the best wild trout fishery in the eastern US imho.