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Thread: Esopus Creek

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    Esopus Creek

    I was wondering why no one in the Boiceville area of the Esopus never appears on this site asking for petitions, expressing outrage, updating us on legal action to correct the stream problems, askes for help or lets us know what TU is doing or not doing to help with the dirty water.
    I can not help but wonder that perhaps even though the water looks terrible that perhaps the fishing is just as good as ever. Perhaps the big bows are still spawning, perhaps the smaller bows are spawning and perhaps the good fishing may be the best kept secret in the Catskills.
    Is it possible the fish are hitting streamers better than ever or perhps they still feed on top but less descriminatly.The little input just makes me wonder. I would really like to hear from some one in the Boicevill area as to how the stream has fished over the last two years.

    North Jersey

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    Please don't think that those of us around the esopus are keeping something good for ourselves - nothing could be further from the truth. The esopus is in terrible shape. Proposed development (of state lands, by the state) threatens its headwaters (potentially the east branch also). And the portal has been dumping yoohoo into the river for going on two years now (turbidity has been an issue for a while, but it's been really bad for the past two years). The state simply continues to grant the city temporary permits to dump turbid water into what has the potential to be an incredible wild rainbow fishery. Rumor has it that the dam on schoharie res. is in terrible shape and needs major work, so they've been trying to drain the reservoir to repair it. Once that's done the city will think about the portal... Solutions range from dredging near the intake valve to replacing it with something that could draw from multiple locations and depths. Dredging could happen next fall... but I'm not holding my breath. (this is all third hand, so take it for what it's worth). The portal is the immediate concern. The development is the result of an area that's not doing well economically attempting to pimp state lands. Both the problems with the portal and proposed development represent major threats and are sad to see play out.

    I've really only been fishing the esopus for about three years - the first year was great... It all went downhill after that. The attached pick was taken on new year's eve (2005) and it shows a trib emptying clear water into the stream. The pick is within a few miles of where it empties into ashokan reservoir, so the water isn't getting better as it runs downstream.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Links...

    TU:
    http://cmtu.org/
    http://apwctu.org/

    Friends of catskills: http://www.friendsofcatskillpark.org

    Joan Wulff's open letter to Fly Fisherman Magazine:
    http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=449671


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    Thanks for the great reply, is there anything any of us can do to help ? I just hope that over time the river will finally be able to return to what it once was, a really special river. If it does it looks to me it will be at least three years till we see anything noticeable and maybe 5-10 to get it back to where it was if that is even possible with all the new challenges that are sure to come along with development. Talk about kicking someone when they are down, its the Esopus.

    North Jersey

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    Has TU National comitted any of their bank wad to hep out in legal challenges to all or some of the issues and if not, I wonder if we could put some pressure on them to step up to the plate.

    North Jersey

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    Me and my dad used to get excited about fishing the esopus every year. I have probably fished it for the last ten years or so and i agree with esopus Jim that the river is on a very bad downslide. When i first was introduced to the esopus it was like a dream come true. It was a beautifull stream with clear running water and huge fish in it ( along with alot of 4 inchers )Lately the fish #'s have been reduced and quality fish have not been a regular occurance so their is definately something happening to the populations up there .It was an escape from the crowded streams like the beaver kill and WB. Over the last 5 years the stream below the portal is not even fun for me to fish any more due to the siltration and turbidity along with being to dangerous to cross when you cannot see the rocks on the bottom and last year i did not wet a line below the portal at all. I hope that the esopus can be brought back to its past glory so future generations can fish it. It will also spread the crowds out a little more also. If there is any way we can help as sportsman such as petitions or time it would be a great reward to see this stream restored. Hopefully it is only a matter of cleaning up the schoharie and the portal because if other circumstances are in volved it could be a very long time before the stream is back to what it was a decade ago. For now i have some pictures to bring back the memories of fishing this awesome river. Lets hope in the next five years it will be the stream it once was


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    It saddens me to hear somthing like this,not like loosing a human friend, not like loosing a beloved family pet but perhaps next down the list. To think we have witnessed a delcine like this is not very pleasant to think about. I have not been back to the Esopus for two years due to the reports of turbid water.

    North Jersey

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    I have been fishing the Esopus for a very long time (more than 30 years) and Esopus Jim. you are correct about the turbity/siltation problems from the Schoharie res through the portal into the Esopus. And it's been running very turbid all Winter, while they're trying to draw down the Schoharie (55% last I looked) in order to beging repairs. I have fished it the past 2 years and I do not see evidence of the fish numbers being down. There are still rediculous numbers of little rainbows throughout the river and the bows are not stocked. There are also plenty of small wild browns in the river. Don't know if the DEC has done any recent studies on the trout populations there but I know at one time it used to be about the best river in the state for natural reproduction of trout. The bows and browns are still in the upper basin of the Ashokan and still come upstream to spawn, but I haven't heard anything official about decreased spawning success from the siltation (although I feel it cannot be helping). It's been a gradual process over the years, but I've noticed a much more rapid decline in the river clarity over the past 2 years than before, and the river bottom is absolutely loaded with silt especially in the slower moving areas. This cannot be good for the insect life in the river, among other things, plus when the river rises quickly, alot of the silt will become suspended and turn the river to a reddish-coffee color in a hurry!! Although the aesthetics of fishing a clear Esopus have changed, I have landed some very decent sized fish in the last couple of years. I'm hoping that the DEP will do the right thing with the silt problem coming down the portal at the same time they repair the dam, since the res has to be drawn down anyway. By the way, the 2 local TU chapters are very heavily involved in these issues.

    Bruce


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    I've still been fishing it also, there are still some little bows there and they gotta eat. I think the numbers are down, but I don't have anything to back this up. Also, it is eerie fishing/standing in shin deep water and not being able to see the top of your boot. It makes "reading" water really difficult - you can't tell where deeper pockets are.

    If the portal gets straightened out, the stream would probably rebound in a couple years. The development represents a big long-term threat.


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    The reason I posted below was that the fishing guide said an article will appear in the next issue about how it is getting better and better each year, which is completely oposite the comments on this post. What do you believe ?

    North Jersey

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    Rumor?

    I heard a rumor that the portal will be closed this summer. They said that the reservoir is down 90' to 15%. Any truth to this?


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    The Schoharie is down to 15%. I haven't heard about the portal being closed this summer but I would guess that would depend on the progress they make with the repairs and how long they need to keep the Schoharie low. But if they do release water through the portal this Summer, it will not be cold, since the res is so low. I saw the Ashokan today at luchtime, and the lower basin is a lot clearer than it was a monthe ago and even the upper basin is getting clearer (probably 2' - 3' of visability). Haven't seen the Esopus above the res in a few weeks, but with the releases back in the 500+ range through the portal, it should be clearer than it has been since October 2005. Like the Delaware, I would expect the season on the Esopus to be short unless we get normal or above normal rain from now through the Summer.

    Bruce


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