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High water, What to do? Options...

dcabarle

Administrator
The way I look at it, we all like to wade fish. When the Mainstem is up around 4000, some places are obviously going to be impossible to wade. But, if you start talking with people, they may be able to give you other options within the general area of where you'll be staying.

During the short time I've been fishing the Delaware, I've run into some pretty good people who have shared some pretty good locations with me. A few that come to mind are, NJFred, JoeT, and Jeff White from the DRC. All have been very accomodating to my fishing habit. This site is normally great for meeting people who would love to have someone to float with sometimes. Bruce Miller has invited me to float with him, Dennis Watson has invited me to float with him, and Fly Tyer has invited me to float with him. Start talking with people on the river. You'de be surprised with some of the friendly relationships you'll begin to have with people. Had Dennis Watson not striked up a conversation with Bruce, we would have never had Bruce as a user here.

Maybe you don't like to float, maybe you've never floated before. When the water is running high, a float may just be your best option for a few reasons. The first reason is you can scout more access areas which will allow you to wade when the water is running very high. A float allows you to fish in places you would not be allowed to fish. A float allows you to get to that single fish on the other side of the river which wading to would be an impossibility. So even if you don't like these small ships, they do have quite a bit of value. If you don't have access to a friend with a ship, you can either rent one for about 100 bux (this includes a shuttle) or you can hire a guide for the day.

Guides are not cheap (so to say). A typical full day of guiding is going to cost you somewhere in the area of 300 bux +tip. 1/2 day will cost you roughly 225 +tip. Bring a friend with you and you've just lowered your cost to 1/2 of that. Still not cheap? Think about what you get when you're with a guide. You get someone who knows the river like the back of his hand, increasing your chances of catching that 23 3/4" brown again. You'll have someone rowing a boat and educating you on various tactics on the river. Many guides will even cook or make you lunch. Whether or not you catch fish, you still walk away with a bunch of knowledge about a river that you possibly would have never had. Just think of it this way, you're spending your money for an all day seminar with a professional who is rowing a boat for your pleasure! Before you go out and get a guide, make sure you do a bit of research on the outfitter and guide you're using.

Many of the spots I fish on the D are very well known areas and secret only to a few.

Let's assume you are able to find a spot where you can safely wade up to your knees without having to worry about sudden drop-off's. You can catch plenty of fish right from the river bank. The fish will spread out pretty good when the river is healthy. I'm not a big streamer user, but when I'm not doing anything, I'll slap one on and catch a few fish with them. Then again, I must be doing something wrong because I've never caught anything over 12" on them! :)

The intentions of this message were to simply let some of you who are new to the sport or are unfamiliar with a river you're going to fish that there are other options. Some options come with a price but, sometimes the price is well worth the knowledge you gain.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll do ok this weekend!

- Good Luck and great Fishing
 

Fly Tier

>(((((*>
Dennis, Keep in mind, with high water, you won't necessarily have to even wade in. Look for fish in seams close to the bank.
 

GARYB

Catch & Release Wild Trout
Sometimes the smaller tribs can be really good when the rivers are up. they clear first and come down quicker.
 

emerger

Red Sox Hater
I fished the West branch this morning. I wanted to hit the mainstem but it was too high. All the rivers were high and quite stained. I think they will clear for the weekend but still be high. I was able to wade safely on the West at the game lands. There were some fish rising early in the morning to caddis but that all stopped by about 9:30am. Drakes and march browns hatched through out the morning but the fish didn't touch them. Water temp. was 60 degrees.
 

emerger

Red Sox Hater
One other thing......The risers were all in quite shallow riffled water. The pools were dead. Good luck!
 

fcch

Salmo salar addict
DC,

thankx for the plug (in the name of all of us). Also, REALLY good comment in the last part ...

To all potential clients, do the research, ask around, get references. It's your money and your time. Some really good communication is needed between client and Guide BEFORE booking, ESPECIALLY on a float trip.

Certainly, I advocate using guides to learn a river or section, to row the "ship", to pass on experience, but I have seen a few misunderstandings lead to some really nice people coming away with unpeasant days.
:( Not good for the image of a region or river and certainly not good for the image of "Sports" to the locals.

A good sport: Nick Mecas

dcabarle said:
...
Guides are not cheap (so to say). A typical full day of guiding is going to cost you somewhere in the area of 300 bux +tip. 1/2 day will cost you roughly 225 +tip. Bring a friend with you and you've just lowered your cost to 1/2 of that. Still not cheap? Think about what you get when you're with a guide. You get someone who knows the river like the back of his hand, increasing your chances of catching that 23 3/4" brown again. You'll have someone rowing a boat and educating you on various tactics on the river. Many guides will even cook or make you lunch. Whether or not you catch fish, you still walk away with a bunch of knowledge about a river that you possibly would have never had. Just think of it this way, you're spending your money for an all day seminar with a professional who is rowing a boat for your pleasure! Before you go out and get a guide, make sure you do a bit of research on the outfitter and guide you're using.
...
- Good Luck and great Fishing
 
Last edited:

southfork

Fishizzle, I use worms but I'm looking to upgrade!
A word of caution. Driftboats on the delaware river system have sprouted like weeds in the last 5 years. 8 or 9 years ago, I don't recall seeing any, just an occasional canoe. Now I see them on the East and West Branch, as well as the main stem. Who knows how many total, but with all these new driftboats, not every guide operating them is going to have a wealth of experience on the delaware.

I had this experience 2 years ago when my friend and I hired a guide from one of the more prominent fly shops in the region. Turns out our guide (granted he was a good trout fisherman), was working his first year on the delaware, he used to be a guide in Colorado. They advertise that all the guides were seasoned Delaware anglers. I felt that I got some good fishing tips from the guide, but not anything related the stretch of river we fished. My point is with the high demand for guides and driftboats, not every guide is going to have 10+ years of experience on the delaware river system.
 
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