When a wedding called me away to New York’s Catskill Mountains, I was justifiably excited – these were famous trout waters, home to the Beaverkill and the Delaware. I fished neither of these, instead fishing Esopus Creek, a trout-filled trickle that becomes a large river within a few mile span. Esopus flows from the peaks of the Catskills down to the Hudson River, and is home to native and stocked rainbow trout and brown trout.
I took two fellow wedding-buds out to the river near Pheonicia, across from a diner by the same name (and which had great breakfast burritos and White Russians). Neither guy had really fly fished, but they were excited to try it.
In the middle of the day, with the heat beating down and a Modelo in hand, I showed both guys how to cast and fish streamers. They moved a few fish, had a hit or two, but despite the abundant fish (seen eating emerging insects whenever a cloud passed), they landed no trout. With limited gear, I switched to my only strike indicator and nymph rig (Hare’s Ear under a small split shot) and while demonstrating how to fish the rig, caught the only trout of the day – an 8″ brown.
I passed the rod with attached nymph rig to one of the wedding-buds, but within a few minutes it was a tangled mess (strong winds down the river made flipping it around a little tricky). With no other indicators or split shot, and a few Modelos deep, we headed to the diner across the street. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours
On the way home, I drove along the Delaware. The river and country was beautiful, and was full of trout (verified when I stopped at a random pull-off by Hancock and saw the fish sipping bugs off the surface). My takeaway: This area is worth a return trip, maybe this fall.