Fishing the Delaware
It was our friend’s birthday, he was just getting into fly-fishing and arranged for us to do a day float down the East Branch of the Delaware river, which is a great place to fly fish for brown trout.
We rented canoes from Al’s Sport Store, made sure we got some sandwiches and beers from a local deli, piled the dogs into the canoes and we were off. Or so we thought. Fortunately just before we reached the first covered bridge we remembered we had forgotten the cooler of beverages and one team quickly turned back to rescue it.
It was peaceful and quiet on the river, except when the frolicsome dog, Roxy could no longer resist the cool water and jumped in and began her favorite game of barking and tossing water into the air, while snapping at the falling droplets. The fish all fled and she was quickly dragged back into the canoe and forced to sit still.
After the first covered bridge that we gently floated under we hit some very slight rapids. Soon we were around the bend, surrounded by the trees, wild-flowers and berry bushes that grew up along the banks. We lolly-gagged and fished and didn’t get very far. After lunch we realized we better get moving before the sunset and started to push on. My partner was obsessed with fishing and was soon saddened as we rushed past potential fishing holes and rapids, wishing we hadn’t tarried so early in the river.
Regardless we had plenty of time, I would just say to anyone doing the float, don’t do all your fishing right at the beginning of the trip!
As the sun was setting, mist rose up from the river and soon we were paddling through mysterious shadows, the moon rose full and shiny, as we came to the end of our trip we passed several fly-fishermen, up to their thighs in the cold clean river, mist rising up around them as they gracefully swung and tossed their lines.
We were soon pulling our canoes out of the water and helping to stack them near the truck that would take them back to the shove off point, we were all happily exhausted by the days activities and eager to do it again as soon as possible. It was one of the best birthday parties I have ever been to!
Here is another great article about fishing in the pristine Catskills, Lessons From a River. The author really captures the meditative aspect of fishing and shows the special atmosphere direct perception of nature creates.