Posted on October 01 2023
Well, it's October first, which is the bow season opener. Sat in one of my tree stands this morning and watched a combo of five does and fawns walk down an old logging road about seventy five yards away. With the temps scheduled to be in the high 70s and low 80s this week I'll probably spend more time fishing than hunting. During October I transition from trout fishing to deer hunting. While it's pleasant to sit out in 70 degree weather there is usually little deer movement. Late in October the bucks start "getting the urge" and are much more likely to walk past my stand. Surprisingly a ten point buck posed for a picture this past week. The previous week there was an eight pointer and a group of three 18 month old bucks who were still traveling in a batchelor group. It's enough deer to get me enthused.
The 2003 fishing season - At this time last year I predicted there would be more big fish than ever before, but fewer two year old fish and my numbers, especially in the "Sulfur Zone" proved that to be true. In two months of fishing the zone I caught but three wild two year trout. Why? The upper WB has a top heavy population of big fish, and they eat their young. Fortunately most of the rest of the Delaware River system was in better balance with a good representation of all year classes. Most anglers I talked with who concentrated their efforts above Hale Eddy said they hd caught fewer fish this season than in the last few years.
The outlook for 2024 - It depends on where you fish and what you want to catch. During the Hendrickson and caddis hatches there should be many opportunities to catch big fish in the upper WB above Hale Eddy. After the Hendrickson's are done two factors will come into play that will make the upper WB fishing more difficult. The first will be the absence of two and three year old fish. The second is that the increased flows of cold water authorized by the FFMP, have significantly reduced and/or eliminated the other native freestone mayflies from the upper WB. Simply stated the water is too cold for the insects to mature. The loss of the mayflies has occurred gradually over the past few years and has also resulted in a slowing of the growth rate of fish residing in the upper WB. The good news? The summer sulfurs and olives rely on the cold water and should be fine. The sulfurs get hatching sometime during the first week in July and should provide dry fly fishing during July and August. The upper WB has the best access for wade fishermen and is the most heavily fished portion of the entire system so a downturn in fishing there will affect most anglers. On the brighter side there appears to be a good number of 1.5 year old rainbows in the EB and BR which should provide anglers fishing those waters countless hours of enjoyment.
As is the case every year, the reports during October will become both sporadic and intermittent. I enjoy both writing the reports and reading the comment of other anglers. Not sure I've helped you catch more fish but hopefully I've given you an accurate picture of what to expect if you come and save you some frustration if on occasion I've talked you out of coming. As always thanks to those who have contributed and, please feel free offer any suggestions you may have for improving the reports.