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Beware, the pseudos don't like to hatch on 70 degree days.

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.


  • A. Miller: October 05, 2023

    Angler 119, thank you for the time and effort that you put into your reports! I just recently discovered your blog (thanks to the Troutfitter) and have thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts. Like others, I live vicariously through your reports. :)
    Enjoy your “off-season” and may you continue to chase your fish and game well into the future!

  • John kania: October 05, 2023

    I read your posts every day and I have learned a lot about the upper D . Thanks and good luck hunting.

  • Steve: October 03, 2023

    Just want to reiterate how much I enjoy your blog. I’ve settled in to an annual June trip of two to three days and always leave longing for more. I should dedicate more of my fishing time to the Upper Delaware system. I love staying connected through your posts.

  • James : October 03, 2023


  • Paul: October 03, 2023

    Thank you for your contributions 119. It’s always a pleasure and education to read your blog.


  • Dennis 2: October 02, 2023

    A119. down here in NJ, bow season opened in Sept. I have not seen a buck since spring fullstop

    There are 3 does and 3 now half-year old fawns that reside in my and my neighbors’ back yards. I see them almost daily. Not even hint of antlers or evidence of them destroying saplings. Odd. I don’t think bow hunters have gotten that much better (and you have to harvest an antlerless deer to be allowed to harvest a buck). Not sure what’s going on down here in CJ.)

    On the fishing front, this year I have been baffled more often than not by fish often very big fish taking something just subsurface. At least one of those times, I seined and found small caddis (sz 18 or 20). They were not obvious in the air or on the surface. Of course, I have encountered fish ignoring me before, but this year it seemed to be more often and with fewer fish willing to break the pattern and take a dry. Could it be that small subsurface caddis are now becoming the main diet, at least on the WB below Hale Eddy?

  • Ed Smith: October 02, 2023

    Angler119- Thank You for all your help, entertaining comments and insights and your thoughts on 2024 outlook. Looking forward from hearing from you whenever you get the opportunity. Ed

  • Other Dennis: October 02, 2023

    Huge fan of your blog. I’m from out west and have been fly fishing my whole life, but trying to learn the Delaware has been a challenge (so much more technical than any river I’’m familiar with; also the dominance of dries compared to nymphs). Your writing is both entertaining and instructive; if you weren’t a teacher, you should have been. I imagine that most of us fans also live vicariously through your stories: who doesn’t want to spend days puttering around the house, then cruise to look for the hatch, followed by the PM?

  • TJ: October 02, 2023

    Angler 119, I have been reading your posts (and book) consistently for three years and love your insights, wit, and wisdom. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I have been fishing the upper Delaware rivers for 25 years and love the resource. While I only get there a couple times a year (for now), your posts help bridge the gap and keep me connected in spirit. Thank you!

  • Chris Z: October 02, 2023

    Interesting commentary on the hatches in the far Upper WB/No Kill. Seems like the hatches in that area have always been concentrated on the more classic tailwater type bugs like sulphur and olives. Aside from caddis (which is heavier lately) and the Hendricksons not sure I remember the diversity of insects being much more than that over the years.

    What hatches are now diminished?

  • Brian: October 02, 2023

    A119, I comment sporadically, but read your posts religiously.
    They serve a variety of purposes for me – from education (in too many ways to list) to entertainment (I always enjoy the musical references, if/when I catch them) and inspiration – I’m a 2-hour ride away and your reports just about always make me want to jump in the truck and head north.

    I only wish I had found this blog earlier!

    Good luck hunting and please keep sharing your invaluable insights.

  • William Raines : October 02, 2023

    Number One 119. I’ve been noticing the same as far as the Mayfly hatches. Possibly the spillage at Hale Eddy a couple years ago. Mayfly’s are very fragile

  • Dennis: October 01, 2023

    A119 your reports are educational to me as a struggling fly fisherman. I read them every day and take your advice. You have been a tremendous help to me as I try to learn the WB,EB and BR.
    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your talents and abilities.
    Good luck deer hunting and I hope you purchased a ladder stand. If I harvest a good deer I will send a picture to the troutfitters.
    Stay safe!!!

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