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Year to date on the Delaware.

Posted on August 07 2023

Duke asked "Where is the sulfur zone?" It is the area where the Dorothea's are hatching. They are the tiny little summer sulfurs that hatch mid-day and in the evening up in the coldest water in the WB. Your best bet for finding them is upstream from the "barking dog" boat access, upstream to Stilesville. 

With no other questions I thought I'd give the year's fishing a quick review. 

April - Was very good. Hendricksons started early and it was one of my better Aprils.

May - Was a good month for most fisherman. High water the first few days hampered wade fishermen but there were lots of bugs on the water with fish up throughout the system. For me, it was something of a disaster as not only did the high water hinder my fishing but I was felled by an intestinal bug that kept me off the water for an additional ten days.

June - The big bugs ended early in the month and there was little surface feeding for the rest of the month. The spring sulfurs were not reliable and most fishermen found fish very hard to come by. Fortunately the weather went from unseasonably dry to unseasonably wet, cloudy and smokey. Those who dared to venture away from the WB were able to catch fish, while the fishermen who continued to look for risers on the WB, for the most part were disappointed.

July - Perhaps because of cold water temps caused by both cloudy and smokey days, the summer sulfurs took their sweet time getting going. The evening hatches were the first to get reliably established. It wasn't until the past two weeks that the mid-day sulfur hatches have been heavy enough to get the fish up and feeding. The fish in the "Sulfur Zone" have been pummeled since April and even though they are eating sulfurs on the surface it's a challenge to get to eat one with a hook in it.

August - Offers hope. The sulfur hatches are now quite good, you will have targets. Better yet, the past 10 days have been quite cool with some nights even dipping into the 40's. This has opened up the freestones to fishing which spreads out anglers and lets people cast at fish that haven't seen a fly in almost six weeks. It's still August, however, and a couple hot sunny days can quickly push water temps in the freestones up over 70 degrees so be sure to check water temps before venturing out of the cold water up in Deposit.

The rest of the year - Is of course anybody's guess. If the cooler weather lasts it could be good. If things turn warm we will all be trying to catch those Mensa Society fish in the "Zone". 

One thing seems apparent, the combination of Mergansers and big browns is reducing the numbers of smaller fish in the WB. I have caught a small number of three year old fish (13/15 inches) and almost no two year old fish (11/12 inches). The fish are mostly eaten as fingerlings and yearlings so the depletion of the catchable fish doesn't show up until the following year. If I'm right about the predation next year may well be grim.


  • Jason: August 07, 2023

    I read your posts everyday . I may not comment , but they are always enjoyable and appreciated.

  • Dennis: August 07, 2023

    That was a nice recap and good info. Thank you
    With the fish being so particular have you switched to 6.5x tippet or have you stayed with 6x

  • Darryl Bogart: August 07, 2023

    Drift boat fisherman should hunt the Mergansers. Set up a cast and blast. Reduce the number of Mergansers!

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