Before heading up to the Catskills, Rob and I stopped at my favorite local trout stream to land a few browns. Conditions were tough, with high and cold water, but we each got a few fish.
Exploring another stream, we found some more trout, some wildflowers...
...and surprisingly, a few morels. You don't find these things in Westchester County, NY all that often. Exciting!
Ramps were also out in force, and of course we grabbed a few for later.
Off to the Neversink River zone with a forecast for... you guessed it... MORE RAIN, we were in high spirits. We had a day and a half of sun to enjoy before it would rain non-stop for 36 hours, and additionally, on-and-off for another couple of days. Oye.
So we did the most logical thing we could and went for a nice Brookie tributary on the way. We met up with Adam R and fished our way up this beautiful stream, catching mostly smaller brookies.
This stream is about as picturesque as it gets, cascading down through a small gorge on the side of a mountain.
After getting a few brookies, we called it a day and made the remaining drive to the campsite quickly.
Given the late time after setting up camp and drinking a few beers, we fished the river along the campsite for the first evening and did quite well. Rob grabbed a 20 incher on the first cast in the first pool, and lost it at his feet. An exciting start to the weekend...
I headed down river to a spot I knew to hold larger fish and grabbed a decent 17-18 incher myself.
Heading back to the site, it was time for dinner. We grilled some ramps, steaks, and other odds and ends and dug into some cold New England IPA.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast and as a full crew, we headed into the Gorge.
Spring flowers were in full bloom and it was hard to ignore them.
The river was running high but clear. While the increased amount of water created some additional challenges for wading, the early spring conditions had scoured the rocks of most of the silt and slime that had us slipping around so much last fall.
My first fish of the day was much smaller than the previous day, but one of the larger brookies I've caught here, almost 10 inches.
I always love fishing here because there is so much excellent holding water. Some days the river delivers insane hatches and sight fishing for big trout. Other days its tougher with less magic in the air.
Even on the slightly tougher days, there are always plenty of places to take some time for a slow drift.
Sometimes you have to slow down, let the fly sink, and then swing... and then BAM! There it is.
It was hard fishing most of the day, with lots of concentration required... and that's hard when you're taking so much time to soak in the surroundings.
When it got to the end of the day there was a bit of comedy as Rob crossed the river with a "paddle" of a wading stick.
The walk in and out of the Gorge can give a great perspective as to its size... which impresses me every single time.
Back at the campsite I dug into my new favorite beer, a sour Gose from Finback brewery in NYC.
That night we feasted well and prepared for the rain... which lasted a good 24 hours straight at least. The next day we said goodbye to our friends and headed out to a new campsite and up into the Catskills proper.
I wanted to take Rob to one of my favorite small streams in the area, and there happened to be a few campsites nearby. We set up camp and then headed out to the stream.
Walking down an old dirt road along the stream, we chose to drop down into this beautiful tumbling section, below. Not 5 minutes later, however, the thunder started and we knew exactly what to expect...
Rob was prepared with a beer and a strange method of drinking it while sheltered under his poncho. I was huddled under an old GoLite expedition umbrella against a natural ridge in the forest, beneath a small hemlock tree. Its funny but sometimes a good expedition umbrella does a better job than a rain jacket on a warm and humid day.
We waited out the storm as the thunder got louder, hovered over us, and then became quiet again. The rain continued to fall after the storm moved past, worrying me for moment, but the worry wasn't necessary and the sun popped out again not long after.
Taking a moment to dry our stuff in the first legitimately warm afternoon in NY so far, we remarked at how quickly moods change in relation to sun and rain.
However, even if we were in better spirits with the appearance of the sun, the fish were still being picky and playing hard to catch.
This stream holds wild brookies and some browns, and we got a few of each even with the difficult fishing.
Stopping at the waterfall, we took some light-hearted photos, and then climbed above to the second set of falls.
Walking up the dirt road back towards the campsite, we remarked about the beauty of the area and the continued turbulence of the weather and fishing. Luckily, all the makings of an incredible yet simple hot meal were waiting for us in camp...
And we weathered another evening of cold and rain and went to sleep.
The next day we headed out to do some backpacking and to fish a few more thin blue lines on the map. More to come as wifi allows :)