The Neversink River is located in the South Central Catskill
region of Southeastern New York. You may see the river
while driving on New York State Route 17; however, it
is accessible from Routes 55 and 52. Historically, it
is known as a beautiful, although volatile, body of water.
Situated in a valley, it is long and slim, and has fewer
curves and eddies than the other rivers in the region.
Flyrodders are drawn to the area for many reasons; however,
many travel to the Neversink to experience the river
where the American dry flies first emerged.
The Neversink runs a total of 19 miles, from its
source to the reservoir. Most of the upper part of
the river, which splits into the East and West branches,
is marked private. However, there is a small public
section just above Denning on the East Branch where
you may find small brook trout. On the West Branch,
as a guest at the Frost Valley YMCA Camp, you may fish
their private, three-mile stretch. For approximately
14 miles, these branches run parallel to one another,
about two to three miles apart. They range from about
10 to 40 feet wide, and from one to four feet deep.
the past, great storms and heavy rain continually transformed
many of the river's pools; however, this upper portion
remained more or less intact. The East Branch was less
affected, while the large boulders, ledgerock pools,
and the sturdy roots of the overhanging hemlocks fortified
the West Branch. You may find brown trout throughout
both branches; however, you won't find many above Denning
on the East Branch. Wild brook trout (about six to eight
inches long), run up and down both branches, and a few
wild brown trout can be found there as well. The best
fishing and most historic part of the river begins at
the junction of the two branches at Claryville and runs
to the upper part of the reservoir. Most of this area
also is private.
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1955, the Neversink Dam was completed, making the lower
part of this river into a tailwater fishery. The reservoir
release has revived the six-mile stretch from the reservoir
to Woodburne. Most of this area of the main stem, from
Woodburne to the dam, has been opened to the public.(Exceptions
to General Angling Regulations) Brown
trout, most ranging from 8 to 12 inches long, are more
prevalent in this part of the river.
the main stem, you may find trout all year round;
however, the fishing is not easy. This area consists
of lengthy, level pools and shallow riffle parts.
You need to use a long, fine leader and a small fly.
The river runs very clear therefore, careful casting
and proper presentation are a must to get these fish.
Since there aren't many spawning branches of water
in the area, good fishing below the dam depends on
when and where the river is stocked. The fish stay
in the area where they are released. They feed here
for extended periods of time because there are controlled
conditions and stabilized temperatures. In general,
the normal water temperature in season is 50 to 60
degrees; and since the river doesn't get much sun,
the temperature rarely gets above 70 degrees.
there are smaller numbers of trout compared to other
Catskill rivers, fishermen benefit here because trout
make up the highest percentage of fish in this river.
With the combination of wild and stocked fish, you
can still catch a good number of trout. The stream's
entomology is dominated by Caddis, but Mayflies and
Stoneflies do appear on the river. These hatches
tend to be a few weeks behind the other rivers because
of the colder water temperatures.
should visit the Neversink, even if only to be a
part of the fly-fishing history that Theodore Gordon
and George La Branche left behind. Fishing the Neversink
is what it is today, thanks to the creation of the
Neversink Reservoir. Ironically, this reservoir covers
the former properties of these two fly-fishing legends.