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FLY FISHING THE NEVERSINK RIVER IN NEW YORK

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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.

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In 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.
Neversink Hatch Chart
Neversink Hatch Chart
Neversink Hatch Chart
In 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.

IIn 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.

Although 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.

Fishermen 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.