The East Branch
A Mountanious Area Of The Delaware River
The East Branch of the Delaware River is approximately 75 miles long and is one of two branches, along with the West Branch, that join to form the Delaware River. It flows through a mountainous area on the southwestern edge of the Catskill Mountains.
It rises in eastern Delaware County near the hamlet of Grand Gorge and flows initially SSW forming part of the northern boundary of Catskill Park. East of Downsville, it is impounded to form the 15 mile Pepacton Reservoir. It receives the Beaverkill River from the southeast at East Branch. It joins the West Branch at Hancock, on the border with Pennsylvania, to form the Delaware.
The East Branch is abundant with food required for growing wild trout upwards of 20 inches. They don’t get that big by being easy though. When they’re hungry they go for big meals: larger minnow imitations and flashy spoons like the Phoebe, which was designed by a man who lived right next to the covered bridge in Downsville.
Fly fishermen take to the stream in May to fish the abundant fly hatches that run throughout the summer thanks to the cool water releases from Pepacton Reservoir.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has recently built parking areas along Rt. 30 and purchased several miles of easements to increase fishing access to the general public. Tommanex State Forest is a 900 acre parcel on the East Branch that has river access, rough camping, hunting and 6 miles of railroad bed along the river for biking, horseback riding or traveling with all wheel drive.
Fishing & The Pepacton Reservoir
The Pepacton Reservoir is about twenty miles long and averages about one-half mile wide and is a 5700 surface acre New York City owned watershed that provides the East Branch with its cool water releases.
The Peptacon offers great trout fishing as the large brown trout that live here quickly grow to an average size of five pounds, with some up to twenty pounds!, or trolling from rowboats , are the most effective methods for catching these giants. Small mouth and large mouth bass, perch, rock bass, catfish, and bullheads are also sought after by shore anglers.
In the spring, right after the ice thaws, the trout move in to the shoreline to feed in the shallower and warmer water. That’s when an angler can catch a lunker on light tackle just using live bait or casting spoons like Krocodiles and Kastmasters.
Since the Pepacton has 60 miles of shoreline, it’s easy to find room to fish and discover that perfect spot! After the waters warm in June, the trout are easier to catch from a boat either by trolling flutter spoons or plugs, or using live bait. This is when small mouth bass fishing gets going full steam as hungry bass cruise the water looking for alewives and crayfish. The small mouth fishing is fantastic as they are often overlooked by the anglers looking for trophy trout.
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*All NYC Reservoirs Are Now Ice Free & Open For Rowboats*