The East and West branches of the Delaware River are two of the best big-trout fisheries in the East. The prime stretches of both are tailwaters, keeping the water cold and fresh and the trout healthy.
Both are between 50 and 150 feet wide and are wadeable and floatable. There are many unofficial parking areas along with the shown areas. There are numerous special regulations so be sure to check the regs brochure.
Above Pepacton Reservoir, the East Branch is stocked with small trout, but gets some sizeable run-up brown trout in the fall. The renown section is the tailwater.
Here, it’s a slow, placid fishery that holds some big browns and a few brookies. From the dam down to East Branch is generally the best trout water. This stretch fishes similar to a spring creek, with slow, clear water and lots of vegetation. The trout also tend to be selective like on spring creeks. But the reward might be great, so it’s worth the extra effort.
Below East Branch, the river is influenced by the Beaver Kill and tends to fish more like an undammed freestone. It can get warm in the summer. Floating the lower stretch is possible using hand launches.
The West Branch generally runs colder than the East Branch, and by many accounts holds bigger fish – sometimes close to 30 inches. It holds plenty of good dry-fly water and some thick hatches of Hendricksons, caddis and isonychia mayflies. Wading is a popular approach, but floating is certainly possible (using hand launches). The West Branch tailwater has few public fishing easements. The lower stretches of both branches will see some run-up rainbows from the mainstem.