First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

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ReelCatskillsJeff
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First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by ReelCatskillsJeff » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:52 pm

Drift Boat.jpg
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My Brother and I couldn't resist the chance to get his new drift boat (a 12' Stealthcraft Minifly) wet and exercise our rowing muscles yesterday (3/6/16). We floated a few miles of the "Upper Upper" (our nickname for the West Branch of the Delaware River above the Cannonsville Reservoir). The air temperature was 38F with a slight breeze. The USGS gage in Walton, NY was reporting a height of 4.5' and about 600 cfs. I didn't take the water temperature, but I will be sure to next time. It was cold, but tolerable for wading for a few minutes at a time. Water clarity was very good. We could see the bottom in all but the deepest holes.

We left our fishing gear at home as this section of river is closed until 4/1, but I brought my long-handled insect net and my camera with me. We saw dozens of little black stoneflies skittering across the surface near the banks and some tiny rust-colored emerging mayflies (Baetis Sp.?) in the slower sections below the riffles.

It was a very peaceful float. Dozens of mallard ducks, mergansers, and Canada geese were surprised to see us as we floated silently past with only the occasional goose honking at us or the sound of a car speeding by on Rt. 10 in the distance. The icicles on the partially submerged logs and the nuts hanging from the sycamore tree branches gave me a few interesting things to photograph. I was hoping to get a Bald Eagle photo as I've seen one in the same place several times when driving along this section of the river in the last couple of weeks. I had no luck spotting eagles while we were floating, but wouldn't you know it, I had one fly right over my head when I was back at my car changing out of my waders.

We are expecting a big warm up this week, with a high near 70F on Wednesday. With no snow pack to melt, the water temperature should start rising too. I think we will have another chance to float this weekend when the air temps should be in the mid-50's to low 60's. This should wake things up along the river.

It's shaping up to be a great season for fishing as well as wildlife watching and photography with all of the opportunities that this new drift boat will provide. We have had many wonderful days on the river while fishing on foot and from kayaks and canoes, but the boat is a game changer for us. It's like having a front row seat to our own private show. The stable platform for standing, gear capacity, easy access to some of the more remote stretches of river, ability to get away from the usual spots, to stop and hold our position, or even reverse course and re-float a good section, is something we could never do from the kayaks. It will allow us to slow down and really get to know the ins and outs of our home river.
Drift Boat 3.jpg
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Drift Boat 2.jpg
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ReelCat
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Re: First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by ReelCat » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:39 pm

2015-04-01 17.36.49.jpg
Opening Day 2015 What a difference a year makes with no snow in sight. River should get to the magical 50's quickly.
2015-04-01 17.36.49.jpg (1.03 MiB) Viewed 977 times

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ReelCatskillsJeff
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Re: First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by ReelCatskillsJeff » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:50 pm

I remember that last year! It's easy to forget what a "normal" winter up here looks like after this one. Last year weekends in February and March were spent ice fishing. This year, there has hardly been any safe ice. At least it looks like we will get to fly fish the early part of the season without it being a wash out (barring major rain storms). Life in the Catskills is like a box of chocolates...

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Eperous
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Re: First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by Eperous » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:07 pm

ReelCatskillsJeff wrote: ... Life in the Catskills is like a box of chocolates...
Great photos and nice story... :D and so true, especially spring in these mountains... the only thing predictable about early spring weather is, it's unpredictable... :o

And, welcome to SGM... hope to hear about some trout fishing stories later this season from that new float-thing of yours...

Ed

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ReelCatskillsJeff
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Re: First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by ReelCatskillsJeff » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:06 am

Some more photos from Sunday's float on the "Upper Upper". Sorry, no fish photos until Opening Day.

Can you find the geese in this photo?
Stealthcraft Photos 4 (1).jpg
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Sycamore Nuts from below. I thought this would look interesting in B&W.
First Float Photos 2016 1.jpg
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This might be the last day for icicles this year.
First Float Photos 2016 3.jpg
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Gnarly Roots
First Float Photos 2016 2.jpg
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quadfish
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Re: First "Upper Upper" Float of 2016

Post by quadfish » Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:50 pm

Great story, Jeff, and superb photography!! Good luck with the driftboat!!

I think we would all agree this hasn't been a killer winter in the northeast, but damn, fishing season can't get here soon enough!!!

-Rick :D
"A man who would fool a fish with a feather would probably go to a brothel without carryng any money." Charles Dannen

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