If I could choose one river to fish, for the rest of my life, and could fish no other river, it would have to be the Delaware. Right here in New York. Now some of you are thinking I’m crazy, the Mo is better, or the Deschutes, or the rivers of Patagonia or New Zealand. There are a few reasons I choose the D.
First, my favorite species to target is the brown trout. I prefer the rising brown trout to the steelhead or Atlantic salmon. Occasionally you can draw a strike from a bomber or by skating a dry for salmon and steelhead, but the preferred method is dunking split shot and dead drifting weighted flies or egg patterns. This isn’t fly fishing that I enjoy. I prefer the artful cast, the finesse game of the perfectly presented dry fly, which I am admittedly good at. Without being arrogant, I would say I definitely cast better than most people, certainly better than anyone reading my blog – you are a sad sack if you is looking for fishing advice here.
But seriously, I like to see and target fish, so for me that rules out any of the famed salmon rivers of New Brunswick, the Restigouche or the Miramichi, or any of the beautiful steelhead rivers of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Migrating and/or spawning fish aren’t targets, in the same way a rising brown trout is a target for a skilled angler, with a bamboo rod, and a classic fly like a Hendrickson or a Gordon.
The Delaware River and its tributaries have history, and also an adundance of my favorite target species of game fish. But why the Delaware, instead of, say, the Mo? Or Patagonia? Or New Zealand?
I am not gonna say that the rivers outside of New York aren’t great rivers. Or that the Delaware is better than anybody else’s local river. A lot comes down to travel time. (This ain’t no crazy hypothetical question, where I imagine I could actually fish waters regularly that are 5000 miles away…)
So I rule out New Zealand, because of travel time and costs – I’d only fish once every 10 years if I limited myself to such exotic waters. That’s why any sane angler would choose his local waters, and invest that travel money in protecting his local waters. Take a day out to fish the D. Call in sick from work. I save my sick days for April and May, and the Delaware. For good dry fly, surface feeding brown trout, it is the best we have.