Fun King

Upper Delaware Smallmouth trip

19 posts in this topic

Friends, I'm thinking of a self guided canoe trip for me and my adult son this spring. The Narrowsburg area seems to have outfitters and accommodations, what do you think? Is it very busy there in mid May? Are smallmouth active then?  Thanks.

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It’s a great area to do a smallmouth trip but I would wait until later in the summer mid June or later.  Those fish on those stretches really turn on when the water drops and warms up.  Narrowsburg to 10mile or 10mile to Zane grey bridge are the two floats you should focus on.  Either one is easily a whole day float.  Landers or one of the other canoe rental liveries can set up the shuttle and rentals for you.   I guided up there for years so if you have any questions when you get closer feel free to shoot me a pm.

 

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Thank you Mr RapidfflowO. I have a couple of questions. It looks like this is a popular stretch of river and I would guess it gets pretty busy during the summer and especially on weekends. Would weekdays be better? Also, I found Indian Head Canoes have cabins. Are these OK or are there other cabins you can suggest? Thanks again.

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Weekends can be busy but honestly it usually doesn’t affect the smallmouth fishing.  Most of those groups are just paddling straight through while you will be slowly drifting or stopping and getting out to fish.  I’m not familiar with the Indian head cabins other than they are in Barryville which is downstream from where you are looking to be.  I would look at vrbo for a cabin or stay at one of the bed and breakfasts in narrowsburg, beach lake Pa.  

 

you wont have a lot of competition for the smallmouth fishing there a couple of guides that do trips down there but running into more than 2 of them at most in a day is highly unlikely. There are tons and tons of fish but a good one is 14inches.  Lots and lots of 8-12” fish. If you are going in June you will run into plenty of shad as well.  I did a trip last year with brother and sister in law and 3 other couples and 10kids in kayaks and my drift boat on one of the busiest weekends of the year.  We saw two other guides fishing and our group still caught well over 100 smallmouth again mostly small. 

 

If you you are planning to do more than one day and you have your own canoe I would recommend spending one day just above callicoon (20min north of narrowsburg) and fishing for smallmouth, trout, walleye and then going down to narrowsburg and doing a second day.  If you do not have you own canoe there is another place to rent them on that upper section that will also handle your shuttle.  You will see less pleasure boaters up there but a few more fisherman.  It is the lower end of the trout water but holds plenty of all 3 species I mentioned including some very very big trout.  

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Great fishing.  Came close to breaking NYS record for bluegill about 10 years ago.    You can fish and catch something the entire canoe season.  Look at Lander's canoe or kittatiny canoe.   River isn't crowded, especially if you start early.   

 

I prefer Lander's Canoe for camping.  Kittatiny has nicer camping, but it's crowded.   

 

I love a 2 day centered around narrowsburg.   Calicoon to Narrowsburg I have done better with smallmouth bass.   Narrowsburg to Minisink is good for both bass and rockbass/panfish.

 

Not sure if you ever done upper delaware.  IT's a real treat.  It's usually the highlight of my summer.

 

To make camping and that place less crowded.   Go farther north.  Calicoon is a good run.    Camping at Lander's narrowsburgh.   Try spots in the 130's or 60's.   Most other places.  Farthest from bathroom, closest to woods, farthest from water or shade.   Got your own equipment.?  There a huge deep pool you can fish at the campsite.  Easy to paddle back to.  About size of small lake.

 

Caliccon to narrowsurgh and narrowsburgh to barryville is 15 miles.   Sometimes they don't let people canoe it one day.  Go to USGS matamorras gaging station.   I'm a touch rusty on the delaware, but I remember 4ft at that station is what I call low.   Canoe will be dragging.  I might be wrong and it's 3ft.

 

Generally, rising river and stable level and weather is good fishing.  Lowering water levels I have not had good luck with.   I've not experienced water too warm, but you might want to try smaller inlets.   A water thermometer is close to a must when fishing rivers you don't regular.

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A long canoe the 1st day, then do skinner falls back to narrowsburg would be a great primer.  Enjoy the canoeing the 1st day, then focus on what worked again for the last 5 miles of the trip.

 

Like on the surf ,water clarity is an issue at times too.  Bright green can be your friend at times.   I usually use a jig with a grub, affordable.  Sometimes small spoons or spinners.  Grubs do better deep.  Flashy little guys do well by structure on moving water, much like stripers.

 

Sunnies in big pools.  Bass in moving water.   

 

Mostly shorts for bass....  I almost hate fishing them because I got to release almost all.   Thats why I break up with panfish.  Hope to catch a nice bass, but end up going to camp happy with panfish and rock bass.  

Edited by salt deficient

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Forgot one big tip.   The sun........

 

I have burned my upper legs and feet numerous times there.  It's easy to forget before it happens.   Expect to be walking with the canoe.  I bring my own paddle, an anchor, rope, something to cushion myself.  I have never dumped a canoe there, but been close a few times.  Expect to loose lures.

 

Dick sternberg's book fishing rivers and streams can be real helpful.    Check your path on google maps.  Count bends, bridges, etc..   Takes some notes for next years trip.

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Thanks guys. I did a west branch float with a guide last spring but the fish were hard to catch. My son forgot his glasses and he couldn't even see the fly. I'm thinking we would have more fun with smallies. We wouldn't be keeping any fish anyway.

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If you do the section from Kellums bridge down you can target and catch trout, walleye, smallies all with the same lure. Just something to change it up. 

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Not sure about fishing, but canoeing it generally best to take the ny side when seeing fork or islands.

 

Those slow long runs, I do not have any fishing luck.  I also rarely leave the canoe and fish on foot.  Which is probably not good.  But 15 miles in 8 hours is tough in low water.

 

Those water shoes or rubber boots are nice.

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On 1/31/2019 at 9:03 AM, Fun King said:

Friends, I'm thinking of a self guided canoe trip for me and my adult son this spring. The Narrowsburg area seems to have outfitters and accommodations, what do you think? Is it very busy there in mid May? Are smallmouth active then?  Thanks.

 

My Dad used to have a place down on the Flats in Narrowsburg.  I know the drift from Skinners to N'burg...and N'burg to either TMR or Zane Gray well.

 

Old hotel in town is great if you have transportation figured out.  Great bar, bands.  

 

I've also rented houses right on the river on the Flats.  If you have a bike, you can do the run from Skinners to N'burg on your own.  PA side is fairly easy bike ride.  We'd put in at Skinners leaving the car there.  When you get back to the Flats...jump on the bike...take nice evening ride across the bridge in town and up the PA shore to the bridge and car at Skinners.  

 

You can do it the other way, but you have to be a much stronger cyclist.  South from Nburg there's no continuous road or parking on the PA side to do the trick.  While there is a road on the NY side, it doesn't hug the river.  It goes in...and up over some substantial hills...mountains really.  Tough slog unless you're in really good shape.  We do 100 mile bike rides, so for us it's a welcomed workout, but for average recreational rider you're probably walking those "hills."

 

Nobody's mentioned bait.  I like gold flake whacky rigged senkos pitched into the backside of rapids...twitched to keep it off the bottom as you float down into a pool.  I throw that 90% of the time.  I also do drop shot or Hedon sonic (w/ one hook...the one that would drag the bottom...cliped from each treble.)  You want to get down quick over the deeper spots.  Walleye surprises routinely come up from down along the bottom too.  20-30 fish days aren't uncommon.  They don't care about all the boat traffic overhead.  I stay put until the bite seems to really die before floating on to next spot.  You'll be shocked...or at least I was...how many little fish you can pull out of a relatively small spot.

 

Your post got me thinking about a run up there again myself.  Started Googling how to catch Helgramites.  Going to try that as I killed on it one day after trying it, and observing someone else outfishing the Senko and everything else with it.  Nasty little things though, and they don't sell them, so you gotta do the dirty work yourself.  Worth it though, and I'm going to hit it this summer.  There's an eel weir near the end of the road where the river runs out of the flats.  River is shallow and 80? yards wide there.  I have to think one could get a coffee can of hellgrammites relatively quickly flipping rocks a few feet upstream from someone holding a seine net.  Going to try it anyway. 

 

PS-  Just noted you're renting boat.  My notes were for if you had your own float.  If you go, stay at that hotel.  If you stay down at Landers...noisy.  You go to sleep when last party dies...and wake at sun up with early risers.  I've done it, but I sleep in car to mitigate, and some spots are shadier and quieter than others.  Ask for it when you book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MaxCat: Narrowsburg Inn and Chop House?  I actually did a little reconnoitering yesterday, I drove from Port Jervis up to Narrowsburg. I had never been there before.  I have no interest in camping, so the Narrowsburg Inn could be a possibility. I'm also considering a guide for one day, maybe canoe the next. I have a canoe and a bike, but the canoe outfitters seem to make it easier. Thanks again for all your advice, it looks like an incredible adventure pretty close to home.

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On 2/4/2019 at 2:17 PM, Fun King said:

MaxCat: Narrowsburg Inn and Chop House?  I actually did a little reconnoitering yesterday, I drove from Port Jervis up to Narrowsburg. I had never been there before.  I have no interest in camping, so the Narrowsburg Inn could be a possibility. I'm also considering a guide for one day, maybe canoe the next. I have a canoe and a bike, but the canoe outfitters seem to make it easier. Thanks again for all your advice, it looks like an incredible adventure pretty close to home.

 

There's a couple guides, but by far the best know is Tony Ritter.  He's actually the one who put me on to the Senko thing, although I never actually guided with him.  He knows the river though.  Up, down, trout, SMB, whatever.  Used to see him at the RCC shows every Spring.  Probably still out there.   Local shop in Narrowsburg will also tell you what's hot.  I recall getting onto Keitech paddle tails only to have him laugh that guys were already on to it up there.  Worth a call or visit.

 

Our house on the flats was just upstream from the eel weir which is visible in Satellite photos.  River is wide, but roughly ankle to knee deep for the whole 1/4 mile stretch going into that eel trap.  

 

Shortly after we moved in, Dad noted drift boats kept anchoring out in that shallow **** zone.  ????   I waded out.  Huge hole scoured out of the bottom there.  Excellent to fish.  Cast upstream...let the offering drop down into fish waiting in the bowl.  SMB, Walleye surprise.  

 

That's the kind of intel a guide can get you on in a day.  Otherwise...it would be super easy to drift right over or around that without ever knowing what a honey pot it was.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I second the hellgramite recommendation.  I would also say that a guide would put you on bigger fish, but you'll catch plenty on your own. Bring an anchor or get out and wade to fish likely spots more thoroughly. 

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On 2/8/2019 at 6:33 PM, richs said:

I second the hellgramite recommendation.  I would also say that a guide would put you on bigger fish, but you'll catch plenty on your own. Bring an anchor or get out and wade to fish likely spots more thoroughly. 

 

Yep.  I like sit-on-top kayak.  Lots of in and out as you float down through different hot spots.  Unless you're in a drift boat I've found anchoring in the river tough.  I've gotten the kayak sideways and sunk, and also got an anchor down off the stern that I couldn't get out in the current and had to cut loose.  Thus I prefer the stop and wade approach.

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