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Old 05-19-2018, 09:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 56
Fishing Report: Catskill Brookies - 5/5 and 5/7/18

Made my first two fishing trips into the Catskills, to fish a couple of Brook Trout lakes. There are very few still water trout fisheries in the Catskills vs. the Adirondacks, but, the region is close enough to do day trips. I picked “Birch” and “Huggy Bear” Lakes. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of these two fisheries.

“Birch” Lake 5-5-18
  • The drive from PA is about 3 to 3-1/2 hours depending on stops.
  • Arrived at 9am to a full parking area. I parked in the last open spot.
  • Lots of people hiking around the lake and fishing. Most of the fishers were on the lake for a few hours then left.
  • There is a small inlet on the lake’s east side. Due to the water volume difference between the inlet and water spilling over the dam; I assume there to be a couple of springs around the lake.
  • I fished from about 9:30 to 5:30.
  • Surface water temps ranged from 55F to 58F.
  • Lots of chironomid pupa shucks on the water.
  • I noticed a few mayfly duns pop up later in the afternoon.
  • I caught and released 5 Brook Trout. 2 were in the 13 inch range, 1 at 11 inches, another at 10 inches, and one at 8 inches. I lost several other fish. Early in the day, the trout were caught on a maroon micro-leach. Later the in the afternoon, the fish to a Denny’s Callibaetis Emerger.

  • Many of the fish were in / under cover. I caught on fish in the shallow inlet area when picking up to recast after trolling through this area.
  • Despite the people, I was impressed with how the lake fished. It fished as well or better than the several Adirondack ponds I hiked into last year.
  • The one negative….. Just before lunch, I caught a shiner, about 5 inches…..may not bode well for the future of the fishery.

“Huggy Bear” Lake 5-7-18
  • It took me 3 hours from PA, to the trailhead. I started hiking at 8 am.
  • The trailhead map shows the hike to be 1.3 miles into the lake. My DeLorme mapping software puts it a 1.8 miles and internet info puts it at 1.9 miles. At any rate, it’s a pretty good climb with an 700 ft elevation gain to the saddle, then dropping about 300 ft into the lake.
  • Since it was my first hike of the year, I elected to not take my fish finder. Took me about an hour with the float tube, associated gear, and pack. I handled it better than I thought.
  • I eased into the water around 9:30-ish, after rigging up and taking some pictures. After pushing off from shore, I began trolling an intermediate line with a Denny’s Olive AP Emerger and a Denny’s Callibaetis Nymph on the point. As I crossed in back of the dam’s weir, I spotted a pipe or log that my flies may not clear, so picked up the line to move the flies out of the way. As I did, a Brookie slammed it. With less than 2 minutes in the water, I had my first fish.
  • I spent the morning fishing the lake’s west side. I caught several trout by both trolling and casting near cover. Most of the fish took the point fly. As at “Birch” Lake, I noticed lots of Chrironomid pupa shucks in the water, along with some hatching. I did catch 2 Brook Trout off shore where these fish were working on the emerging pupa.
  • There is lots of structure and big stick piles along the lake’s sides. By noon, I’d caught and released 6 Brook Trout and lost or missed several others. As I headed into shore, I trolled my flies and caught two more.

  • After lunch, I continued working the west shore, eventually reaching the north end of the lake. I found the majority of the fish were tight into cover. Throwing into the cover is a mixed bag: Since you don’t know what’s under the water or how far the stick pile goes, you may hook a Brook Trout or you may hook a stick.
  • At the lake’s north end, there’s a tiny inlet which flows into a large flat that’s 7-8 ft in depth. I caught and released two more in this area on a black micro leech under maroon chironomid pupa and a strike indicator. A little after 4 pm, I made another cast with this rig, and had a Brookie hit it like a freight train, which separated the leader on one of the knots just above the strike indicator. Evidently, the fish was able to unhook itself and I kicked over and picked up the lower end of the leader with the flies and strike indicator. I also spotted 2 springs in this area…..a note for later in the season.
  • By 4:30 pm, I’d caught and released 14, so I started kicking towards the dam. I trolled along the way and caught 2 more and missed a couple of others.

  • Throughout the late afternoon, I noticed a few mayfly duns popping up on the water. Out west, I’ve seen Callibaetis mayflies on lakes, but, these appear to be a different mayfly.
  • The vast majority of the fish caught were 11-12 inches.
  • I started the hike out a few minutes after 5 pm. As I left, I noticed the fish were starting to key in on the mayfly duns.
  • I had the lake entirely to myself (it was a Monday). Checking the trail register, it looked like a few people were there on the weekend.
  • Great lake….a good remote experience….and the best stillwater trout flyfishing day I’ve had east of the Rockies.
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