Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tenkara and Fly Fishing in the Catskills

I planned a bit ambitious 4-day fishing trip to the Catskills. I wanted to explore some small streams for tenkara fishing during the day and fly fishing the West Branch of  "D" in the evening.
However, the water of  the West Branch was too high  for wading in these several days, I fished Barnhart's Pool of the Beaver Kill near Roscoe instead.

Beaver Kill was in great condition.
The flow and temperetue of the water was ideal.
A lot of all kinds of bugs were in the air and on the water.
Although the fish were not as large as  those in the West Branch, I enjoyed catching several fat browns of 14 and 15 inches in two evenings of tricky dry fly fishing.
The most fun was fish still jumped for green drake flies in the dusk even though only few of them remainig as their season almost expired.

I really didn't have enough time to explore many of the streams for tenkara because I spent a bit more time for the fun of fishing in the Beaver Kill.

Some of the streams I visited for tenkara were:

   Vernooy Kills:

This stream is a tributary of Rondout Creek, located north of Ellenville.
I fished the short stretch of the mid section .
This section is in the State Forest with State Forest signs posted on the trees and at the bottom of the steep valley.
I used to fish in this similar type of stream in Japan with a fly rod a long time ago.  Tenkara fishing was developed by commercial fishermen in this type of stream several hundred years ago.
I caught some brookies and one brown.

I didn't go all the way to the end of the dirt road. If I go there again next time, I will go to find out what it is.                        

   Russell Brook:

The guide book, "Good Fishing in the Catskills", mentions this stream,
so I looked forward to visiting there.

I walked about 2 miles upstream from Russell Brook Campsites and fished at each good looking spot.
But I didn't get even one bite.
I guess the population of trouts there is very small if they are there.

Beyond the Campsites is all public land.
The stream and the surrounding forest  are beautiful.
I was disappointed not able to catch or see any fish in such a nice place.                                      

   The Upper Willowemoc Creek:

I like to fish this stream with a tenkara rod because it is well suited for this stream with a lot of open space.
I really had a good time swinging the tenkara rod in this section of the Willowemoc.

      The Upper Beaver Kill:

I went straight to the state camp- sites by the stream because there is very limited public access on this stream. I didn't catch any fish in this stretch along the campsites, but I got few tiny stocked browns in a small pool upstream.
The character of this stream is similar to the Upper Willowemoc with a lot of open space.

I leaned few things about tenkara fishing in this trip.

  • In the tree covered tight spot, I can shorten the rod to 9-foot or shorter, and cast exactly like a fly rod making narrow U-loop to avoid hanging trees.    

  • All kinds of flies for fly fishing can be used with a tenkara rod.

  • Sometimes a tenkara rod can work better than a fly rod because it makes the least line slack. 

During this trip, I did tenkara fishing in the day time, fly fishing in the evening and early morning, were very exhausting physically. But I enjoyed every bit of them.

There are many nice mountain streams in the Catskills good for tenkara fishing waiting for me to explore.
I can't wait to go again.


  1. Nice that's a lot places you fished, Catskills are great

  2. Thanks for your note. I wish I could have more time to visit many nice streams in the Catskills.