River Report/Conditions

Sumer Time on the Upper Delaware

July 12, 2018, Author: Patrick Cook

As freestones and spring creeks start to warm up and water levels drop, the dog days of summer start to take hold. Bass, Panfish, Carp, and other various warm water species can offer great angling opportunities to combat the void left from not being able to fish your local streams. For us trout bums who seek the sipping of a spinner, the boil on a dun, or the thrashing of an emerger, there is one reliable source. The Upper Delaware. Due to its bottom release dams the Upper West and Upper East Branch stay relatively consistent in flow and temperature all summer long.

Summer time fishing on the Upper D can offer anglers a chance to develop and enhance their skills, particularly with a dry fly. Below I will list a few tips and tricks that you may or may not know to help increase your fish count and optimize your time on the water.


  1. Never cast upstream. You should be approaching and presenting your fly down and across the stream
  2. Feed, feed, feed. Slack is often thought of as a negative thing. However, introducing slack into your presentation can help maintain a dead drift.
  3. Learn how to execute a proper reach mend. Joe Demaldaris of Cross Current Guide Service offers a great video on the Orvis Website and YouTube channel on how to do so.
  4. Extend and lighten your leaders. This will help catch the micro currents that may not be easily visible, thus reducing the micro drag on your fly.
  5. A stealthy approach is crucial while presenting to weary fish. The East Branch this time of year is usually low and clear, so throwing any type of wake at your fish will put them down.
  6. Experiment and change your flies. My general rule of thumb is, the more heavily pressured a fishery the smaller and more natural I go. However sometimes a little bit of flash can help your fly stand out from the naturals and offer a “trigger “for the fish to strike. The Upper West gets blanket hatches of Sulphurs during the summer months, so something a little different can be productive at times.
  7. Pick one fish and stick to it. The amount of rising fish can be over whelming at times and it’s easy to get distracted and in turn make sloppy casts and presentations.
  8. Knotless leaders are a smart choice due to the algae in the water. Be sure to pick a leader with a heavy butt section. The Trout Hunter leaders are a personal favorite. This will help turn your fly over when you’re fishing 12-15fters.
  9. Keep an eye out for small BWO. Often during the Sulphur hatch, small BWOs are hatching along with them.
  10. Dress warm. Yes, the air temp maybe in the 90’s but the water temps may range from mid-40’s to mid-50’s.

If you’re looking to nymph during the summer months the mid-lower river is going to be your best option. This is primarily due to the lower concentration of algae. Just be sure to carry a thermometer, the lower West can climb to unsafe temperatures.

For more information and up to date daily reports be sure to check our blog on the website or stop in the shop.