The Esopus Creek

The Esopus Creek is located in the Ulster County section of the Catskill Mountains. From its source high on Slide Mt., it flows 26 miles to the Ashokan Reservoir.

The Esopus has a feature that establishes it as one of the best trout streams in the east. As a link in the NYC water system, the Esopus receives a huge flow of water through a tunnel from the bottom of the Schoharie Reservoir. This 50-60 degree water then crashes down stream over a boulder strewn bottom creating excellent runs and pocket water fly fishing for the duration of trout season.

Above the tunnel (The Portal) at Allaben, the Esopus is a natural flowing stream affected by the high-low water conditions of the seasons. Native brookies are found here joined by spawning rainbow trout in the Spring time. Summer low water conditions drive the trout downstream or to deep spring-fed spots. Much of the upper creek is posted but plenty of access is available.

Down stream from The Portal near Phonecia, Woodland Valley Creek and Stony Clove Creek enter and the Esopus becomes a 100 foot wide river with several deep holes, some famous; Chimney Hole, Mother"s Hole, Rainbow Run, The Trestle.

Wild Rainbow trout make up 80% of the trout in the lower Esopus. Some very large trout reside here though the average size is 8-10 inches. About 30,000 Brown trout are stocked annually making the Esopus a very fishy stream. Its estimated that there are over 9000 trout per mile or 115 pounds per acre as compared to the famous Beaverkill at 75 pounds per acre. During Rainbow spawn season, mid March to the end of April, many large "bows" swim up from the Ashokan.
1st year spawners12"-15"
2nd year spawners18"-20"
5th year spawners22"
6+ year spawnersrare and big
After April the best fishing for large trout is below the Five Arches Bridge where the fly fishing action can be fantastic. However, anywhere below The Portal is good throughout the summer for smaller trout.

Brown trout spawn in the Autumn. Around the end of September, they move up from the Ashokan with many large rainbow tagging along. Many large trout are taken at this time of year.

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