NYC Weekend Angler

The Willowemoc

Often referred to as the Beaverkill's twin sister, the Willowemoc is another fabulous trout stream accessible from Roscoe, NY. It's slightly smaller than the Beaverkill and the two rivers come together at a place known as Junction Pool right in downtown Roscoe. Needless to say there are lots of nice fish taken out of Junction Pool every season and there are lots of anglers who line up to catch them, too.

The best facet of the Willowemoc is probably its proximity to a famous river like the Beaverkill. Anglers who travel any distance at all tend to spend most of their time fishing the Beaverkill because of its fame and history as the cradle of American flyfishing. That leaves much of the Willowemoc less pressured by crowds of anglers.

Above Mongaup Creek the river is mostly privately owned, but below that junction, public access is quite convenient. From Livingston Manner down to Roscoe, the river is a fly fisherman's paradise. It's all easily waded and the fishing is superb. As with most good fisheries, the further you get off the beaten path, the better the fishing. Take some time to explore up and down the stream near easily accessed points. You won't be disappointed.

One of the best afternoons I had on the Willowemoc involved a short hike upstream from the bridge leading to the Catskill Flyfishing Museum. There were a number of anglers within sight of the bridge and I almost kept driving upriver, thinking it was too crowded. But my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a short hike upstream. After I rounded the very first bend in the river I was surprised to see no one fishing the riffles and pools that weren't within sight of the bridge. I entered the river at the first point where the other anglers were blocked from site and began fishing my way further upstream. I caught a fish almost instantly, a nice brown trout about 10 inches long that hit a bushy adams wulff on the third drift. There were sporadic rises throughout the river as I fished my way upstream. I managed to catch some of them and I also picked up some other nice fish that surprised me. The largest trout was a fat brown the color of rich butter measuring about 15 inches. He hit a caddis nymph I was fishing as a dropper below a bushy dry fly in a pool no bigger than a bathtub. When I set the hook he ran upstream out of the pool and pulled line right off of my reel against the drag. Then he turned and ran downstream, trying to use the current against me. Soon after that he headed back to the security of his small pool before giving up gracefully and sliding into my net. I looked at him for a moment as he revived in the current and I reminded myself that this was exactly the kind of fishing that keeps me coming back to rivers like the Willowemoc. I can never get enough of these trout or the places they call home.

You'll find many of the same hatches on the Willowemoc as you will on the Beaverkill. Sulfurs, blue winged olives, hendricksons and other mayflies, and caddis of all shapes and sizes are all prevalent.

Take 9 out of New York City to 287 West, then head straight up 17 North until you hit the town of Roscoe. The closest train is at Brewster, which is near the Croton.

Adams, Sulfers, Hendricksons, blue winged olives, and lots of caddis. Bring these flies in sizes 10-20 and bring nymphs, emerges, dries and spinners. And you can always call ahead.

Roscoe has numerous motels, some better than others, but all of them angler-friendly.

There are several flyshops in Roscoe. The largest and easiest to find are right across the street from each other on the main drag—Catskill Flies (607-498-6146) and The Beaverkill Angler (607-498-5194).

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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