NYC Weekend Angler

The Neversink River

The Neversink River may not be the most productive trout river, but it is certainly the most historic. Situated roughly 100 miles north of the George Washington Bridge, the Neversink was fished extensively during the early 1900s by historical anglers like Theodore Gordon, inventor of dry flies like the Quill Gordon, and Edward Hewitt, inventor of the Bivisible. While flyfishing began in Scotland and was first practiced in the chalk streams of England, Gordon pioneered dry flyfishing in the United States and Hewitt first explored the concept of fishing with nymphs. Both of these men perfected their craft on the Neversink River of New York State.

Unfortunately, much of this historic river is privately owned and off-limits to the public. However, several public access points remain along State Route 17 below the Neversink Dam near Monticello, NY. Some of these waters have no-kill regulations on them so check your fishing abstracts carefully before deciding to keep a fish. There are also a number of easements allowing access to the river along State Route 209. Pay close attention to the posted signs so you don't end up trespassing on private property. Your efforts will be rewarded when you find yourself fishing on some of this country's most historical waters.

Anglers on the Neversink can expect to catch anything from trout to landlocked salmon to smallmouth bass, sometimes right next to each other in a pool or a run with ample food and structure available. The Neversink is fed by tailwater releases so it stays cool all summer long and its water clarity is not as affected by rainfall as the Beaverkill, Willowemoc or other neighboring trout rivers. The fish in the Neversink don't grow to epic proportions, but some may well reach a few pounds and almost 20 inches in length. The historical significance of these waters makes catching even the smallest brook trout a special and memorable event. The river offers plenty of classic trout habitat--riffles and runs, pools and pockets. Add to that the seclusion of a mostly privately-owned riverfront and the Neversink offers an opportunity for anglers to step backward in time and fish the same waters on which American flyfishing was pioneered.

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.

Elk hair caddis, caddis nymphs, quill gordons, adams, bivisibles, haystacks, march browns (dries and nymphs), pheasant tails. Bring these flies in a variety of sizes, 12-22. Do your homework by looking up some of the classic early patterns (such as Quill Gordon and Bivisible) and bringing them along with you.

Rocsoe has the closest accommodations but is a bit out of the way. Plan on driving a half hour or more to and from the motel each day.

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


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »