Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fly Fishing for trout in New York City without a Car

There is no shortage of names and adjectives used to describe New York City – The “city that never sleeps”, the “Big Apple” the “Concrete Jungle”… The list goes on and on… but very few people know that NYC is a fly fishing hub.  The East River, Jamaica Bay, Far Rockaways, Staten Island provide a fantastic playground to anyone interested in catching striped bass and bluefish. 

But what about the "sweet water" enthusiast?

What are the options for the non-motorized New Yorker when the River is calling your name?  When the thoughts of wading a clean, cold river in hopes of rising trouts and you are left without a car and can’t drive over the Mighty West Branch of the Delaware?  There is hope, fellow angler! Just pack a 4 weight rod, a pair of waders and head to Grand Central station (or 125th street if you are uptown).  Get a $28 round trip ticket to Croton Falls and hop in the North Metro MTA.

It takes about 1 hour to get there, just enough time to get though your emails, enjoy a cup of coffee and catching up with the news. Once you arrive at the station, the river is literally 5 min away (see map - the red circle is the station). My advice here is to spend some time on the bridge and look for surface activity.

The Croton Fishery is basically 2 little rivers;  the West Branch – and the East Branch.  This is not the Bow river in Canada… but it provides a decent fly-fishing opportunity with a well-managed catch and release, artificial only, section.  The fish are mostly brown trouts, with an average size of 10-15 inch and since the river is not that deep they tend to rise pretty consistently.  See map - the green indicates where you can fish:

I enjoy fishing Croton for personal reasons. I fly fished there with my wife and we caught fish before a huge storm caused us to take shelter in the woods… and every single time I look at a specific tree I recall the words she was calling because, yes, she was right – the Storm was coming – but the trouts were raising too…  My best friend caught one of his first trout on a dry fly there as well.  5 years and thousands of hours fly-fishing later we still laugh at this poor little trout who was the catalyst, to an insane amount of fishing trips afterward…

Fly fishing is not just about catching fish… if our end goal was solely focused toward that end we would not be fly-fishing to begin with! Creating lasting memories, discovering new places and meeting friendly folks down the line (no pun intended) are an essential part of the sport.

While you are there don’t forget to get some food in local shops, sandwich, subs and pizzas are delicious, especially after a long day of wading, exploring and catching trouts.

Trains are running every 45 min or so on weekends so you’ll be back in no time in the city and will most likely have some good story to tell your colleagues on Monday!