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The Delaware and Lehigh Rivers & Tributaries

The Delaware River
in Pennsylvania


Much of this area provides a combination of scenic float tripping and some really super shad and trout fishing. Trout fishing best upstream from Callicoon beginning in late May. A 20-mile stretch from Hankins, New York upstream is hot. Dry flies and tandem wet flies work equally well; sizes 10 and 12 early, smaller sizes as water levels drop.

Shad fishing begins toward the end of May, continues well into June. Shad darts with red heads, white body and yellow bucktail the most effective lure in eighth- to quarter-ounce size.

Smallmouth bass take live bait. Best area begins at Damascus and goes downstream. For walleye and musky, try the big hole at Narrowsburg.

Floaters are cautioned when going through the area at Skinners Falls, five miles above Narrowsburg. Waters run swift and cold.


There are five boat ramps along this 67mile stretch. Good trout fishing at the mouths of trout streams, from Lackawaxen upstream. Excellent hatches of mayflies stone flies and caddises come off in June and into early September.

This spawning ground for shad sees lots of action mid-May through June; early morning and dusk are the best times. Allow your dart to drift into and then hover in deep pools. The pool at Zane Grey is noted for attracting large numbers of shad; work the main flow of the river.

Smallmouth bass are active July until cold weather sets in. Crayfish and hellgrammites top the live bait; topwater lures do well in the fall.

Pike County river flow is swift and could pose problems for beginners. One especially hazardous area is located about two miles above the Zane Grey access.


Fifteen miles of scenic beauty ending at the Delaware Water Gap will enhance your trip. Shad are in the area from late April until early June. Check out the long pool at the Smithfield Beach access ramp.

This stretch is a hotspot for smallmouth. Offer small minnow-like plugs, live minnows or hellgrammites. For walleye, fish the riffle and still water below the pool at Walpack Bend in late fall. Use lamprey eels, nightcrawlers and imitation minnows. Leadhead jigs work in winter.

Look for musky at the mouths of the many small tributary streams, the pool at the gap and at the tip of Poxono Island, about mid-way through the county.

Avoid the Sambo Riff, just below the mouth of Flat Brook; there's a mile of swift rapids critical to the novice boater.


Thirty-five miles of river have shad the end of April and most of May. Top shad spots include Eddystone Beach, the pool at PP&L Access and a huge riffle below Portland railroad bridge.

Smallmouth are found in deep pools having riffles nearby. Try the usual artificials, but crayfish are best during July and August. Poppers and hair bugs work during June and July.

There are musky here. Fish a size 5 spinner with bucktail in shallows surrounding deeper pools. Walleye fishing is best in late fall and early winter. Troll lamprey eels in big pools.

Be alert to dangerous rapids at Foul Riff, just above PP&L Access; they're among the most dangerous in the watershed. Only the most experienced floater should attempt them.


Divide this county into upper non-tidal (43 miles) and lower tidal (17 miles) sections. In the upper section, floaters must watch wing dams at Lambertville and Lumberville. Second week of April through mid-May generally sees shad when darts are used exclusively. Fish below heavy riffles and in deep pools above the riffles.

Smallmouth peak toward the end of June and continue into September. Jig heads with 3-inch twisters in white or yellow work well; live hellgrammites take bass in June and July. Walleye offer an occasional cold-weather fishery, and there is some muskie fishing.

Tidal section starts at Rt. 1 bridge at Trenton Falls. Tides can vary 11 feet. Fishing pressure is light with some stripers, white perch, herring and shad, catfish and largemouth and smallmouth bass available. Bloodworms take stripers. Anglers take herring in April and May using plain gold hooks jigged in six to eight feet of water; Trenton Falls is a hotspot.


This 18 mile section is affected by tides and heavy commercial traffic. Be aware of treacherous rips formed when incoming tides collide with outgoing current. Best angling includes a variety of warmwater species. There is seasonal striper, shad and herring angling. White perch are taken on small spinners, minnows or garden worms. Striper action starts in May, peaks in early July with the mouths of Pennypack Creek and Poquessing Creek hotspots. June through August sees good bass fishing in coves where weed growth is good. Best fishing occurs during two hours on either side of high tide.


Here are 12 miles of good boating water, but consider the tidal influence and respect the size and power of seagoing vessels passing through this area.

A variety of warmwater fish are caught, especially at the mouths of many tributaries. Live minnows are effective for gamefish; doughball, nightcrawlers and shrimp take carp, catfish and the like. Striper fishing is best in May and June; bloodworms are a good bet along with bucktail jigs dressed with a 3-inch minnow. Stripers like areas where tidal currents are heaviest. Herring and shad pass through in April and May when anglers score while trolling with darts.

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Last Updated: Mar 21, 1996 WebMaster: Jack Mikula mgfx@mgfx.com
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