A Strong Water Year

Autumn Torrent – Beaverkill River, Delaware County, New York

Rain fell again overnight, just enough to delay the rivers’ falling back to wadable flows a bit. It has been a strong water year, enough so that there is hope that some measure of our groundwater reserve has been replenished. I took my shotgun for a walk the other day, up along the headwaters of the Beaverkill, and marveled at all of the sparkling rivulets of water coursing down the mountainsides.

I have seen two such years during my full time residence in the Catskills: 2018 and 2021. We had flood flows on Tuesday along many of the regions rivers, but they receded quickly from dangerous levels. Flows are still strong, and carry the color of sediment. It is my hope that the rains brought only good things to the spawning tributaries, clean flows and oxygen, and the result of this ample water year is a full and healthy crop of trout fry wriggling in the gravel come spring. I hope fervently that the streams retain good flows throughout the coming winter, a boon to all stream life!

The weather forecasters are speaking of a warmer, wet winter, and I pray all our rivers and streams will remain free of deadly anchor ice. Much of that is Nature’s will, though the great city to our southeast must play it’s part too. May they use the extra rainfall wisely to maintain strong winter flows in the tailwater rivers of the Delaware, unlike last year.

Driving through the mountains I was blessed to find much of autumn’s fire still aloft on the slopes. Though this last nor`easter brought the heavy rains, we did not get the damaging winds that would have stripped the trees of their beauty. So indeed we have a little more time to enjoy the season as November comes knocking.

November! It doesn’t seem possible, though indeed the angler’s season has vanished once again. The dry fly rods have been wiped down and put away until spring, or at least until the interminable ache of winter drives me to take them out, wiggle and polish them, and remember…

Photo courtesy A.J. Boryan

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