Sitting on the mountainside half an hour before sunrise I can hear the music of the brook below. It’s tone seems even more crystalline than usual in the frozen air, and it brings a smile to my face in the darkness. Many months will pass before I return to watching bright water while listening to it.

As I sat, I thought about the winter before us, saying a little prayer that it is milder than the last two, and wetter, with a penchant for lighter snowfalls and rainfall perfect for recharging the aquifers that feed the mountain springs and filling reservoirs. In short, I asked for a floodless year, a year with ideal flows for wading trout rivers great and small.

It would seem only fair that spring arrives early and with those ideal flows, for the later months of the season remain in question. New York City revised their schedule for repairs to the Delaware Aqueduct, cancelling this past season’s planned drawdown and planning it for 2023. They still have not provided the public with a clear description of just how this will affect our Catskill rivers, and angler’s fear this could turn out to be the summer of our discontent.

Much will depend of course on Nature’s plans for the season. Though we cannot tell how much stored water will be surplus from NYC’s rather vague official press statements, certainly an excessively wet season will mean higher discharges for longer durations. Our best bet for a long and enjoyable dry fly season would seem to require a normal water year, whatever that is. With blissful long weeks of summer trout stalking in jeopardy, a particularly sweet, perfect spring season would be coveted desperately.


Though I walked the mountain this morning with snow crunching beneath my boots, it was a glorious day that warmed gently. Back home in midafternoon, I decided to take my first river walk of the season to enjoy the best of the fifty-three degree sunshine, though the chill returned as I reached the shadows of Point Mountain. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we are promised another gorgeous day, with a bit of rainfall overnight and Friday. The rain is right on schedule to refresh the rivers, and Sunday offers more. Maybe my little prayer did some good!


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