The east branch of the croton river is a catch and release stream that is open year round. Its a place that got me into fly fishing and has a special place in my heart.
Summary: The east branch runs through the town of Brewster NY, its about an hour drive from NYC, and can also be reached by the Metro North train to Brewster. This is a smaller river where in most parts the river is about 40-50 feet wide, and there is a lot of tree cover and brush to navigate as you hike along the river. This stream usually runs about 3-4 feet of depth so its very wadeable and with the exception of a few big storms the flows average around 100 CFS. This river is stocked with browns and rainbows, and you will also catch some little native brookies, and a few blue gills as well.
Access: The main access point is right of main street in Brewster where it intersects with state Route 22. There is a nice parking lot next to the police station and its easy to access the river there. There is also another spot further down route 22 closer to the dam where the water flows out of the reservoir. THere is a few parking spots on the side of the road that provide excellent access. You will notice that there are a fair amount of businesses that back up to the river so please check on where you are going to park/access the water.
Fish: The river is stocked and holds a good amount of good sized Brown and Rainbow Trout. Depending on the season and the stocking you will typically catch a lot of ~10 in brown trout. There are some good hatches on this river in the summer and you will pretty much always see fishing feeding on the surface. One thing to note about fish in this river is they get a lot of pressure. So, just because you see a lot of trout don’t expect to just pull them in.
Approach I have found the most success here by using a fairly basic 45 degree cast upstream. Sometime a downstream presentation works well here for fish that are spooked easily or place where its hard to get a good drift. I typically use a nymph rig under and small indicator or use a dry dropper setup where I have had success with fish attacking both the dry and the nymph. There are a few famous spots on the river that all typically hold fish. There is the Trestle bridge which is one of the more popular runs and it ends in a pretty deep pool that has good fish holding in it. THere is Brady’s Bend which is a deep turn in the river. Its a challenging spot to fish because there area lot of trees and rocks to get snagged on. Then there is Phoebes hole which is further upstream and is typically a pretty good place to catch some good size fish.
Overall this is one of my favorite streams around NYC. I have caught fish here in every month of the year, and find it urban enough for easy access but remote enough that you get the peacefulness and enjoyment of mother nature that brings people to fly fishing.