7 Spots for Fly Fishing in the Hudson Valley

As the birthplace of American fly fishing, the Hudson Valley is home to rivers and creeks that are perfect for the hobby.

With summer and Father’s Day around the corner, there’s no better time than now to plan your next fly-fishing excursion in the Valley. In fact, the pastime started right here in the Hudson Valley as 19th-century settlers began using fly tackle to fish in Catskill Mountain streams. Ever since, the Catskills region has been hailed as the birthplace of American fly fishing.

While many spots stand out along the Hudson River for fishing activities, venture to tributaries and streams off the beaten path for more solitude. Whether you’re a beginner, an expert, or a just-for-fun fisher, head to these rivers, creeks, and ponds to tap into Catskills culture and enjoy a day out in nature.

Batavia Kill


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This Greene County destination is a 22-mile tributary of the Hudson River that empties into Batavia Pond, which is also stocked with fish. Although wild trout exist throughout the stream, they are not very abundant in the lower regions of the Batavia Kill. Here, you’ll find brown and brook trout upstream, while thousands of young brown trout are stocked in the lower regions of the stream. Occasionally, rainbow trout will enter the tributary via the Batavia Pond, where they are stocked.

Croton River

The Croton River dominates Putnam and Westchester Counties with three principal tributaries. The West Branch, Middle Branch, and East Branch are all prime spots for fly fishing in the area. While fishing in the river’s East Branch is available year-round, the West and Middle Branches maintain a season that runs from April to early fall. In the Croton River, both wild and stocked brown trout dominate the water.

Delaware River


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Bordering New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in Sullivan County, the Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States. Some might say that the upper region of this river is home to the best wild trout fishing east of the Rocky Mountains. Brown and rainbow trout are the main fish to catch here, with the occasional smallmouth bass catch. Expert fly fishers will want to check out this popular spot from April to fall.

Esopus Creek


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This Ulster County creek flows for 65 miles, meeting the Hudson River in Saugerties. The Ashokan Reservoir splits the creek at its midpoint, leaving the lower portion of the Esopus Creek to be populated by warmwater fish, while upstream remains cold throughout the year, supporting one of the most productive wild trout populations in the Catskills. Before you visit, contact a local fly shop to get up-to-date on any information regarding hatches and fishing conditions at the creek.

Orvis Sandanona Fly-Fishing School


This one’s for beginners or anyone looking to get into a new hobby or try something a little bit different with a friend. In Millbrook, this fly-fishing school is located on more than 400 acres of lush landscape and private casting ponds. Sign up for a one-day lesson to learn everything about your gear, how to choose your fly and knots, how to shoot a line, and how to safely release your catch. No experience is required, and a catered lunch is also provided to take a break in nature between your hands-on casting instruction.

Wappinger Creek


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A Dutchess County favorite for anglers of all kinds, the Wappinger Creek runs for 41.7 miles to connect to the Hudson River. Bring your rod and reel to hunt for largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, red-breasted sunfish, and brown bullhead in this creek, or go for the stocked trout instead.

Willowemoc Creek


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The Willowemoc Creek is the spot where it all began years ago, as the 26.7-mile-long tributary is commended as the nation’s first fly-fishing location. Therefore, the creek is an ever-popular trout fishing stream in the Catskill Park region of Sullivan County. If you’re looking to join others in the hobby on the banks of the creek, look into the Livingston Manor Fly Fishing Club for a place to gather, explore, relax, and enjoy the peace of the pastime.

Bonus: The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

When it comes to all things fly fishing in the Hudson Valley region, this Livingston Manor museum deserves a nod for its work to preserve and remember the history of fly fishing in the area. If you’re up in Sullivan County for a spot of fly fishing, consider swinging by this destination to learn more about the pastime, or take part in one of the center’s upcoming clinics and workshops.

Related: Soar Through the Sky at These Hudson Valley Zipline Parks

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