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Lehigh River Fly Fishing
Lehigh River Gorge
Lehigh River Guides
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Lehigh River Fly Fishing

The Lehigh River begins high in the Pocono Mountains near the town of Gouldsboro and continues for 103 miles until it's confluence with the Delaware River at Easton. The Lehigh is the largest tributary to the Delaware and in colonial times it was actually called the West Branch of the Delaware River. For many years industry took it's toll on the ecosystem of the Lehigh River but thanks to environmental progress it has rebounded in a big way, the Lehigh currently benefits from a level of water quality not seen on this river for over 175 years. Currently the Lehigh suffers from inadequate releases from the FE Walter Dam operated by the USACE, but the fishery has improved greatly despite this thermal obstacle and has the potential to be a world class fishery if the problem can be solved.

Interesting, but how good is the Lehigh River for fishing? Fantastic!!! Thanks in no small part to the tremendous efforts of the Lehigh River Stocking Association, the river is teeming with trout. Established in 1991, the LRSA has stocked hundreds of thousands of trout ranging from fingerlings to trophy monsters. With such an aggressive stocking program it wasn't long before the stocked fish began to make spawning runs up river and the combined spawning of wild fish and stocked fish is evident today in various parts of the fishery. Brookies, Brownies, and Bows can be found from Gouldsboro to Walnutport. The water quality improvements have also fostered more habitat for the aquatic insects that are so important for the health of the fishery. Mayflies, Stoneflies, and Caddisflies abound in the Lehigh River and hatches can be thick and productive for Blue Winged Olives, March Browns, Slate Drakes, Sulphurs, Hendricksons and more. The growth of trout raised in the Lehigh can be amazing due to the adundance of food in the form of the previously mentioned aquatic insects, crayfish, minnows and terrestrial insects, all of which can provide the fly fisherman with some incredible fishing opportunities.

Anyone who has ever fished the Mighty Lehigh can tell you that wading is no easy task. It takes a good understanding of what flow conditions are wadeable at which locations to make for safe wading. Still, cautious and strong waders can be treated with excellent trout fishing from April through June with the fishing picking up again in mid to late September and continuing well into November. Winter fishing is possible but highly discouraged as a slip into the Lehigh during the winter months could prove dangerous.

Most fishing is done with rods of 9' or longer, in line weights from 5wt to 7wt. Floating lines are most useful for all around fishing while some prefer sink tip lines for wet fly and streamer fishing. Leaders can range in length from 7' to 10' in sizes from 2X to 6X depending on the type of fishing that you'll be doing on any given day. A good reel with a smooth disc drag and 100yds of backing can be important if you hook into a Lehigh Lunker. An assortment of strike indicators and splitshot help to get your offerings in the strike zone and keep them there longer and floatant is often necessary to keep your flies aloft in the faster water. An assortment of attractor and general use flies such as Copper Johns, Wooly Buggers, Pheasant Tails, Royal Wullfs, CDC Caddis, Stimulators, Parachute Adams, etc. will work most of the time with a decent presentation but sometimes a more hatch specific pattern is necessary for consistent action.

Fishing the Lehigh River during an excellent hatch can be a real treat and a good chance to catch a real lunker on a dry fly. Some of our favorite hatches include the Slate Drake, March Brown, Grey Fox, Sulphur, Cornuta, Blue Winged Olives(BWO), and all of the awesome caddis hatches that happen throughout the year. The occasional strong stonefly hatch can get the fish feeding on stones during breezy days on the Lehigh River. The broad range of water types on the river creates a variety of habitats for aquatic insects from top to bottom. One good afternoon in the stretch we call the Olive Garden and you'll be hooked for life!

Lehigh Gorge Fishing
For the second year Rivers is pleased to be able to offer our Lehigh Gorge Float Trips. 2007 was the first year when commercial guiding permits were granted for guides to float fish this section of the river. Years of boating, fishing, and logistics gathering trips in the Gorge have come to fruition for us as we have been awarded the first ever commercial fishing permit for this section of the river. This section combines the excitement of whitewater boating with a high quality fishing experience where you'll be able to fish areas that receive little or no pressure because of their remote nature. Remote!?!?! There must be a lot of parking lots and parallel roads along the river right? Not really. The Rails to Trails project parallels most of the Lehigh River in the Gorge and there are a few roads that allow angler to reach some parts of the river but the area is rugged and even getting off of the bike trail and down to the Lehigh is a feat in many areas. Will you catch more fish up here than the lower sections? Maybe not but at the end of the day you won't have to measure your adventure in inches of fish but in the perfection that such a beautiful piece of water has to offer. This is a true fishing adventure to rival the scenery and fishing of angling destinations across the country.

Lehigh River Guides Lehigh Gap Outfitters is the guide service of Rivers and guiding fly anglers is what we do. Our competent, courteous guides will help you to make the most of your day on the Lehigh whether you have chosen a full day or half day of wade or float fishing. Our guides spend more days on the Lehigh River than any other guide service and most of our guides spend more time on the river individually than the entire "guide staff" of other services. We live on the river. Our presence on the water day after day, week after week gives our guides an insight into hatch activity, fish movement, fishing trends, and water conditions on a level that cannot be matched.

Between our seven available drift boats and catarafts, experienced full-time guides, custom tied fly patterns, first class shore lunches, and reputation for being the best guide service in the area it's no wonder that so many of our clients return season after season hopes of bigger fish, thicker hatches, and the comfort of knowing that Lehigh Gap Outfitters is their guide service.

Drift boat fishing is unfamiliar territory for many East Coast anglers but it is the number one method of fishing the Lehigh River which acts more like a Western river than anything else here in the East. This river really is one of the best kept secrets of Eastern trout fishing and, "I had no idea that something like this was here!" is an exclamation that we hear frequently. Drift boat fishing is our specialty and we average 70 boats a month every May during the height of hatch activity with enormous March Browns making a spectacle of themselves mid month. Fishing is also very productive through June as the weather holds and presents daily Sulphur, BWO, and caddis hatches. Drift boat fishing also allows anglers to fish heavy nymph and streamer patterns in whitewater situations that would be too dangerous to wade fish. Hooking a fish of any respectable size in heavy water is usually a memorable fight. A drift boat trip with us is also an excellent way to introduce yourself to this kind of fishing especially if you're planning to drift out West or wherever else your fly fishing travels may take you.

 

 

2011 RATES AND PACKAGES
One Day Rates:
6 Hour Float Trip for 1 or 2 anglers $300.00
8 Hour Gorge Trip for 1 or 2 anglers $415 for 1 Angler
$435 for 2 Anglers
9-10 Float Trip for 1 or 2 anglers $390.00
Two Day Packages:
All Two Day Booking Receive a $25 Discount
Accomodations can be arranged for two day packages, call 570-943-3151 for details.
All full day trips include lunch, snacks, and beverages. Half day trips include snacks and beverages.

Our guides always carry a variety of fly patterns with them, however the high volume of trips we run can exhaust a guide's fly box. We can provide a list of flies a few weeks before the trip if you enjoy tying your own and we can also put a selection together for you if you wish. Visit our fly fishing store for custom fly selections.

If necessary, quality Orvis tackle can be provided for all trips free of charge. Please give us some heads up time so that we can make proper arrangements. Leaders, tippet, split shot, etc can be purchased from your guide before the trip begins.

Prices do not include guide gratuities.

A 50% deposit is required to secure your trip dates. Balance is due on arrival.

Credit Card Fees: Prices quoted above represent payment by cash or check. Due to recent dramatic credit card fee increases, we are forced to apply a 5% surcharge on all credit card transactions for trips and schools.

Cancellations and Rescheduling: Cancellations and rescheduling will be accepted no later than two weeks prior to your scheduled date. We cannot influence the moods of Mother Nature. Postponed trips due to conditions and all refunds are at the discretion of Lehigh Gap Outfitters. All deposits will be held and your trip will be rescheduled within one calendar year.

Remember, we do not enjoy fishing in poor conditions any more than you do. Our goal is for you to have a memorable trip.

All prices are subject to change with out notice. Rivers is not responsible for typographical errors.

 

The Lehigh Report

05/11/2011

Air Temp: 65-72 Water Temp: 55-58 We've had a few boats on the river since Mother's Day weekend and covered a solid 20 river miles. First we welcomed Jeff, Mike, Joe and Rick. These men all worked hard over two days landing several trout and smallmouth bass. A mixture of nymph rigs, streamer and a specialty fly appropriately called, "The Aggravator" were successful. However, with flows over 1000cfs out of FEW all weekend, coupled with a few storm fronts, fishing was a challenge at times. Credit these four anglers for their perseverance. Then we had two boats on the Lehigh on a spectacular Tuesday in early May. Release out of FEW was just under 1000cfs for the first time in over a week, but conditions on the river are stabilizing and the fishing is improving. From morning till about 2pm, trout were feeding well on black buggers and prince nymphs. I had the pleasure of guiding Kevin and he managed to boat 12 trout, including the royal flush - a brook, rainbow, brown and tiger. Kevin kept his flies mostly off the edges, down deep and twitching them at the end of a long swing. Still no surface activity, but with water levels hopefully coming down and air temps rising, we have good reason to believe that will be changing. If there's any indication of the fish seeming to turn on to bugs, it's that over half of Kevin's trout ate the trailing prince nymph. JW mike_5_8_11.JPGMike_5_8_11_2.JPGjeff_5_8_11_2.JPGJeff_5_8_11.JPGjeff_5_9_11.JPGKevin_5_10_11.JPGKevin_5_10_11_2.JPG

View More PA Fly Fishing Reports...

 

Gear & Tackle

We can provide quality Orvis tackle for your float trip if necessary. We do not charge ridiculous rental fees for tackle but we do ask that you give us a good heads up so that we can make arrangenments.

Rods
Dry - An 8.5' or longer rod in 5wt or 6wt. Stiffer rods with a good backbone are favored over soft rods which make it difficult to handle wind and apply good pressure to a nice fish in bigger water.

Wet - An 8.5' or longer rod in 6wt or 7wt. Again, stiffer rods will handle the wind better and allow for more efficient mends.

Reels
Reels should be appropriately sized to allow for 150-200yds of backing. Runs into the backing are not that common on the Lehigh but we have had fish take us into the backing on occasion and we've had plenty of fish on bigger than the ones that did. Reels should also have a good smooth drag system capable of applying good drag pressure.

Lines
Floating - Most fishing situations on the river call for a floating line which when properly cleaned and/or dressed allow for easier mending and are also easier to pick up and cast.

Sinking - Sinking lines have their uses, especially for trying to dredge pigs up in deeper pools and runs but they will be a hassle in most of the river. A more practical rig uses mini sink tips which can be removed and replaced more easily and when combined with a split shot or two are a more flexible way to fish the whole river.

Leaders & Tippet
Lehigh trout are usually not spooky, at least in broken water, and as such we frequently use 4x for dries and nymphs and 3x for streamers. Nylon tippets are used more than Fluorocarbon, but the higher abrasion resistance of Flouro makes it ideal for nymphing. We will always recommend using the heaviest tippet possible given the conditions to increase your chances of landing these strong fish. Leaders of 7.5' to 10' are the most useful lengths.

The Other Stuff
Licenses should be purchased prior to the trip, PA has switched to an electronic license system so we are no longer able to provide paper licenses as we have in the past. Failure to purchase a license ahead of time can result in substantial delays to the start of the fishing trip. Breathable waders are recommended for early and late season trips and on rainy days. Depending on the weather, wet wading can start as early as mid May and continue until sometime in October. UNSTUDDED wading shoes with plain felts are required for drift boat trips, we will use a floor mat for anglers who show up with studs to help the angler from sliding around the boat but the best footing is with wading shoes with plain felts. Studded boots are recommended for wade trips. Raingear is recommended and a comfortable rain jacket can make a rainy day much more bearable. A wading staff is helpful if a wading opportunity presents itself. You are welcome to bring your own camera and all LGO guides carry digital cameras with them. Sunscreen and insect repellant are highly recommended.

 

Check Availability

 

 

Directions

FROM PHILADELPHIA AREA

• Take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 476).

• Continue on the Northeast Extension to the Mahoning Valley Exit (Exit #74).

• Take Route 209 South after leaving the turnpike tollbooth.

• Continue on Route 209 South through Jim Thorpe to the intersection with Route 93.

• Turn right onto Route 93.

• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.

• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.


FROM LEHIGH VALLEY AREA

• Take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 476).

• Continue on the Northeast Extension to the Mahoning Valley Exit (Exit #74).

• Take Route 209 South after leaving the turnpike tollbooth.

• Continue on Route 209 South through Jim Thorpe to the intersection with Route 93.

• Turn right onto Route 93.

• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.

• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.


FROM SCRANTON/WILKES BARRE AREA

• Take Interstate 476 South (Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

• Continue south on the Northeast Extension to the Mahoning Valley Exit (Exit #74).

• Take Route 209 South after leaving the turnpike tollbooth.

• Continue on Route 209 South into Jim Thorpe.

• Continue on Route 209 South through Jim Thorpe to the intersection with Route 93.

• Turn right onto Route 93.

• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.
• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.
• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.


FROM HARRISBURG AREA

• Take Interstate 81 North to Exit 37 (Hometown).
• Turn onto Route 54 East.

• Continue on Route 54 to Route 209 North into Nesquehoning.

• Continue on Route 209 North through Nesquehoning to the intersection with Route 93.

• Turn left onto Route 93.

• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.
• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.


FROM NEW YORK CITY AREA

ROUTE "A":

• Take Interstate I-78 through New Jersey to Pennsylvania Exit 15.

• Take Route 309 North to U.S. Route 22 West.
• Continue to Interstate 476 North (Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension).

• Leave the Turnpike at Exit #74 (Mahoning Valley, old exit number #34).

• Bear left as you leave the tollbooth to Route 209 South.
• Continue on Route 209 South through Jim Thorpe to the intersection with Route 93.

• Turn right onto Route 93.

• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.

• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

ROUTE "B":

• Take Interstate 80 West to Pennsylvania Exit 284 (Blakeslee, old exit #43).
• Turn onto Route 115 South.
• Continue on Route 115 to Route 903.
• Turn onto Route 903 South and continue to intersection with Route 209.
• Turn onto Route 209 South to the intersection with Route 93.
• Turn right onto Route 93.
• Take the first left turn after turning onto Route 93 (very short distance) at Whitewater Rafting Adventures sign. Continue to metal gate on the right. Please limit your speed to 15 mph.
• Turn right at the metal gate and continue to the headquarters of Whitewater Rafting Adventures.
• You will meet your guides at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

 

 

Accomodations in the New Ringgold Area

The “Guide Room”
Above our fly shop, it comfortable but nothing fancy. 4 beds, kitchen and bath. Clean & inexpensive, on the banks of the Fly Fishing stretch of the Little Schuylkill. Included only as a part of our guiding and school packages. Additional $35 a night per person, $60 a night for two. Continental breakfast and lunch included.
info@RiversFlyFishing.com
570-943-3151

 

The Alexander Benjamin House Bed and Breakfast
Six miles from our fly shop in Andreas, PA. A special of 20% off regular rates for our clients. Accommodations offer a Full Breakfast on the weekends and a continental breakfast on the weekdays. Weekends there is a 2 day minimum.
570-386-3731

 

Microtel Inn & Suites
Located in Hamburg, across from Cabela’s. 12 miles from our shop. Mention Rivers Outdoor Adventures for a 10% discount.
610-562-4234

 

 

Accomodations in the Lehighton/Jim Thorpe Area

Canalside Guest House
Affordable rooms in Lehighton.
610-377-5599

 

Riverdance Bed & Breakfast
570-325-2961

 

The Inn at Jim Thorpe
1-800-329-2599

 

Country Inn & Suites
Located right off the turnpike in Lehighton.
610-379-5066

 

Hampton Inn
Located right off the turnpike in Lehighton.
610-377-3400

 

 

 

 

Links

Lehigh River Stocking Association - Please support this stocking association, they have made possible the fishery we have today.

Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance - Please support our organization dedicated to the realization of a year round cold water fishery.

Army Corps of Engineers - Dam information, release information and schedules.

USGS - Realtime streamflow data.

 
 
 

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