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.
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
Rivers Outdoor Adventures 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.
The Lehigh River Guides of Rivers Outdoor Adventures.
Our competent, courteous guides will help you to make the most of your fly fishing experience on the Lehigh River. Our guides spend more days on the 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 Rivers Outdoor Adventures 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.
RATES AND PACKAGES
One Day Rates:
4 Hour Walk/Wade Trip for 1 or 2 anglers – $295
Full Day Walk/Wade Fishing for 1 or 2 anglers – $420
“Prime Time” Float Trip (approx. 7 hours) for 1 or 2 anglers – $420
Full Day Upper Gorge Float – $450 Plus $20pp (access fee)
Full Day Float Trip for 1 or 2 anglers – $440
Two Day Packages: All Two Day Booking Receive a $25 Discount
All full day trips include a shore lunch, snacks, and beverages. Prime Time trips include a sandwhich and beverages.
Our guides always carry a variety of fly patterns with them, however the high volume of trips we run can exhaust a guides 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.
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 Rivers Outdoor Adventures. 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.