Going Down to Yazgur's Farm? Try Fishing Sullivan County, NY
iBass360 is a national organization, but there are certainly concentrations of members in certain parts of the country- New Jersey, California, Florida, eastern Pennsylvania… and then, there is Sullivan County, New York. Sullivan County has been a popular vacation spot since the 19th Century. As an outdoor mecca, hiking, biking, mountain climbing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and other outdoor activities have attracted many. Then there is the Monticello Raceway and the hundreds of resort complexes of the Borscht Belt featuring golf courses, social events, and entertainers.
For the aging baby boomers, it was in Sullivan County in 1969, that 500,000 people came to the Town of Bethel, on a property known as Max Yazgur's farm, to hear the legends of Rock & Roll at the Woodstock Festival- including The Who, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Canned Heat, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Janis Joplin, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Jimi Hendrix, and Richie Havens.
Speaking of people coming together, Sullivan County, with its 325 lakes, rivers, and other fishing spots, is home to the home waters of iBass360 anglers Joey Glaze, Darrell Horton, Joseph Putnam, Kevin Riley and Kevin Sheely. The waters of Sullivan County feature healthy populations of Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass and Bluegill. Streams such as the Beaverkill lay claim to being the American home of fly fishing. Accordingly, the area features numerous tackle and fly shops as well as a number of excellent guides, all of whom can tell you where to find them, and how to
Given the notariety of the Beaverkill and other Catskills fly fishing haunts, it should be no surprise that the area hosts the Catskill Fly Fishing Center. Local anglers always talked about preserving the trout fishing traditions and spirit of the Catskills fly fishing community. Support for the idea gained momentum and in 1979 when the Board of Directors of The Catskill Museum of Fly Fishing was formed. It was incorporated as the Catskill Fly Fishing Center in 1981 with the goal of displaying artifacts and memorabilia, and educating the next generation of fly fishermen. The museum attracted many passing anglers, tourists and guests. Former President Jimmy Carter stopped traffic on Main Street with his visit in 1984 to help kick off a capital fundraising drive. His visit encouraged a widening circle of supporters.
The present location was found in 1982, a 35-acre farm along the banks of the Willowemoc. By 1988, the farmhouse was renovated and a wing added for exhibit space. The old barn was renovated as an educational facility and bunkhouses were built, making it possible for weekend educational programs for youth. Construction of the state-of-the-art museum building was completed in 1995 when the doors of the award-winning, state-of-the-art museum opened honoring the legends of the sport and the lore and lure of fly fishing. The Center now holds the deed to “Junction Pool”, granting it stewardship over the cherished water where the main-stem of the
Beaver Kill takes up its legendary flow. The newest building, erected in 2010, is the Wulff Gallery and Heritage Craft Workshop, housing exhibits on Lee and Joan Wulff, as well as space for exhibits, presentations and events- including areas for fly tying and bamboo rod making workshops. The center affords visitors a place to wet a line, walk the nature
trail, view informative exhibits, picnic near or under their covered pavilion and interact with the many fly tyers, rodmakers, environmentalists, and naturalists who present programs at the Center.
The area is also a premier ice fishing area with numerous tournaments held over the winter. If you are interested in the local fishing regulations, visit New York Fish & Wildlife and remember to check with the local department to ensure the spots you have in mind are open to the public. Based on input from the iBass360 team, below are some of the local favorites:
Crystal Lake Occupying 152 acres just south of Roscoe- aka ‘Trout Town USA’- Crystal Lake offers anglers opportunities for camping and hiking in addition to fishing. As for species likely to strike? Crystal Lake is haven for anglers seeking trophy Brook Trout.
Highland Lake is a 204 acre lake located 12 miles from the town of Monticello. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including smallmouth bass, perch, largemouth bass, pickerel and white perch. Whether you fly fish or bait cast, your chances of getting a bite here are good. Highland allows motorized boats.
Lake Superior – Many fishermen enjoy spending a day in Lake Superior State Park fishing the 194 acre waters of Lake Superior, located in the town of Bethel. Popular species include Largemouth Bass, as well as a variety of Panfish, Chain Pickerel, and
Brown Bullhead. Anglers targeting largemouth are successful with soft plastic worms and top water baits fished in the shallow weed beds. Anglers catch panfish on small jigs and live bait.
Mohican Lake Mohican is a 188 acre lake allowing motorized access. This lake is a favorite of iBass360’s Kevin Sheely. Kevin fishes a variety of presentations such as a Strike King Slither Rig on a 3/0 Eagle Claw red laser hook, Tuff Bait 4” largemouth sticks around the pads and with 1/2oz flipping jigs with a blue craw trailer.
Neversink Resevoir is the largest body of water in the county at 1,539 acres, but motorized watercraft are no permitted. Fortunately, fishing is, with a DEP-issued permit in addition to a New York state fishing license. This reservoir is known for its trout. Fish species present in the lake include landlocked salmon, brown trout, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, smelt, chain pickerel, black bullhead, rock bass and pumpkinseed
sunfish. No other recreational use of the reservoir is permitted. The land is not fenced off, but is regularly patrolled by uniformed DEP police.
Swinging Bridge Resevoir Swinging Bridge is the largest impoundment allowing motorized boats. The walleye fishery on the 885 acre Reservoir is one of the best in the state. Anglers regularly take fish in the 5-pound range, and walleyes up to 10 lbs. are caught each year. The usual method to catch these walleye, is trolling deep diving crankbaits in 20-30 feet of water. Drifting a minnow is also effective, as is fishing a jig tipped with a nightcrawler along the drop offs. Since it features structure such as old house foundations, masonry walls, gravel mounds, and old roadbeds, Swinging Bridge has great habitat for bass. A great spot for Bass is fishing off the dam on the south shore. Try fishing a swim jig or a spinnerbait.\
Toronto Reservoir offers 816 acres of great fishing opportunities. There have been reports of 10 lb. Walleye and 2-3 lb Smallmouth bass caught from this Reservoir.
Although it allows motorized boats, one third of the reservoir is owned by a private club. This portion of the Reservoir is marked by buoys and is not open to public fishing. A good place to look for smallmouth bass is the southern shore. Try fishing with a bright colored spinnerbait fished up to 20 feet. Another good technique for smallmouth is fishing with a tube jig in green pumpkin. You may also have success fishing shallow water at the north end of the lake near the boat ramp.
Yankee Lake is a 407 acre lake located 3.5 miles from Rock Hill. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including perch, pumpkinseed, white perch, red-fin pickerel, crappie, smallmouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass and largemouth bass. Whether you’re baitcasting or fly fishing your chances of getting a bite are good. Alternate names for this lake include Yankee Reservoir. The lake does not allowed motorized watercraft. Below is a list of impoundments over 100 acres:
Beaverdam Pond 112
Black Lake 237
Cliff Lake 166
Crystal Lake 152
Highland Lake 204 Motorcraft
Hunter Lake 105 Motorcraft
Kiamesha Lake 150
Lake Louise Marie 218
Lake Superior 194
Lebanon Lake 357
Little Black Lake 237
Mastens Lake 106 Motorcraft
Mohican Lake 188 Motorcraft
Mongaup Falls Res 106
Mongaup Pond 106
Morningside Lake 130
Neversink Reservoir 1,539
Pleasure Lake 209
Sackett Lake 127 Motorcraft
Saint Josephs Lake 234
Sand Pond 112
Swan Lake 326
Swinging Bridge Res 885 Motorcraft
Tennanah Lake 179 Motorcraft
Toronto Reservoir 816 Motorcraft
Wanaksink Lake 318
White Lake 288 Motorcraft
Wolf Lake 299
Yankee Lake 407
York Lake 103
There are campgrounds and cabins galore in the area so, whether you plan to bring your boat, kayak or canoe, or just plan to wade on in, the Sullivan County iBass360 team hope you will #LiveThePassion!