Paulinskill River Fly Fishing

The Paulinskill River is a wonderful New Jersey trout stream. Beginning just north of Newton, it tumbles and wanders for nearly 30 miles before flowing into the Delaware River. It is fairly large, reaching 60-plus-feet across in some spots, with big, slow pools and crashing pockets. An abundant supply of rainbows and browns keep anglers coming back to the Paulinskill year after year.

Much of the water above the town of Marksboro is posted, and inaccessible for fishing. If you choose to explore the upper end of the river, you will find a few spots to fish–just be on the lookout for posted signs. Up here, the river has some good water, but the majority of productive water lies south of Marksboro. Below Marksboro, more of the river is open to the public (although there’s still posted land here), and you’ll find some outstanding water.

This stretch is made up of large, flat dry-fly pools, nymph-calling pockets, and runs. Early season, usually around the end of April, is a good time to hit the stream for the year’s first hatches. Near the town of Paulina, about two miles south of Marksboro, there’s a dam and some nice dry-fly water. Some of the water is posted, but along the way there are spots you can park and fish. The State marks the areas where they stock fish, so keep your eyes open for these signs when you’re driving along the river.

Blairstown probably is the most popular stretch of the Paulinskill. At times, this section can be crowded, especially early in the season. There are, however, many fine pools and runs that should not be overlooked. Throughout the town of Blairstown and near the airport, you’ll find plenty of places to park and fish. Angling is good all the way downriver to where the Paulinskill enters the Delaware River, near Columbia.

The Paulinskill offers very good hatches as well as great dry-fly fishing throughout much of the season. Hatches such as Hendricksons, Isonycias, Sulphurs, and Blue-Winged Olives are all productive and fairly dependable. Terrestrials work well during the summer months.

And you’ll find nymph fishing some of the faster, pocketed stretches to be very productive too. Fishing in early-season, high-water conditions usually works best with large nymphs or a sink-tip line with Woolly Buggers and streamers. You can gain access to the Paulinskill via Route 94, which follows most of this river’s productive length, from Marksboro south to Columbia. And if you travel on the side roads along the way, you’ll be able to access the river. The next time you’re in Northwestern New Jersey, stop to fish the Paulinskill-this trout stream won’t disappoint you.