Travelers taking a road trip along Scenic Route 97 through New York may want to consider taking their fishing gear along for the ride.
Running parallel with the Delaware River, Scenic 97 winds its way though Sullivan County, which is the self-proclaimed “Fly Fishing Capital of the East.”
Whether you prefer fly fishing or spin wheel, the entire stretch of Route 97 is replete with prime, public fishing sites for those with an affinity for American Shad, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Walleye, Panfish and Smallmouth Bass.
What follows is insider information on the area’s prime fishing sites and area campgrounds as well as where to purchase a fishing license, bait and tackle.
Non-resident Fishing Licenses vary in price based on fish type and fishing trip duration.
Marine licenses are needed by those anglers who wish to fish for migratory, sea based species such as American Shad.
Non-resident Marine Fishing Licenses tend to cost anywhere from $5 for one day up to $10 for a seven day.
Regular, Non-resident Fishing Licenses average $15 for a one day license and $35 for a seven day. Trout stamps are also essential and tend to cost $15 per stamp.
Travelers should note that the NYS Fishing Licenses are also valid for fishing the Pennsylvania border waters such as the section of river between Minisink Ford, NY and Lackawaxen, PA.
Fishing licenses may be purchased online, by phone, mail or in person at the various bait and tackle stores as well as most area campgrounds.
Travelers who wish to learn more about New York State’s sporting regulations should call the DEC at 1-866-933-2257.
Free Fishing Days
Each year the state designates two days where it is permissible to fish without a license. This annual “Free Fishing Weekend” usually takes place the last full weekend in June.
Bait and Tackle Shops
Traveler’s looking to purchase live bait and tackle while fishing along Scenic Route 97 have four options to choose from; Sam and Mabel’s, Barryville Sportsman,Tom’s Bait and Tackle and HE Tackle.
Sam and Mabel’s in Port Jervis is the place where our family would usually go to buy bait. Sam and Mabel’s is open year round, Monday through Friday from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm and on weekends from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm.
Roughly 17 miles northwest along Route 97 travelers will find the Barryville Sportsman. It is open year round with hours of operation varying by season.
Throughout the summer months it is open daily, with extended hours on the weekends. During most summer weekdays it opens at 8:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm.
On the summer weekends it generally opens at 7:00 am and closes at 8:00 pm on Saturday and 3:00 pm on Sunday.
From Barryville anglers will need to travel approximately 16 miles to Narrowsburg to find the next bait shop; Tom’s Bait and Tackle.
Tom’s Bait and Tackle is also open year round with hours of operation varying by season. During the warmer months it is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.
It also maintains hours of operation on Fridays from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, Saturdays from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 6:30 am until 3:00 pm.
HE Tackle is located at the far end of Route 97 in Hancock NY and is also open year round. Due to seasonal variations, it is best to call the HE Tackle Staff directly to verify hours of operation.
Sam and Mabel’s
Tom’s Bait and Tackle
River Access Points
In general there is a public river access point every 3 to 20 miles along the Delaware River, several of which are located along Scenic Route 97.
Anglers starting out in Port Jervis, NY will want to consider fishing from the Tri-State Monument, the Mata-Port Bridge, Riverside Park or West End Beach.
Tri-State Monument is located at the far end of Laurel Grove Cemetery and is only accessible by employing the use of the cemetery entrance. The road inside Laurel Grove Cemetery is narrow, snake-like and makes one large loop.
Once inside the cemetery anglers should bear right and take the road all the way down until they see an interstate overpass. The Tri-State Monument is located on a patch of land that stretches out from the cemetery and under the interstate overpass.
In addition to marking where three states meet, the Tri-State Monument also happens to be located where the Neversink and Delaware Rivers meet. It is the integration of the two that makes Tri-State Monument a fruitful location for catching trout.
A popular spot among the locals, traffic within the cemetery has a tendency to get quite busy at times. Anglers fishing from the cemetery will also want to be mindful of closing time as the cemetery gates do get locked promptly each evening.
Laurel Grove Cemetery is open daily, year round, from dawn until dusk. Admission is free.
Fishing from the Mata-Port Bridge is tricky at times due to both the fluctuating water levels in that area and the bridge traffic.
There is however a sweet spot dead center of the Mata-Port Bridge that has been known to yield many a large fish.
When fishing off the Mata-Port Bridge anglers will also want to be mindful of the fact that there is an old, abandoned eel weir located near the Flo Jean Toll House Restaurant on the Port Jervis side that has been known to claim a lure or two.
Those angler’s who prefer to fish from a boat instead of the shore will want to consider either West End Beach or Riverside Park as a starting location.
Of the two, only Riverside Park has a floating dock and neither has official boat launches. The sand and gravel shoreline in each location however it suitable for boat launches.
Other prime fishing sites along Scenic Route 97 include the area around Pond Eddy, Halfway Brook in Barryville as well as Skinner’s Falls and Ten Mile River in Narrowsburg.
A map and list of other Delaware River public access points may be accessed on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway website.
Anglers who wish to make a full weekend of it and camp along the NY side of the Delaware River will find Lander’s Skinner’s Falls and Narrowsburg Campgrounds as well as Jerry’s Three River Campground in Pond Eddy and Ascalona Campground in Minisink Ford more than adequate.
Advance reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by contacting the campground of one’s choice directly.
Lander’s River Trips
Jerry’s Three River Campground
Barryville Sportsman, “Home” BarryvilleSportsman.com
Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, “Home” UpperDelawareScenicByway.org
Minisink Valley Historical Society, “Home” Minisink.org
City of Port Jervis Recreation Department, “Home” PJRec.com
Department Environmental Conservation, “Fishing License” Dec.NY.gov