DIY Guide to Fly Fishing the Roeliff-Jansen Kill in New York

Scholars are in disagreement about the origin of Roeliff-Jansen Kill’s name. According to popular belief, the eponymous Roeliff Jansen was born in Norway in 1602. He emigrated to New Netherland with his family in 1630 and acquired a 62 acre farm in modern day Tribeca. Others believe the river was named after Roelof Jansz Haes, an alderman who explored the stream with other traders in 1634. In the seventeenth century, it was traditional to name the area after the highest ranking member of the party.

Despite these conflicting reports, there is one thing that most people can agree on: Roeliff-Jansen Kill is a valuable fishery. The Roe-Jan, as it is known locally, is stocked with brown trout, and supports a rich environment for black bass and other migratory fish species. Exploring the Roe-Jan can be a real treat for a seasoned angler.

Roeliff-Jansen Kill is a 56.2 mile long tributary of the Hudson River. Throughout its history, the River has served as the boundary between the Native American Mahican and Wappinger tribes. The River rises at Austerlitz, New York and flows through Dutchess and Columbia Counties. It then joins the Hudson River about five miles south of Hudson, New York. It is fed by numerous other tributaries, including Punch Brook, Klein Kill, Green River, Shekomeko Creek and Ham Brook. 

The River is stocked in different sections with yearling and two year old brown trout. You can also find smallmouth bass, and striped bass near the confluence with the Hudson. There are also some brook trout in the River’s headwaters.

Roeliff-Jansen Kill Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access spots on Roeliff-Jansen Kill in New York

Get directions to fishing access points and real-time stream flow data with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Best Places to Fish Roeliff-Jansen Kill

The six mile section between Bingham Mills and the mouth of the River is where you will spot black bass. Above Bingham Mills, you’ll see wild trout. But the best wild trout section is the 13 mile stretch above Robinson Pond. Downstream from Robinson Pond, there is a ten mile long section stocked with 3,800 yearling and 350 two year trout.

The area between Ancram and the Dutchess County border isn’t stocked, but the section from Dutchess County to Bingham Mills is stocked with 9,900 yearling and 700 two year old brown trout.

Best Time to Fish Roeliff-Jansen Kill

The season for fishing Roeliff-Jansen Kill is the standard New York fishing season.

The best time to visit the River is in the spring after stocking. Fall can also be an excellent time of year to visit, since that is when the brown trout spawn and get aggressive.

Best Flies for Roeliff-Jansen Kill

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Roeliff-Jansen Kill:

  • Black Stonefly (#12 - 14)
  • Brown Stonefly (#12 - 14)
  • Gray Caddis (#14 - 20)
  • Green Caddis (#14 - 20)
  • Tan Caddis (#14 - 20)
  • Hendrickson (#12 - 14)
  • March Brown (#10 - 12)
  • Ants (#12 - 16)
  • Beetles (#8 - 16)  
  • Grasshoppers (#8 - 12)
  • Woolly Bugger (#4 - 8)

Need flies? 

Ventures Fly Co. offers a great selection of dry flies, nymphs and streamers that will catch fish just about anywhere.  Set includes 40 high quality, hand-tied flies (see list below) and waterproof fly box. 

Dry Flies
- Adams Dry Fly
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Blue Wing Olive
- Royal Wulff
- Griffith's Gnat White
- Stimulator, Organge
- Chernobyl Ant

Nymphs/Wet Flies
- Rubber Leg Nymph, Brown
- BH Pheasant Tail Nymph
- BH Prince Nymph
- BH Hare's Ear Nymph
- Barr's Emerger Nymph
- Zebra Midge Nymph, Black

Streamers
- Wooly Bugger, Black (Size #8x2)
- Wooly Bugger, Olive (Size #8x2)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Roeliff-Jansen Kill. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Need Gear? 

Below are recommendations for essential gear to make the most of your time on the water.

Quality rod, reel, line and rod tube at a reasonable price. Backed by Orvis 25-yr guarantee, a brand you can trust.

High performance nylon leader, great for fishing Dry Flies, Nymphs and Streamers.

Excellent knot strength, stretch and suppleness make this the finest nylon tippet.  3-pack of the sizes you'll need the most.

Heavy duty, waterproof, yet breathable.  If you are tough on waders, these are for you. Backed by Simms Wader Warranty. If they leak, they got your back.

Most durable, yet comfortable, boot on the market.  Excellent foot and ankle support.  Great for rocky rivers. Lightweight and designed for all-day wear.

Sweet pack with ample storage. Unique harness system reduces neck strain. Sleek tapered face improves visibility - you can see your feet when wading!

Durable and lightweight. The carbon fiber frame floats.  Hooks don't get stuck in the rubber mesh bag . Extra length makes it easier to net fish.  Simply the best nets on the market.

Tough, waterproof and priced right. Hold 900+ flies in slotted foam.  If you need more storage - you have too many flies!

Simple, sharp nippers at great price. Clip on retractor keeps this must have gear at your fingertips.

Strong with a fine tip. Perfect for removing split shot and hooks. Simply the best fishing pliers.

The 580 Glass polarized lenses are super clear and somehow relaxing on the eyes.  Game changer.

Note: DIY Fly Fishing earns a commission (at no cost to you) on sales made using the links above. Thank you for your support!

Roeliff-Jansen Kill Fishing Report

There aren't many area fly shops, guides or websites that can provide a Roeliff-Jansen Kill fly fishing report.  If you know of one, let us know us and we'll add it here.

Fishing Regulations

The state of New York requires that all people who are 16 years of age and older have a valid fishing license. There are resident and non-resident sport fishing licenses available.

You can purchase a New York State fishing license and learn about the most current regulations through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Trip Planning Tips

If you are visiting Roeliff-Jansen Kill, your best bet is to fly into LaGuardia Airport or JFK International Airport. There are plenty of exceptional trout streams in the Catskill region in New York, so you will want to allow time to fully explore the area. 

Brookside Campground is situated at the edge of the Catskill Mountains. The site offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape and is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of fly fishing. Brook n Wood Campground provides a home away from home and close proximity to Roeliff-Jansen Kill. The site also has a heated outdoor pool and family friendly hiking trails.  

Feature image by Dan Shapley / Riverkeeper

Looking for more places to fish? Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in New York

Ken Sperry

About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

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