New York Fly Fishing 2 min read

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

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

November 27, 2020

waterfall on 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 trout fishery just a few hours north of New York City. 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.

About Roeliff-Jansen Kill

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 the Fishing Access Points shown above 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)

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.

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.  

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

Feature image by Dan Shapley / Riverkeeper