New York Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Wappinger Creek in New York

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

November 27, 2020

Wappinger Creek in New York

Wappinger Creek is the perfect starting point for beginner anglers. As the longest stream in Dutchess County, Wappinger Creek stands out as a fishery by hosting a wide variety of species, including largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, red-breasted sunfish, and brown bullhead. Additionally, the Creek is stocked annually with rainbow and brown trout.

This is a pretty straightforward fishery, with easy access and plenty of trout to go around.

About Wappinger Creek

Fly fishing on Wappinger Creek in New York

Wappinger Creek is a 41.7 mile long creek in Dutchess County, New York. The Creek begins in Thompson Pond, and heads southwest towards the Hudson River. The River has a somewhat erratic course, and flows through rocky terrain that gradually transforms into sandbars and marshes.

At Wappingers Falls, the Creek forms Wappinger Lake, which is a man made reservoir. It is fed by four tributaries: Hunns Lake Creek, Willow Brook, East Branch Wappinger Creek, and Little Wappinger Creek.

Wappinger Creek is stocked with 12,000 brown trout and 2,000 rainbow trout annually. You can also find wild brown trout in the headwaters. The Creek is a great place for beginners to learn the ropes of fly fishing and a popular destination for anglers who live in New York City.

Wappinger Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access spots on Wappinger Creek in New York

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Best Places to Fish Wappinger Creek

There are several places to access Wappinger Creek. At Reese Park, there is a public canoe/kayak launch, and there is another launch area at Pleasant Valley Recreation Center.  Greenvale Park also has excellent Creek access. The Creek can be waded, or tackled via drift boat.

You can check out the New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s public fishing rights map for Wappinger Creek to get more information on the regulations and surrounding area.

If you decide to take on Wappinger Lake, you’ll want to fish in the early morning near the shore. This lake holds a good amount of largemouth bass and chain pickerel. The vegetation in this Lake is thick, and will affect your visibility when angling. You’ll find a small boat launch located on the south shore off of Spring Street.

Best Time to Fish the Wappinger Creek

The best time to visit Wappinger Creek is from April to June before the water warms too much in the summer. Fall can also be a fruitful time to visit, as that is when the brown trout spawn and get aggressive.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Wappinger Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Wappingers Falls, NY provide a good indication of current conditions.

The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions maybe not be ideal.


  • Streamflow: 653 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 4.65 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Flies for Wappinger Creek

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Wappinger Creek:

  • 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)

Gear Recommendations

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

Wappinger Creek Fishing Report

Not many area fly shops, guides and websites provide a Wappinger Creek fly fishing report.  If you know of any, contact us and we will add them below.

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 Wappinger Creek, your best bet will be to fly into LaGuardia Airport or JFK International Airport and take the scenic car ride to Wappinger Creek. You could also fly into one of the smaller airports nearby, which include Stewart International Airport or Dutchess County Airport.

Clarence Fahnestock State Park in New York is about a half hour drive from your destination. They offer many outdoor activities that are sure to thrill wildlife enthusiasts, including hunting, fishing, boating, and hiking. Sylvan Lake Beach Park and Campground is another excellent option located in Dutchess County. At this secluded site, you’ll be afforded some privacy as you take in the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the many outdoor activities the campground offers. 

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

Feature image by Juliancolton