The Black River Journal June - July 2005

June and July offer some fine fly fishing especially in the morning and again in the evening. Ken Lockwood Gorge on the South Branch of the Raritan River is one of my favorite places to fish but the entire river is productive from Bartley down to Califon and then on through High Bridge to Clinton. Mayfly species hatch abundantly in June and into July. Sulphurs and March Browns along with sporadic Eastern Brown Quill start off the month of June. During some years of low flow, it is better to give the trout a rest by July 4th weekend but usually the fishing is still productive. The main key is deciding when to fish and also to check the water temperature, below seventy degrees and youíre in business. I love fishing after thunderstorms in the summer. Look for Tricos in the Gorge. The spinner falls occur early in the mornings at the head of riffle areas. Small Tan Caddis are also abundant in sizes 18-22. As the day progresses and especially on cloudy days, look for small Blue Wing Olives in sizes 16-24. Usually in the morning, I fish a nymph tandem of two flies, a larger Cream Hareís Ear size 10-12 (that imitates the large Golden and Yellow Drakes that hatch toward evening) and a smaller Olive Hareís Ear, size 14-18 that imitates a number of important hatches generally associated with Blue Wing Olive activity. Pheasant Tail nymphs and Prince or Zug Bug nymphs are also very productive as well.

As the evening approaches, the Summer Sulphurs are often active. These flies including Epeorus Vitreus and Ephemerella Varia will also be found with the various species known as Light Cahillís. Fish a Light Cahill in sizes 10-14 for these species. June is prime time for the Isonychia or Slate Drake as itís known in Pennsylvania. This species often crawls out of the water to hatch so fish the stream banks and hold on! Generally, the Light Cahill activity peaks in June along with the Isonychia and then tapers off in July. Large Hexagenia mayflies will be seen high above the water in the summer as well. Dry, cool evenings are best as the mayflies donít like humidity. Terrestrials, such as ants and beetles pick up the slack as July days lengthen. See you on the stream.-JH

The Highlands Region of Northern and Western New Jersey is blessed with an abundance of waters suitable for fly fishing. In this article, the focus will be on my home stream, the South Branch of the Raritan River. In future articles I hope to branch out onto other waters and break down the major rivers of the area. The South Branch begins as the outflow of Budd Lake in Morris County and then flows down River Road into Bartley and then into Long Valley. Flanked by Schooleyís Mountain on its western side and preserved farmland on the east, it then makes a turn and flows down through Califon into the scenic Ken Lockwood Gorge, a 2.5 mile Trout Conservation Area (TCA). A second TCA known as the Claremont Stretch flows for 1.1 miles just upstream from Long Valley. The river is well stocked by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and closely monitored by conservation organizations including Trout Unlimited and the South Branch Watershed Association. If you want to catch native Brook Trout and Wild Browns, then this river is a great place to try.


Fly of the Month: Dun Variant (Art Flick)

Wings: none

Body: Red Quill

Hackle: Natural Dark Dun

Tail: Dun Barb

Hook: Mustad 94845 #10-12

Thread: Olive

Source: New Streamside Guide by Art Flick


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