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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report March 16th-March 23rd

Updated 3/16/18 - JH

Bubba is back:



Shannon's 2018 River News . . .

Trout stocked waters close Sunday night. They will reopen Saturday, April 7th at 8am. Trout Conservation Areas such as the Ken Lockwood Gorge, Pequest and Point Mountain will be open to catch and release fishing during the preseason closed period. Wild trout streams are likewise open and all fish must be caught on non-scented artificial flies or lures only and released. We've had some late winter weather in our area. Watch out for any tree limbs or leaning trees if you head out. The water is running high and clear but cold. Stoneflies and Early Black Caddis (Chimarra atterrima) larva are catching fish along with streamers and midges. Look for the first Baetis (BWO's) to begin hatching on the next warming cycle.

 Stop by to pick up your new license and maybe a pair of fishing gloves or see some new gear like the new Scott G series or T&T Avant fly rods, Ross reels or Fishpond. Our Douglas and Galvan inventories are full. Stock up on fly tying materials, it's just that time until this weather thaws a bit.

The Bubba Contest is back. Over 400 Rainbows and Brown Trout between 12-21 inches were stocked along with two large tagged "Bubbas", a Brown and a Rainbow. This is a catch and release contest. Catch one of the tagged Bubba trout, remove the jaw tag and release the fish to win a new fly rod or equivalent prize worth $350.00. Midge hatches will continue all winter but mayflies and caddis are done until spring except for a few BWO's on spring creeks. It is a good idea to downsize your fly selection now. Fish size 16 and smaller as the bugs you are imitating are either midges or immature nymphs and caddis larva. Stoneflies will be our first hatch beginning in late January most years. Wild fish have spawned so leave those stretches alone while the eggs incubate in the gravel redds. Concentrate on the larger rivers that were recently stocked. Midge, spawn and streamer patterns are the most successful. Also, move around to find fish. 

General Hatches, Fly Recommendations and Tips . . .

Nymphing during the day: Fish tandem rigs to improve your success. Fish nymphs and emergers or midges in tandem. I always prefer to fish the larger fly first, but to each their own. The easiest way is to tie the first fly on as usual then attach the second by using a  clinch knot tied to the bend of the first fly. Space the flies about twenty inches apart. It is also a good idea to balance your tandems by keeping them within a couple of hook sizes of each other. Use enough weight to keep the flies just off the bottom drifting slowly. Drag free drifts are a must now. Keep as little fly line on the water as possible and pay attention! Strikes may be subtle or fierce. If using a strike indicator, place it one and a half to twice the depth of the water you are fishing from the first fly. Any additional weight should be about six to eight inches from the first fly.   Streamers: Muddler Minnows, Woolly Buggers, Grey Ghost, Black Nose Dace, and Zonkers if the water is off color. 

  • Hare’s Ear nymph standard and beadhead #14-18.

  • Pheasant Tails #16-22 with or without a bead.

  • Trail a RS2 or WD40 #16-22 Grey, Brown or BWO to imitate those small Baetis nymphs so common now.

  • Rainbow Warrior #18-20 Another great midge larva pattern

  • Prince Nymph/ Zug Bug (Beadhead, Poxy Back, Standard) Great for  stoneflies.

  • Egg or Sucker Spawn patterns #16-18

  • Scuds and Sow bugs: Olive, Grey or Tan, #16-18

  • Caddis Larva: Olive, Green or Chartreuse is a must right now #14-18.

  • Midge Larva: Disco midges in Green, Red, or Black size 18-22

  • Woolly Buggers: Black, Olive and Brown #10-14 Conehead Muddler Minnows work too.

Note: I use larger nymphs and bead-heads when the water is higher and less weight when water drops. On the South Branch, use the heavier flies when the stream flow exceeds about 175-185 cfs. 


Current Local Hatch Chart . . . 

Lemon Cahill    March Brown  

Updated 2/26/2018


MORNING (6am-10am)

Note: Some hatches overlap time periods



ALL DAY 10am-5pm


Midges may be hatching. Try a small Adams or BWO Parachute #18-22

Early Black Stonefly #16-18

Early Brown Stonefly #16-18

Early Black Caddis Chimarra atterrima Chimarra Larva #16-18










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