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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report August 22nd-August 27th 2014
Shannon's Fall Stocking Effort . . . & Dry Fly Fishing is here!
We are waiting for the final word on the fall stocking. If it does happen, the fish are likely to be small 6-9" Rainbows. Shannon's will once again gear up our stocking effort and make sure some more trout find their way into the South Branch. The money we raise the more trout we can stock and they will be nice size fish too.
Area streams received some nice rain over the last few days. Look for clearing conditions and solid fishing for the next several days with no issues regarding stream temps. Trout continue to be active keying primarily on small offerings although large streamers and terrestrials may be good options under the proper conditions.
Always carry a stream thermometer with you at this time of year and stop fishing when the temps reach 70 degrees. Night fishing with zonkers and buggers has been productive. Don't go with light tippets here. I will fish 4X routinely and I prefer fluorocarbon because I like the abrasion resistance. A big trout will drag the leader through rocks and logs. By this time of year, they know how to fight. Fish spinners first such as a Light Cahill then switch to streamers once the insect activity dwindles. Fishing nymphs at night works too due to the habit of various aquatic insects' tendency to relocate at night a behavior known as nocturnal drift. Still, streamers are more fun. Still there are plenty of days to get out and fish. Bass and other warm water species such as carp and panfish are also good targets.
Look for smaller offerings to tempt the trout. Tricos are on the menu in the morning. These small size 20-24 mayflies hatch at night but it is the early morning spinner fall that gets the trout's attention. Some of the eastern PA limestone streams have excellent hatches. They are also present in our streams just get there early. Small BWO spinners are on the water at dusk along with a variety of egg laying caddis. Finally, don't neglect those ant and beetle patterns.
Tricos and summer Blue Quills continue to be the best bet in the early morning. Look for Caddis and BWO's to mix in as the morning moves on from 8am-11:00am. Cahills and Isonychia should become more prolific now through September.
This is a most unusual year for all of us who fish the upper South Branch. There has been an outbreak of Furunculosis at the Pequest hatchery that has forced the state to destroy a large number of trout. This major loss of fish will impact area streams. Some won't be stocked while others saw trout stocking curtailed. The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife is doing everything they can to correct this issue. There will be no state stocking of the Upper South Branch from Lake Solitude dam upstream, including the Ken Lockwood Gorge. This will substantially reduce trout numbers available for the Spring Season. More information on the subject can be found on the Division's website: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/news/2014/troutmtg14.htm
Shannon's has spearheaded an effort to organize a series of stockings on the South Branch. We have an annual stocking budget but it will be nigh on impossible to stock 9000 fish. We will do what we can and with your help, we will enjoy yet another great season on our favorite river, the South Branch.
To date we have stocked over 2500 trout from Long Valley through the Ken Lockwood Gorge TCA (Trout Conservation Area). All of our trout are purchased from Vern and Jeff Mancini at The Musky Hatchery in Asbury, NJ and are certified disease free. Thank you to all of our donors who have contributed so generously. Also, we are grateful for the support and assistance of Affinity Federal Credit Union in supporting our effort.
Please help us keep up the efforts, and click the "donate" button. Every little bit helps!
General Hatches, Fly Recommendations and Tips . . .
Hatch Update: Tricos in the early morning folloed by Caddis and BWO's with a few Little Evening Yellow, Isonychia and Light Cahill appearing at or just before dark. Be prepared to fish LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa and a variety of wets and soft hackles such as Leadwing Coachman, Partridge and Olive and Hare's Ear Soft Hackle. Try a Grey RS2 size 18-20 for the Baetis. Don't leave the water too early as the Sulphurs are hatching right around dark. Also, this is the time of year to fish spinners at dusk whether a Sulphur, Iso, Light Cahill or Rusty Spinner #12-18. I often end my night with an Olive Woolly Bugger #10-12.
the day: Fish
tandem rigs to improve your nymphing success. Fish
nymphs and emergers a couple of hours before a hatch. Late summer
hatches tend to concentrate towards dawn and dusk. Be advised that it
is a good idea to start fishing to a hatch a couple of hours before
the duns actually hit the water. Trail a Sulphur Emerger #18,
Chill or Iso Emerger #14 or RS2 #16-20, Midge pattern #18-20, #18-20 Pheasant Tail
or #16-18 Scud behind a Hare's Ear or Prince Nymph size 14-18. I always
prefer to fish the larger fly first. It is also a good idea to
balance your tandems by keeping them within a couple of hook sizes
of each other. Other good
choices include the Hare's Ear Soft Hackle or Tan or Grey Scud
size 16-18 about 18-22 inches apart and hold on! 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
Buggers, Grey Ghost, Black Nose Dace,
and Zonkers if the water is off color. Work them slowly!
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 . . .
Note: Some hatches overlap time periods
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