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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report April 15th-April 21st 2014

Updated 4/15/2014-JH


Shannon's Stocking Effort . . .

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:

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.

Update 4/16/2014:

We stocked the Gorge with almost 600 Rainbows and Browns from 11 to 17 inches on Monday, April 14th. Califon and Long Valley were stocked this week too with another 180 trout in Long Valley and 400 in Califon. We need to keep the donations going to up the numbers and sizes of the fish. We anticipate three more stockings. 

Please help us keep up the efforts, and click the "donate" button. Every little bit helps!



General Hatches, Fly Recommendations and Tips . . .


During the day: Fish tandem rigs to improve your nymphing success. Fish nymphs and emergers a couple of hours before a hatch. Early spring hatches tend to concentrate in the afternoon so 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 Hendrickson Emerger #14 or Hare's Ear Wet #12, RS2 #16-20, Midge pattern #18-20, #18-20 Pheasant Tail or #14-18 Scud behind a Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear or Prince Nymph size 12-18. 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! Egg patterns can be fished in tandem with midge larva as well. 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. 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. Work them slowly!

  • Hare’s Ear nymph standard and beadhead #12-18. Try the Olive Hare's Ear #16-18 as a Baetis nymph too.

  • Pheasant Tail Nymph size 12-18, these will imitate many mayfly and Baetis species becoming active right now.

  • RS2 #16-22 Grey, Brown or BWO

  • Hendrickson Emergers in sizes 12-14

  • Hare's Ear Wet Fly for the Quill Gordon Emerger size 12

  • Rainbow Warrior #18 Another great midge larva pattern

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

  • Scuds and Sow bugs: Grey or Tan, # 14-18

  • 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 . . .


Updated 4/15/2014

Note: Some hatches overlap time periods

MORNING (6am-11am)

 At this time of year, fishing is often more productive later. Give the water a chance to warm up and the trout will respond. Fish nymphs like the Prince, Caddis Larva, Rainbow Warriors, Copper John, Hare's Ear and Pheasant Tail Flashback. 

ALL DAY 10am-5pm



RS2 in Grey, Brown (especially on the Pequest) or BWO #16-22 seems to work everywhere as it matches any number of small midge and mayfly emergers (Baetis)

Egg patterns, scuds, midge patterns such as Chimarra Caddis Larva, Zebra Midge, Pumpkin Head or Hot Bead Midge, Rainbow Warrior and Fat Lady Midge, Caddis Larva, Copper Johns and Brassies 



Hendrickson Ephemerella subvaria Light Hendrickson #12-14, Red Quill #14


Quill Gordon Epeorus Pluralis Quill Gordon #12 Adams #12


Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia adoptiva Blue Quill #16-18


Iron Blue Quill Baetis tricaudatus Blue Quill, Adams, Blue Dun #16-18


Grannom Brachycentrus numerosus Peacock Elk Hair Caddis #14-18


Early Black Caddis Chimarra aterimma Black Elk Hair Caddis #16-18 


Early Black Stonefly Taeniopteryx nivalis Black Copper John #14-18



Grey, Cream or black midges maybe on the surface size 18-26 Use a Griffith's Gnat, BWO, Blue Dun or Adams Parachute #18-22.



Fish Rusty Spinners #12-18 for mayfly spinners and any spent caddis pattern for the egg laying caddis after 5pm.



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