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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report February 9th- February 16th 2017

Updated 2/09/2017-JH



Shannon's 2016-2017 Winter Stocking Effort & River News . . .

Shannon's River Update: River levels are slowly recovering through the winter. We finally are seeing some snow just as the first stoneflies of the year begin to hatch. Most of the action has been on small nymphs and midges as you might expect. At times of higher flows, egg and sucker spawn patterns have been effective. Now as we move into February there will be a few changes. While midge fishing will continue to be productive the larva of the Chimarra or Early Black Caddis will begin to be active anytime after mid-February. John Collins spotted his first Hendrickson nymph and it was a little larger than would be normal for this time of year due to the above average temperatures this winter. Does that bode for an early Hendrickson hatch? Too soon to tell, but downsizing those nymphs to imitate the size they are right now is a strategy long advocated by Matt Grobert.

Stoneflies have also begun to appear on area rivers and streams this last week or so. These early emerging stones won't be too prolific yet; there will still be many more midges and scuds in the water but spring is right around the corner now. On warm days they may hatch in better numbers. 

Copnsistent fishing in the Gorge and Point Mountain TCA's continues. The Pequest TCA has been fishing well too with some large 5+ pound Rainbows being reported by the regulars. Fly selection is still in winter mode, small nymphs size 16-20 followed by a midge or egg pattern is one way to go but you may want to mix some late winter patterns in now. Add a Chimarra Caddis Larva or a Grey Scud or perhaps a Black Stonefly or Copper John to the mix. Streamers are also taking fish as well. Fishing has actually been pretty good at times but you have to find the fish, big bruiser Rainbows in the 14-22" class. Certain sections of the South Branch and Musky are also seeing some decent action on post spawn wild Brown Trout. Holdover Rainbows have been partial to egg patterns and midges along with streamers and emergers.  


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.     

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General Hatches, Fly Recommendations and Tips . . .

Hatch Update: Midges are the active insects on the water now.

During the day: Fish tandem rigs to improve your nymphing 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 #14-22 with or without a bead.

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

  • 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: 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 . . . 


Updated 2/09/2017

Note: Some hatches overlap time periods

MORNING (6am-10am)


ALL DAY 10am-5pm

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



Early Black, Early Brown Stonefly Taniopteryx nivalis and fasciata Stonefly Nymph size 16-20



WD40 or RS2 in Grey, Black, Brown (especially on the Pequest) or BWO #16-22 seems to work everywhere as it matches any number of small Baetis, Paraleptophlebia and midges.
















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