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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report July 20th-July 27th 2014

Updated 7/20/2014-JH


Shannon's Stocking Effort . . . & Dry Fly Fishing is here!

Flows remain at decent levels for the summer. Just have to watch temperatures. We should see a warming trend followed by some storms and then a cool off by Thursday this week. Conditions are pretty good for late July. Golden Drakes have started to hatch in the evenings. They prefer deep slow pools so if conditions allow, try a big Sulphur pattern at or just after dark. 

Always carry a stream thermometer with you at this time of year and stop fishing when the temps reach 70 degrees. This is also the time of year I like to go night fishing. 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 will be sporadic but will reappear in better numbers by mid August. 

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.

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.

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 Sulphur Emerger #14-18 or 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 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. 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.

  • Lenny's Squirrel Belly Sulphur Nymph #14-18

  • 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

  • Sulphur Emergers in sizes 12-18

  • Hare's Soft Hackle #14-16 for Caddis Emerger

  • 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, # 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 7/20/2014

Note: Some hatches overlap time periods

MORNING (6am-11am)

 Trico Tricorythodes sp. Trico 20-24

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)

Nymphs such as Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ear and Prince patterns #12-18, scuds, midge patterns such as Chimarra Caddis Larva, Zebra Midge, Pumpkin Head or Hot Bead Midge, Rainbow Warrior and Fat Lady Midge, Caddis Larva and pupa,  


American Iron Blue Quill paraleptophlebia mollis Adams, Blue Quill #16-20


Little Dark Hendrickson Ephemerella deficiens Pheasant Tail Parachute #16-18


Blue Winged Olive Drunella attenuatta, etc BWO #16-18 





Slate Drake Isonychia Bicolor Iso Parachute #12


Dark Graywing Olive Baetis cingulatus Blue Wing Olive (BWO) #16-18


Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche sp. Elk Hair Caddis Tan #14-16


Green Sedge Rhyacophilia lobifera (Caddis) Henryville Special #14-16 


Little Sister Sedge Cheumatopsyche spp. Olive Elk Hair Caddis #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.




Little Graywing Olive Baetis levitans BWO #20-22


Golden and Little Golden Stonefly Isoperla and Acroneuria spp. Yellow Stimulator #10-16


Little Evening Yellow Leucrocuta hebe Sulphur #16-18


Light Cahill Stenacron ithaca, interpunctatum, canadense, etc Light Cahill #12-14


Golden Drake Anthopotamous distinctus Sulphur #12



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



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