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New Jersey Fly Fishing Report October 25th- October 31st 2014

Updated 10/25/2014-JH


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

The division of Fish and Wildlife stocked major rivers with small 7-9 inch Rainbows. These fish are available along with many holdover trout. Water conditions have been slowly improving but we all would like to see a little more in the way of flows. Temperatures are ideal for trout and I have begun to see some spawning activity by the Rainbows which means the Brookies and Browns won't be far behind. This means that we are moving into egg season. Small egg and sucker spawn patterns will be very successful.

Shannon's Fall Stocking Update: Shannon's is once again gearing 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. At this point (10/25/2014), we are simply waiting for a little more rain to raise levels to give the new trout the best chance for survival. We plan on stocking Califon and the Gorge.

Harvey's Beach Update: So far the water is still a little warm. A few stripers have been around but the blues have been in the suds. Lots of 3-5 pound blues on the plug and the fly this week. Look for conditions to change after the storm this week. Updates as they develop.

We have also begun to sell tickets for the NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year on our online store. It is an event sponsored by Shannon's, The Raritan Inn and the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited. Participating TU chapters and watershed organizations nominate a competing angler to match their skills against some of the South Branch's toughest trout. The event is followed by a banquet and auction to benefit the state council's cold water conservation work in New Jersey. Tickets are limited and are $65.00 per person. Brian Cowden will be our featured speaker this year and he will discuss the present and future state of stream restoration in New jersey.    

Fish runs and pools with small flies. Caddis and olives have been abundant this month and the activity will continue until the first hard frosts begin to really chill things down. Size 16-18 Tan or Grey Elk Hair Caddis will draw the fish to the surface along with size 18-22 BWO's.. Trail a midge or a sparkle pupa behind the dry is fish are suspended in the deeper pools. Night fishing remains productive. 

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 followed by Caddis and BWO's with a few Little Evening Yellow, Isonychia, Dun Midge 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. 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 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 10/25/2014

Note: Some hatches overlap time periods

MORNING (6am-11am)

 Trico Tricorythodes sp. Trico 20-24

ALL DAY 10am-5pm


Dot Wing Sedge Sedge Neophylax sp. Elk Hair Caddis Tan #16-18

Longhorned Sedge Ocetis sp. Elk Hair Caddis Tan or Grey #14-16

Blue Winged Olives Baetis sp. BWO #20-22




RS2 in Grey, Black, 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 should be small for the most part: Pheasant Tails, Hare's Ear and Prince patterns #14-18, scuds, midge patterns such as Kaleidoscope Midge, Zebra Midge,  Rainbow Warrior and Fat Lady Midge, Caddis Larva and pupa.  





Dark Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia debilis Blue Quill, Adams, Pale Evening Dun #18-20 





This time of year, look for terrestrials to be around the water all day: Hoppers, ants and beetles.






Little Graywing Olive Baetis levitans BWO #20-22




Fish Rusty Spinners #18-20 for mayfly spinners and any spent caddis pattern for the egg laying caddis after 5pm. Note: We have been seeing nice numbers of the egg laying caddis after 4pm.  


Shannon's would like to thank the following companies for sponsoring our events. 



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