People took some time this week to enjoy our holiday Bubba Stocking and it was nice to see some new faces mixed with the familiar characters that make Shannon's what it is. Water has been high and that is the story for much of the year especially since July. Midges like the standard Zebra Midge or some of the shop's creations such as Lenny's Hot Bead Midge have been solid producers when trailed behind a heavier weighted nymph. Dave McKenna who is still affiliated with Douglas Outdoors is launching his own fly company called Guide Flies. He's tying some really beautiful and productive flies and he will our featured tyer this Sunday, December 30th. Classes start at 9:30 am. Wayne Sadowski did well with Prince nymphs and a San Juan Worm trailing yesterday. Fish were evenly distributed between the two patterns. John Collins is working on our sculpin order as streamer fishing continues to be a good option in the high flows. One of the keys here is to try a sinking leader or if fishing a Bead-head Woolly Bugger for example, on a standard leader to not try and cast all over the stream. The fast currents are likely to lift the fly to quickly out of the strike zone. I look for softer seams nearer the faster current. Also it is important to know how to mend the fly line. A good upstream mend or two will really help to sink the fly down. In normal flows, I'll cast and slightly downstream but in these higher flows, I will cast across and up at about a 45 degree angle to help begin the sinking process. When the line begins to pass me, I'll start my retrieve. As far as tippet goes, I'm using at least 4X usually 3X, the fish are stronger in these currents now.
Looking back on 2018, July good rains which helped the trout hold over but water temperatures remained high due to the humid conditions. Pennsylvania Spring Creeks offered some nice Trico hatches but even they began to warm up. My remedy for this situation was to hit the ponds for some good top water popper action. Largemouth Bass and nice sized Bluegills were my steady quarry until the middle of September. In October, the trout fishing returned but by then the heavier rains were also common place. In a five-six week period, we saw four major 2000 cfs flood events on the South Branch. The Musky was running high thanks to water running out of Lake Hopatcong for seasonal dock repairs. I saw some decent fall Caddis hatches and some Isonychia as well. All told, I liked 2018 because we really needed the rain. Four years of low water and made conditions tough for wild trout and it is my hope that we will have a good spawning class this year. I am also hopeful that the insect activity will continue to improve given the better conditions. There shouldn't be much likelihood of anchor ice this winter which really can impact macro-invertebrate populations. Fingers crossed, I am looking forward to 2019!