The first post of 2019 brings some angling news. Anglers have been braving the cold and higher than average flows so far this winter and catches have been pretty decent thanks to the catch and release regulations in the Gorge and Shannon's Bubba Stocking. James Risi of Bridgewater, New Jersey stopped by with the jaw tag from our Bubba Brown. He caught the fish on the River Road section of the South Branch yesterday afternoon on a swimming minnow plug. He said that Bubba Brown chased the lure repeatedly before finally being hooked. She put up quite a fight before being landed. James gently removed the jaw tag and released Bubba unharmed to fight another day. Well done James! The reward for his angling skill and conservation ethic was a 9' 4weight Douglas DXF fly rod that he picked out himself. James is recovering from shoulder surgery and was unable to fly fish but he's very excited to get back on the water with the long rod come spring.
As mentioned, fishing has been pretty solid as temperatures for this time of year haven't too cold. This week we expect a very chilly start after our latest winter storm but expect temps to moderate as we move later in the week. Trout have been caught on a variety of flies depending on the day. Midges are still a good bet as are egg patterns. Streamer patterns have also been effective and we now have a supply of JC's Sculpins in the shop for those who want to give the trout a decent meal. John Heaney sampled stomachs this week and found a lot of caddis larva. The colors were Olive and Green. When practicing catch and release this time of year, remember that a trout's gills are sensitive to the cold air. Try not to remove the fish from the water. Gently unhook the fish and leave them in the water. A good net really helps with this process. These fish are going to be the memorable hold over trout later this spring, take care of your resource and it will return the favor!
We will be open next weekend which is the Fly Fishing Show in Edison. So after the show stop on by the shop. Sparse Grey Matter Flyfest will be Sunday February 24th at the Califon Fire House from 10am until 4pm. The event is free and open to the public. We will have a small auction which helps us pay for the room. Tyers from around the region will be showing off their skills. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available and the proceeds will benefit the Califon Fire Department. Saturday and Sunday morning fly tying will continue. Len Ruggia leads the Beginner Class on Saturday mornings at 9:30 am. Tools can be provided to newcomers. Sunday mornings will continue to see guest tyers from around our area. Upcoming tyers include John Collins, John Kavanaugh, Bob Atticks, Bart Lombardo and Matt Grobert.
Our annual Hot Stove Presentations will be coming soon so check the website as I am finalizing this year's schedule. The events are an evening presentation series running in February and Early March. Matt Grobert, myself, John Collins and Tim Flagler run a series of four presentations on hatch identification and more effective fly fishing tactics. A catered dinner and a return fishing session is included on our club waters, Shannon's Private Waters in the spring. Price for each event will be $75.00 for non members and $30.00 for members. Typically the events run from 6pm to 9pm.