The winter weather has been stubbornly persistent but it seems we may finally be getting a much deserved change in conditions. The forecast is for a return to more normal temperatures this weekend with a bit of rain or wet snow overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. Another positive development is that for the first time since October of last year, we will have perfect conditions not only on the South Branch but also on the Musky and the Pequest as well. The fish are in very good shape and I expect anglers will be out giving them a try. There are plenty of Rainbows left over from the fall stockings and many of these fish are in the 15-18" class. Stoneflies are hatching more regularly now as well and the fish are feeding on them based on stomach samples. Midges, Eggs and streamers continue to produce but don't be afraid to trail either a Grey RS2, Black Soft Hackle or WD40 as a trailing fly. All have seen success this past week to ten days.
We've been searching for a replacement hook for the now unavailable Dai Rikki hooks we've carried for years and it seems that Umpqua fits the bill. The hooks are excellent, come in 50 packs and are reasonably priced from $6.95. We are really looking forward to offering our customers a number of products from this great company and we believe they will compliment our other lines as well. We've also received our shipment of Bauer, Ross and Abel reels this week including the new Ross Animas along with some beautiful Winston and Scott fly rods. Last weekend I cast both the 8'6" 4 weight Winston Nimbus and the 8'8" 4 weight Scott G Series. Both had me dreaming of warmer weather! People looking for a great value should check out our new St Croix Mojo or Imperial fly rods and Fenwick Aetos rods. All are fine casting rods and a great value for both experienced or beginning anglers and are affordable and fully warranteed.
We are putting together our list of Spring Events and we are proud to announce our annual Fly Fishing School to be held at the Raritan Inn on Saturday April 27th. The school will cover many areas of fly fishing including the tackle, reading the water, fly selection and of course, casting. Following a grilled lunch, students will head to our Shannon's Private Waters to put their newfound knowledge to use with our outstanding guides. The class runs from 8am until 4pm and the cost is $200.00 per person or $375.00 for a couple or parent and child. If required equipment is available. The class is limited to 12 students to provide the greatest level of instruction by our staff.
Saturday May 4th is our Annual Califon Spring Trout Fest. The event is centered at Califon Island Park on Bank Street and along River Road below the Main Street or Route 512 Bridge in Califon day. It begins with a traditional Kid's Fishing Derby. The event is free and open to anglers under the age of 17 and runs from 8am until 12 noon. Beginning at 10 am, we will have vendors and local groups on hand including Raritan Headwaters, Winston Fly Rods, Scott Fly Rods, GLoomis Fly Rods and more to come., Local Trout Unlimited chapters are assisting with a number of activities including a One Fly Contest, Fly Tying and a Casting Course. Prizes will be awarded for all of these events and a number of trout stocked in the derby will be jaw tagged sponsored by local businesses and our vendors with additional prizes. George Daniel author of Dynamic Nymphing will be on hand to meet attendees and conduct a nymph clinic. The cost of the nymphing clinic with George is $150.00 per person and space is limited. Tim Flagler has been very busy during the winter tying at shows across the country. He will present a casting demonstration for those interested in one of the newest trends in our sport: light spey and switch rod fishing for trout. I will continue to make details available as we continue to develop this exciting event.