March was a long month. It came in like a lion and pretty much went out the same way. There were no catastrophic storms but the weather was cold and the wind was bitter. April began in a much kinder fashion.While TCA's (Trout Conservation Areas) were stocked shortly after the March 17th Closure and Wild Trout Streams remained open, area rivers, streams, ponds and lakes were restocked with approximately 184,000 Rainbow Trout ranging in size from 10-23 inches in length and weighing up to seven pounds. A total of 570,000 Rainbows will be stocked during the Spring Trout Season.
Although the early season is known for its crowds and the success of conventional tackle, fly anglers also scored some impressive tallies both during the closed season in available TCA's and on Opening Day. By the looks of things the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife did a good job raising and stocking their Rainbows. Some impressive fish were talked about today on the South Branch ranging in size from three-five pounds and up to 21" in lenth. Bubba Rainbow also met her end today. She pushed the scales to 10 pounds. The lucky angler, John Hriniak landed the fish on four pound test line. Unfortunately, the 25" fish was bleeding and had to be taken.
So now that the season is underway it is time to think about what's ahead. First, our annual Fly Fishing School on our private waters at the Raritan Inn is filling up. We have a limit of 12 anglers for this event. The cost of the event is $200.00 per person or $375.00 for couples or families. The school will last from 8am until 4pm. The morning will be spent on learning about tackle, entomology and gear along with fly casting instruction from our expert guides. Following a grilled lunch, students will pair off and try their newfound skills on our trout. Please contact teh shop via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (908) 832-5736 for reservations.
The next exciting event will be Califon Spring Trout Fest on Saturday May 4th at Califon Island Park. The annual Kid's Derby will run from 8am until noon and is free to enter but registration is required for prize awards for most fish, largest fish etc. Tim Flagler, freshly returned from Patagonia will be offering a Euronymphing clinic in the morning. The cost of the clinic is $25.00 and registration is encouraged. The shop will be stocking some beautiful Rainbow, Brown, Tiger and Golden Trout. Some of the fish will be tagged and prizes will include lunches from area eateries as well as tackle and gear from some of the most iconic names in our sport who lending a hand in making the event a success including Winston, GLoomis, Korkers, Rio Products, Fishpond and more. Several product representatives will be on hand including James Jindal of Winston Fly Rods, Ken Lagerveld of Korkers and Scott Fly Rods and Steve Spurgeon and Dick Kondak of GLoomis. Trout Unlimited will be on hand offering fly tying demonstrations and a casting obstacle course. There will be a One Fly Contest with prizes for the winner and 2nd and 3rd place. Join us for a great day on the water.
A wide variety of flies have been catching fish. Favorite nymphs right now are the old standby's: Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails and Princes. Sizes range from 12-18. Expect bug life to continue to increase. Attractor patterns and streamers were solid producers today as were competition Tungsten Bead jig flies and midges. More reliable and consistent hatches are on the way but water temps need to climb a few more degrees to offer more reliable action. Quill Gordon and Hendrickson hatches are literally days away now. Guide trips are also booking up fast. Give us a call! Here are some of Tim's most appropriate patterns for the next few days: The Western Coachman and the Leadwing Coachman.