New Jersey Trout Season officially kicked off last weekend and it is off to a pretty fast start. March held on stubbornly to its cold grumpy self but April is here and that lingering chill seems like a distant memory. The biggest news of this week has been the return of the Hendrickson hatch. It hasn't been a blizzard in too many areas but the mayflies are coming off every afternoon with regularity and most importantly, the trout are feeding on them. Tagging along have been Blue Quills, Quill Gordons and Baetis. The other great April hatch is about to really get underway and that is the Grannom Caddis. Local rivers host abundant hatches and they positively infest the Musconetcong or simply "The Musky". There was an excellent hatch today according to out friend Vinnie. John Kavanaugh tied some outstanding versions of these early season flies and they are available in the shop.
Hendrickson Ephemerella subvaria Light Hendrickson/ Red Quill #12-14, Hare's Ear 12-14, Hendrickson Emerger #14
Quill Gordon Epeorus pleuralis Quill Gordon #12 Hare's Ear Wet #12, Hare's Ear #12
Grannom Brachycentrus numerosus & B. fuliginosus Peacock Elk Hair Caddis #14-16, Henryville Special #14-16, JK's Caddis Pupa #14-16, Cased Caddis #14
Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia adoptiva Blue Quill #16, Blue Dun #16, Adams Parachute #16, Grey RS2 #16, Pheasant tail #16
Baetis species (levitans, etc.) Adams Parachute, BWO, 18-20 Pheasant tail #18-20
These early spring hatches are most likely to occur during the afternoon, anytime after 1pm generally except for the Grannom which will hatch in the late morning and continue during the day. Fish will feed on emergers prior to feeding on the surface. Make sure in the case of both caddis and mayflies to have emerger patterns close at hand. These can be fished behind a nymph or swung wet fly style across and downstream. Both methods are effective. After the hatches are over towards dusk it is time to fish the spinner fall. I prefer the larger Hendrickson and Quill Gordon hatches for this action because I can use a #12-14 Rusty Spinner. I will also use the BPS Spent Caddis later in the month to simulate the spent Grannom.
New anglers are always welcome at Shannon's. We will answer questions to support you in your new venture. We are looking forward to our Spring Fly Fishing School on April 27th. There are a few spots left. The event will be held on our club waters at the Raritan Inn. The cost is $200.00 per person and $375.00 for couples and two person family groups. The morning is spent learning about the gear and the trout living in its aquatic environment. Following a grilled lunch, students will hit the water with our guides.
May 4th is Califon Spring Troutfest at Califon Island Park. A Kid's Derby in the morning from 8am -12 noon will be followed by several fly fishing activities including fly tying demos, a casting course and a One Fly Contest from 12 noon to 4pm. Tim Flagler will present a Euro-nymphing clinic beginning at 8am in the scenic and newly restored Cabin on the River located just downstream from the shop. The cost is $25.00 per person. Our vendors including Winston, Scott, GLoomis, Douglas Outdoors, Ross/ Abel Reels will be also on hand and will be sponsoring various activities in the afternoon. More on this later but it is exciting! Flies this week include a Hendrickson Parachute and a Peacock Caddis.