I've spent the last couple of evenings roaming the South Branch as I am fond of doing looking for rising fish. Of course Friday night was probably the best night with falling water and low humidity but I didn't do much fishing. Rather, I saw folks catching fish in a few places and despite the conditions, I decided to leave them to it. Frankly given the high water this spring, conditions for dry fly fishing haven't always been ideal. The subsurface action has been much more consistent across our region, including the rivers in western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Tthe action has been hot for the nymphing and streamer crowd.
I ran into Tim Flagler tonight of Tightline Productions on the water. As many of you know he is a master of the fly fishing and fly tying video. I don't think anyone in the last ten years has done more for bringing people into fly tying than Tim with his amazing videos. Tonight he was working on his Euro-nymphing and he was catching his share of fish including a beautiful 8" native Brookie. He let me try his new Douglas 11' 4wt Sky rod and I understood immediately why it is such a successful way to catch trout. The rod tracked the leader very effectively and the flies really do get down in a hurry, a fact helped by their tungsten beads. I, of course missed a couple of takes but it was enlightening and a method I will explore more as the year wears on.
Fish are still holding in many areas but as Shannon's guide Gerry Dumont noted: "The trout are starting to seek out shade even in deep pools." They're looking for cover. Anglers have been catching fish on a variety of nymphs. Pheasant tails, Hare's Ear's and Prince nymphs all have their following. Caddis larva and pupa (the emerger phase) along with RS2's and WD40's are catching fish during the day. Tim's Mop N Glo is also catching lots of fish. Caddis and BWO's are dominating the morning hatch activity. There are a lot of Cahills and good numbers of Isonychia along with small Sulphurs in the evening. I took a few Rainbows the last few evenings and missed some other fish. If the weather holds, I am going to try a few spots with some of my favorite nymph and tandem combinations. If it works, I'll let you know how they performed. I'm also on the look out for the Yellow and Golden Drakes. The large Golden Stones are hatching now. If the drakes appear in numbers get ready. Size 10 mayflies in New Jersey? Oh yes, sometimes they're a size 8 and the trout eat them.....
Local Hatches 6/16/2019:
Morning 9-11 am:
Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche spp. Tan Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, Green Rockworm or JC's Electric Caddis #14-18, LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-18
Green Sedge Rhyacophila sp. Elk Hair Caddis Olive #14-16, LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-16
Cream Caddis Psilotreta sp. Tan Elk hair Caddis #18
Midday through Late Afternoon 12 noon - 5pm:
Grey Fox Maccaffertium vicarium Grey Fox #14 Hare's Ear or March Brown Nymph #14
Blue Wing Olive Drunella attenuatta BWO #16-18 Pheasant Tail # 18, RS2 #18, Baetis Emerger #16-18
Baetis species (Tricaudatus, interclaris, levitans, etc.) Adams Parachute, BWO, 18-20, RS2 #18-20 Pheasant tail #18-20
Pink Lady Epeorus vitreus Sulphur #14, Sulphur Emerger #14, Len's Sulphur Nymph or Pheasant Tail #14
Slate Drake or "Iso" Isonychia bicolor Iso Prachute or Comparadun #12
Pale Evening Dun Epherella dorothea Sulphur #16-18, Sulphur Emerger #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18
Light Cahill Stenacron interpunctatum Light Cahill #12-14, Hare's Ear #14
Golden Drake anthopotamous distinctus & A. ruffous Golden Drake #10-12
Yellow Drake Ephemera varia Golden Drake or Sulphur Comparadun #10-12
Large Golden Stonefly Isoperla Sp. Yellow Stimulator #10
Videos: Cream Cahill & the Mop n Glo.