Well, it's July and that usually means some of the hottest weather of the year. This certainly has been true of the last two weeks or so. Several of my smarter friends like Tim Flagler and Matt Grobert either headed to, or are heading to Montana or points north. There, trout season is in full swing. Alaska's salmon runs should also be busting open. Along the east coast of Canada, anglers have shared our summer heat. Hopefully, this week will bring a bit of rain and cooler temps to parts of Gaspe and New Brunswick triggering the activity of the Atlantic Salmon run. Closer to home, the PA limestone streams have been fishing well as has the West Branch of the Delaware, where the sulphur hatch has been reliably consistent in the afternoon.
As is typical, local streams have warmed up due to the increased daytime temps and humidity preventing rivers from cooling overnight. The temps weren't lethal for trout on the prime rivers here in western New Jersey and dissolved oxygen levels remain high, the trout were taking a break. Yesterday's rains combined with a number of cooler evenings this week will re-energize the trout over the next several days. I would look for some decent activity in the morning followed by a lull in the middle of the day and then activity at dusk; with trout most likely targeting Light Cahills and summer Baetis spinners. I wouldn't hesitate to try terrestrial patterns such as Beetles, Black Ants or Hopper patterns either. Tricos are usually a mainstay summer hatch but the hatch has been sparse across the region this year. Still, it is a morning event and it may be wise to have a few small #22 Trico spinners in your fly box.
I've been passing the time on some of our local ponds and the Largemouth Bass and panfish have been keeping me busy. I hooked what was probably the largest bass I've ever had on the fly only to lose it as it dove into some weeds. It was a nice fish and tested the 6 wt rod and 3X tippet before spitting the #6 Chartreuse Frog Popper. Another species to target are Smallmouth Bass in our local rivers. On the South Branch, the best action is from Clinton south to Flemington. Basic poppers or Woolly Buggers are all that is required and the action is fast. This is a nice option for new anglers to fly fishing as many of the same areas that are currently producing smallies will be areas stocked by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife in the fall with the large two and three year old Rainbows.
Local Hatches 7/23/2019:
Morning 5-10 am:
Trico Trorythodes spp. Trico #22-24
Summer Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia mollis Adams or Blue Quill #18-20 Use small #18-20 Pheasant Tails!
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
Blue Wing Olive Drunella cornutella BWO #18-20 Pheasant Tail # 18, RS2 #18-20, Baetis Emerger #18
Light Cahill Stenacron interpunctatum Light Cahill #12-14, Hare's Ear #14
Golden Drake anthopotamous distinctus & A. ruffous Golden Drake #10-12
Sulphur Stenonema rubrum Sulphur #12
Yellow Drake Ephemera varia Golden Drake or Sulphur Comparadun #10-12
Little Golden Stonefly Isoperla Sp. Yellow Stimulator #16
The videos this week are a western dry fly, Tim's take on the Purple Haze and a nice pattern, the Gurgler which can be used for both warmwater or saltwater species.