The weather sure has been active lately, two big storms last week saw river levels on the South Branch rise to just under 1000 cfs twice in a matter of days; the second storm even brought a documented EF1 tornado to Madison, a very rare occurrence in New Jersey. A benefit of the high flows has been to spread the fish out a little. The last couple of days also brought us our first cold air of the season, it was 19 degrees this morning although temperatures are forecast to moderate starting on tomorrow, Sunday just in time for the Giants vs. the Jets playing in the basement bowl.
I am proud to say that Michael Peters of the Hacklebarney Chapter of Trout Unlimited won the the trophy in last week's NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year which was held on the property of the Raritan Inn. The event was a benefit for the NJ State Council of Trout Unlimited and its continuing efforts at cold water conservation in conjunction with the ten regional chapters from around the state. Raritan Headwaters and Casting for Recovery also participated.
We are kicking off our free annual fly tying series this coming weekend November 16th and 17th. The Beginner class will be taught by Shannon's own Len Ruggia on Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:00 am and on Sundays, we will have our featured guest tyers including John Collins, John Kavanaugh, Matt Grobert and others to be announced. On Sunday November 17, Bill Ninke will be our first Featured Tyer in our Intermediate/Advanced sessions, also from 9:30-11:00 am. He will teach three flies, not spinners, in which a “spinner-like” wing of synthetic fibers is an integral part. (Little Green Machine, Missing Link, and BWO Nymph). Congratulations to Bill for his recent achievement. Last December the British magazine, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, sponsored a tying contest open to tiers from around the world. Bill placed fifth overall and was the top US entrant.
Since the state began stocking larger fish in the fall, egg patterns have been one of the most popular patterns and this year is certainly no exception. The cooler weather means a late fall pattern is starting to set up. Look for midge patterns like Zebra Midges and Rainbow warriors to be very productive. A good way to do that is to fish them behind an egg or spawn pattern. Controlling drifts and maintaining depth during presentation is also important. Many anglers have turned to longer rods to accomplish these tasks more consistently. It is during this season and through the winter that the 10' 4 weight fly rod really comes into its own. Some anglers will go to the 10' or 11' 3 weight for most anglers, I think the 10' 4 weight is the best choice. These rods can be fished using either the indicator "High Stick" method or the tight line European style.
Here are a couple of relevant patterns from Tim Flagler, the Rainbow Warrior and the Copper Zebra Midge.