First of all Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you and I hope that everyone is healthy and safe. The COVID-19 virus outbreak has the world turned upside down. I can report that we are fine over here at the shop and plan to be open. We aren't open late and never have fifty people in the shop. People need to have something to do if at all possible. State and county parks are to remain open during the crisis and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife have begun to stock early. Trout Conservation Areas have been or are being stocked along with some sections of major trout rivers including the Pequest, South Branch of the Raritan and the Musconetcong. The Pequest TCA and the Ken Lockwood Gorge TCA received their first fish of the year this week. Anglers should be reminded that there are limits in place. Four Rainbow Trout per day over 9" is the standard regulation on most waters. The Upper South Branch north of Lake Solitude Dam is a Brown Trout Conservation Water so only two Browns 12' or better may be kept and NO Brook Trout can be caught and kept in the Brook Trout Conservation Zone North and west of Rt 287 and Rt 78.
Water levels could use a little bump and we are expecting some better rain tomorrow night into the morning. The weekend forecast looks favorable. Freshly stocked fish like flash and a little movement. There are plenty of Early Black Stoneflies in the water along with Baetis, Blue Quill, Quill Gordon and Hendrickson nymphs according to Matt Grobert who did a wee little bit of stream seining on Sunday. That means break out the Hare's Ear and Pheasant Tail patterns as well as anything that might imitate a stone fly nymph. Dry fly action has been limited to a few egg laying stones and midges but that could change soon. Meanwhile start fishing emerger patterns as the trailing fly in your tandem rigs- RS2's, Glass Bead Zebra Midges, WD40 and WD Emergers are catching fish right now. Here's Tim's latest video the Hatching Pupa: