After an incredibly stormy February seeing our first real thaw is a welcome sight or better a feeling. The snow cover plays a key role in groundwater discharge and we'll want to bank some of that for later this spring. Groundwater flows later in the season help offset some of the impacts that warm, sunny days in late spring can have on the temperature of a trout stream. Still, I'm glad to see it melt.
As usual the trout did very well over the winter and for those hardy souls brave enough to endure the cold, the fishing was often excellent. Thanks to its proximity to the state hatchery, the Pequest is always a hot spot during the winter while on the South Branch, anglers were busy chasing the two large, tagged
Bubba trout. On the Musky at the Point Mountain TCA Trout Unlimited teamed up with Shannon's to stock an additional 350 Rainbow Trout to augment the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Fall Stocking.
Beginning on March 15th, area rivers, lakes and streams under general regulations will be closed for stocking until March 31st and will open at 8am on April 1st for a catch and release season until the main opener on April 10th at 8am. Trout Conservation Areas (TCA's) such as The Ken Lockwood Gorge, Point Mountain and Pequest along with wild trout streams will be open for catch and release fishing.
through this period.
The best fishing this time of year will still be during the warmer parts of the day from late morning through the afternoon. Snow melt can drop a river's temperature quickly at this time of year but with average temps moving into the low forties, the trout should be waking up. Go with standard nymph and midges along with some egg and scud patterns. A few fish may be rising for Early Black Stoneflies later in the day or perhaps some midge pupa in the surface film.
Early Black Stonefly Taeniopteryx nivalis Black Copper John #14-18 Black Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulator #16
Black Caddis Chimarra aterrima Chimarra Larva #16-18 Black Elk Hair #16-18
Early Iron Blue Quill Baetis tricaudatus Adams #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18
Here is Tim's Chimarra video: