Tonight, I purposefully approached the river with a game plan in mind. The other night I had scouted an area that was holding a decent number of fish but it required a bit of stealth to reach casting distance. Normally, just a few small fish might be found here but with the above average flows we've seen this spring a number of larger fish were still using the slot just a above a riffle. I saw a couple of large Isonychia fly by. This was as John Collins likes to say a "night the fish want the meat." Isonychia bicolor or Slate Drakes are a primary hatch in June and they are large. In our area they are most often a size 12 although a size 10 isn't uncommon. On the larger rivers of the Catskills and across the larger rivers in the range east of of the Mississippi they can be a size 8 although more commonly a #10 is adequate. Tonight one of our stocked Browns came to hand but don't be surprised if a big Rainbow doesn't decide to come for dinner.
As we move towards Father's Day weekend fly fishing for trout on our New Jersey streams and rivers is likely going to see some of the best action in years. First, the weather has remained fairly cool and second, rain has been abundant. As a matter of fact, stream flows on two major rivers the Musconetcong and the Pequest just reached ideal levels last weekend. Both of these rivers had been heavily stocked but since last October have been running high and off color, their trout largely safe from angling pressure. Given the current conditions on those rivers and the South Branch, trout fishing is likely to continue well into the summer barring any major shift in the weather. The reason is groundwater. The region is 9-10 inches of rain in surplus over average precipitation meaning that cooling spring seeps are full and flowing.
Nymphing has continued to be very effective; in fact for numbers of trout landed it's hard to beat. Euro-nymphing was highly effective with tungsten bead jig flies a solution to the rain swollen currents. Indicator nymphing drifting an emerger as the dropper is coming into its own now. I like a Pheasant Tail Flashback, Hare's Ear or Prince as my point fly and for a dropper in the morning I'll use a LaFontaine's Tan Sparkle Pupa or either a RS2 or WD40 trailing 18-20 inches behind the nymph. Caddis and BWO's are hatching in the mornings now. On a sunny day, I'm likely to favor the caddis dropper but on rainy drizzly days the WD40 or RS2 are hard to beat as these are hatching conditions favored by the Blue Wing Olives.
Later in the day, look for Isonychia to appear on the water around 5pm and at dusk look for a Iso spinner fall. It is at this time the Light Cahills also take flight likely joined by the Grey Fox, a smaller, lighter version of the March Brown. Sulphurs appear to be winding down but a number of "Summer Sulphurs" are beginning to make their appearance; keep those Sulphurs in your box just in case.
We are open all weekend with normal hours. Gift certificates are available. With Catskill rivers finally rounding into shape and anglers making preparations for their annual western pilgrimages to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana , it may be time to look at a new rod. Try a Scott Radian 9'5 weight, it is consistently rated as one of the top rods in various reviews including the Yellowstone Shoot Out. While it is a fine rod for New Jersey, it is a great "Big Water" fly rod. The other Scott model that I always recommend is the G-Series. They are simply marvelous to cast and to fish. Don't forget the Winston offer that gives two tickets to a drawing at the end of the year each time you stop by to cast a rod. The contest winner will be able to pick two Winstons of their choice for the grand prize. I like both Scott and Winston and strongly recommend them for both performance and aesthetic appearance made in the USA. The videos this week are all useful Light Cahill patterns.
Local Hatches 6/11/2019:
Morning 9-11 am:
Cream Caddis Psilotreta sp. Tan Elk hair Caddis #18
Midday through Late Afternoon 12 noon - 5pm:
Slate Drake or "Iso" Isonychia bicolor Iso Prachute or Comparadun #12