As we all know, New Jersey is being affected by the COVID-19 virus. More cases are cropping up everyday. To stem the spread of the virus this past weekend, all non-essential businesses were asked to close effective at 9pm Saturday evening. I understand the need for a closure but don't like being called non-essential. How many of us are better people for being able to stand out in the river waving a stick to quote John Gierach? Quite a few I'd wager. Isn't the grumpy old fly fisherman the poster child for social distancing? This is a fishing report, I'm not going into a rant and I do believe the threat of COVID-19 is real. So what can you and those of here at Shannon's do?
1) Definitely get out and fish. The State of New Jersey is encouraging people to exercise in the outdoors. General regulation waters are closed for stocking until Opening Day Saturday April 11thTrout at 8am. But trout conservation areas or TCA's such as the Ken Lockwood Gorge (stocked last week), Point Mountain TCA on the Musky (stocked today) and the Pequest TCA (stocked all the time because it's next to the hatchery) are open. So is the Flatbrook TCA, the Toms River TCA and all wild trout streams to catch and release fishing no bait - in some areas like the KLG with the barbs pinched down. Fishing in the KLG and the Pequest has been outstanding - just the thing to take one's mind off of the other news of the day.
2) Patronize your local fly shop. We are able to take phone and e-mail orders. Call us at (908) 832-5736 and tell us what you need. If you are new to the sport let's make an appointment while practicing social distancing. I don't like to crowd people anyway. Ask questions and get the latest information updates on the water you fish. You can't get that from an impersonal website and the fulfillment is actually faster. Pick it up on the way to the water or on your way back. Tyers we have lots of materials in the shop. For the Fishpond fans out there, the company is waiving all drop shipping fees to get more products out to the customers directly while still supporting its dealers. People are liking the new Chota Boots the East Prong and the Tremont. Both are affordable $85-90.00. A new fly rod and reel will take your mind off the news. We will help you any way we can to relax for a couple of hours and maybe catch Bubba - they're both still out there...
Now for the fishing report:
The first fishable hatch of Hendricksons was this past Saturday as reported reliably by Matt Grobert. The hatch is early after a mild winter. The bugs were coming off in decent numbers and the fish were on them. With the cold, rainy weather look for a small delay with little activity likely today but tomorrow and definitely by Thursday, look for better numbers to be on the water. Fish an emerger about an hour before primary emergence which is anytime after 1pm. The hatch should last for about two hours and Quill Gordons and Baetis will likely mix in. Pay attention to the trout's feeding behavior. Fish a dry when you see the characteristic head to tail rise. Trout will be chasing emergers before this.
Local Hatches 3/23/2020:
Morning 9-11 am:
Some midge and BWO activity. Most action this time of year occurs in the afternoon.
Midday through Late Afternoon 12 noon - 3:30pm:
Early Black Stonefly Taeniopteryx nivalis Tim's stonefly, Black Copper John #16
Early Iron Blue Quill Baetis tricaudatus RS2, Adams, Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-18
Baetis Spinners #16-18
Quill Gordon Spinners Rusty Spinner #12-14
Egg Laying Stonefly Black Caddis skittered over the surface.
Here are three videos from Tim to get us all excited about the upcoming Hendrickson hatch & spring fishing:
Early Baetis, Hendrickson Parachute and Early season fishing on the South Branch: