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February: An Angler's Winter

As I begin this latest report, the snowflakes are starting to fly here in Califon. The forecast is calling for a significant snowstorm to begin the month of February. Many of you have discovered that fly fishing for trout in the winter is not only productive but rewarding in other ways. Generally speaking, there are many days when the temperatures are above freezing and with a little preparation, anglers can be quite comfortable on the water for a few hours. I would caution anglers to respect bank ice, it's often thin and always slippery. I would also avoid wading too deeply as standing in cold water above your knees will quickly remind you what season it is.

I'm happy to report that both Bubba Rainbow and Bubba Brown were successfully caught and released. Hugh Green and Mike Suriano, both fly anglers matched skill with a little luck to land these trophy fish. Hugh caught the Brown on a nymph of his own design and Mike took the Rainbow on a modified jiggy Woolly Bugger. We are currently working on stocking another couple of Bubba Trout as it has been a popular contest. Details to follow and we would like to thank Hardy/ Grey's for helping to sponsor the event and to all of you who have enjoyed the contest so far this yea .

As we move into February, temperatures have generally been seasonal which means that the normal late winter pattern should begin to manifest. This means that Early Black Stoneflies, Taeniopteryx nivalis should begin to appear sporadically this month, most often on warmer days. The nymphs will usually crawl out of the water to hatch on stream side rocks. This activity usually takes place during the warmest part of the day from about 11am until about 3pm. A variety of nymph patterns can be effective; a Prince, A Black Copper John or a standard stonefly nymph will work in sizes 14-18. Scuds, midges and egg patterns continue to be good options and I like them small generally size 16 and smaller. Fishing streamers slowly has also been a successful strategy just remember when water temps are in the thirties to crawl them along the bottom slow and deep. We just received some interesting Rabbit Zonker jig fly streamers and I do think they'll be a hit.

Due to the pandemic we have been unable to hold our fly tying classes but plan to resume them as soon as we can. Get vaccinated! Meanwhile we have lots of fly tying materials with new supplies arriving weekly. Customers have been ordering rods and reels and other items. We have some of the new GLoomis NRX Plus rods coming in hopefully this week along with Winston, Scott, Hardy/ Grey's and T&T. I'm looking forward to seeing some new product like the new Bauer RVR reel and the Winston Air II fly rod. Many of you have been asking about the new Scott Centric and I'm expecting those to arrive shortly as well. The Douglas rods have been a customer favorite and those are in stock now. It looks like Redington waders are again available. Give us a call or email us at with any questions or requests.

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