Stocking started on MONDAY – Many rivers CLOSED until April 8th .
It is easy to start day dreaming about warm, Spring days in mid-March. Our closest local rivers,
the SBR, Musky, and Pequest, produced excellent fishing and revealed impressing hold-over
trout through the darkest days of the year. Still, the soft image of may-flies on wing in the
waning afternoon sun and a trout pool dappled and still rippling is what brings most of us back
year after year.
Spring is here, Monday the 20th at 5:24 in the afternoon, to be precise, but we are not out of the late Winter weather, yet. In fact, who remembers a few years ago on opening day when the
wind blew snow horizontally and it was hard to keep a nymph in the water? It is not quite time to
put the gloves away, but we can expect those wonderful random afternoon with temperatures in
the 60s and we can still fish TCAs and other appropriately posted places, but much of NJ water
is closed while the hard working folks at local, county, and state levels begin to replenish our
favorite game fish across New Jersey. Thank them graciously for everything they do for us!
While we wait for things to open up on the rivers, it is the perfect opportunity to get ready for the Spring 2023 Trout Season in NJ. South Branch Outfitters is fully stocked and new owners,
Lindsey and Abraham, are eager to help new anglers and old friends have a great year on the
If you tie flies, or want to know what to get in preparation for April, you are thinking of Little Blue Winged Olives #20 - #22, Blue Quills #16 - 18, Red Quill/Paraleps (Paraletophebia – think Mahogany) and Hendricksons #12 - 14, early Caddis (Grannom – light and dark #16).
Restock on the WD40s, RS2s, zebra midges and emerging caddis (green or chartreuse) lost to
fish and snags this winter.
Turn your favorite nymph into wet flies and soft hackles with a Partridge collar or hen hackle.
These emerging flies gain prominence as the weather turns warm and water temperatures
reach and hold a consistent fifty degrees. (Follow us on Instagram @sboutfittersnj for daily stream condition reports, including temperatures and flows!)
Never forget Wooly Buggers in olive, black, and brown. Scuds will start moving around more
and our midges begin to increase in size and activity. Early Spring streamers work late
afternoons, when the trout have enjoyed a full day of sun. Look for videos from Tim Flagler, Matt Grobert, and others in our fly tying video library elsewhere on the site.
If you do not tie, we have all of the above and more ready to go, in the shop, including
local favorites tied by local tiers – famous and up-and-coming. John Collins’ little Black Stone
was the killer pattern this winter and his chartreuse Caddis nymph is hard to keep in-stock. Ask
about the Musky Shrimp and our selection of Tungsten Euro nymphing flies.
Jim Holland, rarely an early riser outside of his teaching responsibilities, looked forward to Day
Light Savings and the extended evening light. I would be remiss if I forgot to tie up a size 16
Adams dry – or, maybe I’ll pick up half a dozen since they’re a little complicated to tie.
South Branch Outfitters is excited about our Grand opening celebration on APRIL 15th ! Look for details on the website, or stop by and say, “hello” soon!