I looked at the clock waiting for 4pm and the time would be right to leave the shop and hit the water. With daylight fading, I had to make my preparations quickly. I rigged an Olive Woolly Bugger Bugger and made my dash to enjoy the stream in the fading light. Sure enough on my first few casts, I had takes but couldn't connect - it had been over a week since I had wet a line. Finally though I was on and the 13" holdover Rainbow eventually slipped into my net as the sun finally set.
We have seen our first snow and some chilly nights. It's December in New Jersey. Winter fly fishing in our area is growing in popularity. There are fish left over from the fall stocking by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Many anglers will brave the cold to discover that the trout are biting and many of them are larger fish - 14-20" Rainbows stocked in October along with holdover fish from the spring that are now "stream wise" and interested in flies.
These trout are going to be joined by some new recruits. Tonight, we stocked the South Branch with our annual Bubba trout in and around Califon. As many of you know, this contest has become a fixture on our Winter Calendar. Two large trout, one Brown and one Rainbow have been stocked with jaw tags. These are locally grown fish from the Musky Trout Hatchery in Asbury, New Jersey in Warren County. Catch and release the fish, bring us the jaw tag detached from the fish and win a prize, a new Douglas DXF fly rod. The big fish were accompanied by several hundred smaller trout between 12-20 inches; Rainbows, Browns and Tiger Trout were all stocked. We know our customers will enjoy watching the video to try and discover where the Bubba trout were stocked. Happy hunting!
Shannon's has also once again partnered with Hacklebarney, Ridge and Valley, Fred Burroughs-North Jersey and Central Jersey chapters of Trout Unlimited to stock the Point Mountain Trout Conservation Area. This stocking will be happening shortly within the next week. Anglers will have their choice of fishing over some great fish, once again high quality Kamloops strain Rainbows from the Musky Hatchery.
Most of the action will be on subsurface flies this time of year. Pay attention to water clarity. When the rivers are clear, small midges work best often fished behind a small #18-20 egg pattern. Scuds are another good option this time of year. I like to fish them behind a Hare's Ear Beadhead. There have been some winter BWO's hatching. It is always a good idea to have a few small #20-22 Pheasant Tail nymphs and RS2's handy. Streamers will work in higher, cloudier flows or just before dark.
Welcome and Happy Holidays in New Jersey's Trout Country. The weather is cooling down and Bubba is back....We are open through the holidays every day. We look forward to serving returning anglers and those new to our sport with the finest flies and tackle in the area.
Here are some of Tim's choices for effective flies in December: