It has been a warm and stormy summer for sure this year. We've had several official heat waves (four or more days of 90+ degrees) but we've also had significant rainfall. A nice cool weather window earlier this month permitted some of us to check on local trout populations on the South Branch and the Musky and we were encouraged by the results. The vast majority of anglers gave the trout a break when we knew water temps would exceed 70 degrees and when we looked, the fish were still there, Brownies, Rainbows and even wild Brookies. It's been the rainfall that has helped and that looks to continue; Tropical Storm Henri visited last weekend and the unofficial rain total in the area measured at least five inches of rain over a couple of days.
I expect trout fishing to be back between ten days and two weeks as conditions improve. We should see a break in the heat and humidity by the beginning of September and those cool nights in the mid to upper fifties should begin to work their magic. Water levels should be healthy as temps recover. Meanwhile, PA limestone streams like the Little Lehigh have been fishing pretty well. Fish the Trico hatch in the morning or wait for some small #20-22 BWO's in the late morning. My friend, Kevin Lovely called me the other day. He had formerly lived down in Toms River but had relocated up to the Hancock area on the West Branch of the Delaware. He was bemoaning the end of the Sulphur hatch. "Kevin," I said "You've had Sulphurs all summer. We have them for a month on freestone streams!" We both laughed.
Meanwhile closer to home it has been about the warm water pond and river action for a variety of large and smallmouth bass and panfish. Many of our customers have been enjoying these local outings fishing surface poppers and streamers like the Game Changer and Woolly Bugger as well as a variety of Crayfish patterns. These fish are eager to take a fly and provide a nice account of themselves on the fly. Lenny reports from Barnegat Bay that the weakfish are in. He's been catching schoolie stripers and weakfish in the 16-20 inch range with some regularity. Go pink or go home and the action is usually early in the morning or at or after dark especially if their are any lights to draw in the baitfish. He said there are lots of peanut bunkers in the bay right now.
Here's Tim's take on a classic: The Woolly Worm, a fun pattern for bass, panfish and trout.