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Week of April 14th: The Cruelest Month

Yes, it is true:  

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers. - “The Wasteland”

Enough of the Spring rain, already, though! T.S. Eliot’s poem, an expression of angst and dread in post World War One London is frightening, beautiful, and baffling.  It reflects any one human’s stream of conscious thought. The poem meanders and presents images of water and fire, passion and stagnancy.  My hopes for fishing a good hatch this month rise and fall with the river levels and, in terms of weather and fishing, the month has been cruel: earthquakes, flooding and an eclipse!  I was fishing during the totality, just to ensure I would not look up.  The fish were not looking up at that time, either, but I managed this brown on the Caddis pattern pictured last week.

Still, local folks, guides and enthusiasts, on the social media sites displayed Jersey’s beautiful bounty of brook, brown, and stocked trout.  I snuck out before the latest deluge a few times this week and found fish each trip.

The number of brook and brown trout people posted were nice to see. Caddis and BWO hatches were reported and cataloged with impressive pictures of some bugs.  The Red Dart, Caddis Emerger, and Hendrickson nymph and emerging patterns seem to be hot and will continue to produce this coming week - once water levels subside early this week on the South Branch.  We won’t, or should not, see sulphurs for a bit longer, but Quills, Hendricksons, and Grannom Caddis are out when conditions are right. 

NEW SHOP HOURS on Saturday and Sunday are opening at 9am.  With the extra time this morning, I hiked back into the woods thinking about the small streams and how, after a rain, the fish may take advantage of the extra real estate as the superfluous flows make their way down to the main stems.  I knew I was at a higher elevation, which is not much here in Hunterdon county, but the stream was lower than I had anticipated and flowing gin clear.  This gives me hope that levels will drop quickly.  Anyway, I poked around, fishing likely spots and executing proper stealth fishing tactics - crouching while approaching, kneeling in the stream, and pretending I was being sneaky, I guess. I had no luck!

Then, right before I was to turn around and make my way in to the shop, I saw one more great looking place - a huge rock in some deepish looking water.  My back was kind of sore and there was not real way to belly crawl for a good cast, so I just stood opposite and flip cast my nymph/puff midge combo through and WHACK!  In a small stream, there is not much room for runs and the little brownie came right to my feet. 

Looking forward, we have several days in the 70s coming up.  If you are fortunate to fish during standard working hours, start looking for rising fish around 2 pm.  The banks could be active throughout the day but either return after dinner or make your way out for an evening spinner fall.  The usual places in Califon and up to Long Valley have been fairly busy with anglers, so take the time to spread out and find your water.  

We hope to see everyone at TROUT FEST 2024 Saturday, April 20th at Califon Island Park, starting at noon!  Food trucks, Beer, Fishing Demos and Casting Contests!

There is plenty for your non-angling friends and family, too, so you can tell them “We are going to Spring Fest” and that would not be stretching the truth by any means.

Guided trips are still available on Private or Public water;  book today for a hatch in May.

 April, while cruel, is also great - early hatches, blossoms blooming, and Trout Fest 2024.

See you out there!

Roy B.


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