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Week of March 10th: Fish are Looking Up!

The river stocking begins this year on March 18th and, even though we had a days with a twinge of spring, we have a week or so of winter. The deluge Saturday night blew things out for a few days, but this week looks nice.  Take advantage, if you can, before the rivers close on March 18th until April 6th for Opening Day!


Reports of stone fly patterns catching fish continue and we can bring our flies closer to the surface and to the banks to put our mimics where the naturals are.  Of course, down and deep will work, but after several passes with your heavily weighted nymphs and trailing midges through the thalweg, turn and present into the shallower water in the pool or run.


During warmer parts of the day, beginning mid-morning, the fish will move to the riffles and runs to gorge on the increasing variety of aquatic insect life.  Small midge patterns, RS2s and WD40s, work well behind hare’s ear and pheasant tail nymphs.  Waltz worm and other caddis larva-esque offerings can pull black or olive micro-size nymphs like the RS2 and WD(wood duck)40s.


Until things clear up and come down, streamers and sculpin patterns should produce and you can try them dead-drifted and animated.  Even when you are stripping a streamer back in, remember to pause and let it hang in the current - and try to let it sit there longer than you may normally. Once in a while, that pause gives a wary trout time to think things through and, for once in its life, just go for it.  


Adams and BWOs, #16 and smaller, will also support said RS2 or WD40!  When you see some surface activity, you can feel good that it is a fish working; it may not be predictable and sustained, but don’t hesitate to change things up. Elk or deer hair caddis and stonefly dry patterns can be skittered and danced on top.

If you can not wait for the larger rivers to get below 400 cfs for the Musky, 350 on the Pequest and SBR, or just want to use your 3wt, Remember to try a Griffith’s gnat before getting your nymph into the pools and plunge pools in our tributary and feeder streams. We have a few new Moonlit fiberglass and Douglass or Winston graphite rods to accommodate your sojourn off the beaten path and the reel and lines to match.  Try a 7’6’’ or 8’6’’ near the source in the headwaters or bring it to a local pond and fool a few pan fish and bass. 


Be careful if you do fish or scamper around the skinny water.  The mud is sure to be thick and deep and I already had a tick on my after a short hike up Cataract Falls last week!  If you cannot get out with a rod, enjoy a park on a sunny day and find a few more signs of spring - including the auditory delight: “the peepers!”  Tree frogs and other animals are waking up adding to the birds and sounds of the season.  


Our Signature Tyer series is ongoing - sign up online or on your next visit to the store.  Aside from walking away with some flies, created in the presence of the best NJ has to offer - Collins, Flagler, and Grobert - we can engage in conversation and camaraderie with other folks with a passion for tying.


Mark your calendar, too, for Trout Fest 2024! Activities, foods, libations, fun for the whole family.  

The shop guides are gathering in the coming days and the whole crew is look forward to taking you and a friend for your fourth or first annual trip! Book your guided trip now!


See you out there! Roy B.





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