The first day of Fall was yesterday, September 23rd. That means we are two weeks away from the Fall stocking (happening October 10 - 18th), in which over 20,000 Rainbow trout will be introduced to New Jersey rivers, lakes, and ponds. You can see from the map, thank you Division of Fish and Wildlife, where the fish are going and when. Visit the Fall Stocking page at NJ Fish and Wildlife where you can learn precise numbers. As an added enticement the Pequest hatchery includes one broodstock trout, from 18 to 24 inches, in each tanker truck! A few years back, I saw a brand new angler, with her seasoned partner, hook into one of these monsters and none of us could believe our eyes. The slightly salty young man repeated over and over the fact that he had never seen, much less caught, such a trophy trout. “They won’t all be like that,” is the last thing he said as it was released near Point Mountain. I think she sensed his pique and needled him a little: “Yeah, but that one was.”
Luckily for these fish, there is plenty of rain in the forecast - and I mean plenty. I love Autumn, my favorite season, but not a soaking, chilly, leaves-in-the-river Autumn. We walk the balance between nice weather and good fishing. Too much sun or too still water is not good for spooky fish; too much rain, swollen, unwadable conditions loaded with flotsam and jetsam isn’t either. Given a choice, I’ll take the latter over the former, which is what we have ahead of us. It is more important that our fish thrive when introduced to the streams than enjoying golden hues reflecting off a placid pool. Think of casting to the open spaces between giant Maple leaves as practicing your precision. Removing leaf after leaf with each drift is an exercise in patience.
See the chart below to find the midge or nymph you are likely to see. Realize, though flies that float or remain just sub surface were created to avoid snagging in streams. Dry fly action can continue as long as conditions allow and I am looking forward to beefing up my box with more October Caddis this week. Early morning examinations around the outdoor lights have revealed some really nice specimens, but my camera work was not fast enough to capture an image. You’ll have to take my word that a size 12 would suit the situation. I have made an effort to get out and fish, too. The clouds of midges in the evening are enough to make you hold your breath as you cross the stream. The South Branch seems to have fared better as far as holding fish through the summer months. The Musconetcong could really use a few more fish, in my recent, personal experience. The time off from trout fishing really has an effect, too. If you find a working fish, one chance may be all there’ll be. After one missed strike or serious look at what you're floating, the wary trout may take some time to reappear. Until October 10th, these are the ones who figured a few things out and remain in the water.
Morning 7-10 am:
Trico Torythodes spp. Trico #22-24
Dotwing Sedge Neophylax spp. Tan Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, Green Rockworm or
JC's Electric Caddis #14-18, LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-18
Late Afternoon-Evening: 3-7pm:
Light Cahill Maccaffertium modestum & Stenacron canadense Light Cahill #14-16, Hare's Ear #14-16
Slate Drake Isonychia bicolor Iso #12-14
Baetis (Blue Winged Olives) Baetis spp. BWO, Adams $18-22
Dun Midge Paraleptophlebia debilis Adams or Blue Quill #18-20
Use small #18-20 Pheasant Tails!!
October Caddis Pycnopsyche spp. Orange Stimulator #10-12
Kayla’s Georgia Peach, Conor’s Clouser, Kino’s Deceiver