Sunday, March 29, 2015

No Fishing, Just Meandering

The high, bright sun was quite deceiving today as I found out when I stepped out on my deck with my coffee this morning thinking I would enjoy a little spring warmth and instead was hit in the face with the frosty air.  I had intended to walk out to the pond in my t-shirt, but changed direction and went back inside.  It looked so warm outside from in the kitchen!  Robins and other songbirds moved among the shrubs and trees, the dark green shafts of daffodils reached through the brown leaves seeking the sun, and the snow that covered the steep hill was gone.  

I didn't fish, but I did make it over to Tim Flagler's where I tied a midge emerger pattern for this week's video.  It was good to tie for a video after a long layoff, and also do some catching up with Tim.  After the long winter we've had we are both looking forward to getting on the stream regularly and using the many flies we've tied  from having to stay inside and off the rivers the last few months.

After I left Tim's, I went down the South Branch of the Raritan River and checked out a few of my favorite spots to fish,  The river is in great early spring shape; a little high and clear, and despite all the ice that covered it just a few shorts weeks ago, the pools and runs don't appear to have changed much since the fall.  I also saw a few little black stoneflies in the air and on the rocks, which always gets me excited for the coming season.

I did tie a bunch of flies after I got home, and even made it out to the pond where some midges sat placidly on the surface, undisturbed by the still sluggish fish suspended just above the bottom below. A lone tadpole stirred the silt as it wiggled away from my shadow to deeper water.  The pond is spring fed, and the spring is flowing well from the rocks along the edge, so well in fact, that it is overflowing onto the surrounding rocks and landscaping.

That's it.  I'm just warming up for what I hope will be a good spring with plenty of reports here.

Sharpen your hooks.      


Monday, March 23, 2015

Tying a Little Black Stonefly Dry

While I sit on my ass and accomplish nothing, Tim Flagler continues to tie flies for his fine videos, this time tying up a little black stonefly dry using CDC and grizzly hackle.  With the winter being what it has been, we haven't seen many of these little buggers as of yet, so tie some up, and when you see trout slashing at the female stones in the side eddies and slow water trying to dislodge their eggs on the water surface, fish them. If fishing them with a dead-drift presentation doesn't elicit a strike, try skittering the fly over the water where you see the feeding activity.  And be forewarned, don't use too light of a tippet or you'll break off fish on the take when skittering the fly.  Go with 4 or 5X, at the lightest. 

Now get off your computer and go tie some sure to tie up a few for yours truly since I'm too busy doing nothing.  Is it possible to be doing nothing?  Probably not, because if you are "doing" something, even if it's nothing, you are still "doing" something and that's not nothing.

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Still Leaving Them Smiling

The trout that is.

Yesterday I headed out to the Lehigh Valley to fish one of the spring creeks figuring the warmth and cloud cover might get the blue-winged olives hatching, and maybe bring the trout to the surface to feed on them.  I got there in the early afternoon, the air was about 45 degrees, and a slight breeze blew beneath low cloud cover.  The river was clear and up quite a bit from last weekend, a perfect level for fishing.  The water was only 40 degrees, which was still fairly chilly, and plenty of melting snow entered the stream from the surrounding landscape - about 5 inches of wet, sloppy snow covered the ground.  As I had thought, the olives were hatching in good numbers.

After watching the water for a bit and not seeing a single trout rise, I decided to fish the two nymph set up Doug uses with good success.  And except for hooking a small brown and loosing after a brief battle (on one of Doug's flies), I continued my streak of fishless days in 2015.  It's probably been 30 years or more since I have had such a poor start to a year.  I've only been out three times this year thanks to the weather, so I'm not too worried. I ran into a few other guys, all of whom said they had not caught a thing. 

After fishing hard for about two hours and not seeing a rise despite all of the olives hatching, I decided to seine the river in a few places.  As you might suspect, every net had plenty of Baetis (blue-winged olive) nymphs in it along with various caddis larvae. In a few spots, the net had very good numbers of bright orange Chimarra larvae among the olive nymphs, along with some bright green Rhyacophila larvae (rockworms).  The other critters that I kept netting were baby suckers.  Lots of them.

Here's a close up of a couple of juvenile suckers I caught.  

Overall, it was a good day to be out on the water.  Seeing all of those olives hatching is awesome, as you know it is only a matter of time before the water warms enough that the trout will be sipping them off the surface.  Sure, it would have been even better if I caught something.

Sharpen your hooks, there's always next time!

Friday, March 20, 2015

March Fly Tying Madness Event - This Saturday March 21 at the Cranford N.J. Community Center

March Fly Tying Madness is an event sponsored by New Jersey Trout Unlimited and hosted by Rahway River Trout Unlimited. This is an open event, and the purpose is to tie as many flies as possible in one day to be donated to 3 very worthwhile organizations. These are: Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters and Trout Unlimited’s National Veterans Services Program.

The event is being held at the Cranford Community Center 220 Walnut Ave Cranford, New Jersey. Doors open at 9 AM.  Refreshments and lunch will be served, and there will be many great door prizes for those tying.  Last year's event donated over 3,000 flies!!

Even if you do not tie, stop in and say hello!

Go to: for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Harvey Rude R.I.P.

It is with much sadness that I write to tell you that Harvey Rude passed away yesterday while doing one of the things he loved best, volunteering his time to a fishing related activity.  For those of you that didn't have the pleasure to know him, Harvey worked part-time at Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon, New Jersey.  He also guided for them in both fresh water for trout, and saltwater for stripers, blues and albacore.  It was always a pleasure to spend time with Harvey, whether it be in the shop talking fishing, or on the stream fishing and talking fishing.  He always showed genuine interest with everyone that came in the shop, with those he was teaching, and also while guiding.  On the stream his love of fishing was evident from a distance, well before you came up on him and said hello, to which he greeted you with a smile and usually an offer to let you fish the water he was fishing.  There were times I came upon him fishing and he would offer me his spot.  I would insist he stay put, yet he would get out of the stream and insist even more that I fish where he just was.  And so I did, which made him happy.  And we would talk about how he fished the water in that spot, what flies he used, and the way the current moved, and.......       

If you do nothing else today, be sure to let the people you care about know it.  Harvey always did. 

We'll miss you Harvey. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ><))))))'>

Monday, March 16, 2015