Took advantage of the nice, warm early spring day yesterday and hit the Ken Lockwood Gorge section of the South Branch of the Raritan River. With the season closed on all but special regs waters like the gorge, it was the only game in town. I heard the couple of other special regs waters were also in full circus mode.
Most (all) of the obvious holes in the 1 1/2 mile stretch had at least one angler in them. Not that this was a problem, I prefer the pocket water and fast runs. With the exception of one guy, everyone pretty much behaved and gave others elbow room. This one clown though, decided that since I was catching fish, it might be a hoot to move in below me and cast his Panther Martin upstream into the water I was working. Unbelievable, there's one guy chucking spinners and he has to be within sight of me..........the circus not only came to town yesterday, it came to my doorstep. After his third metal invasion, I calmly, in a friendly tone of voice, told him he may want to cast a little closer to me to see if that might piss me off. He stared at me for a moment, sizing me up, and then reeled in and mosied on off down river.
The water was at a perfect level and clear. Tons of Little-black and Early-black stoneflies in the air, as well as some dark Grannoms, and midges. Nothing was rising, so I started off with subsurface patterns that matched the nymphs and pupae of the aforementioned bugs. Zilch. So I went to the bread-and-butter tandem of a Copper Bead Bird's Nest and a Brown and Yellow LaFontaine Sparkle Emerger.
Here's the Bird's Nest. Purty little thing, ain't it?
Caught 9 fish - 8 cookie-cutter stocked brookies, and one butterscotch colored, wild brown of about a foot in length. All of them on the Bird's Nest. Once I caught the brown, I was done for the day. If I had caught him right away, I may have stopped fishing then as anything that came after it might have interfered with the photos in my mind.
Lastly, the Bird's Nest is effective all over the country. I first started fishing it on the Upper and Lower Sacramento and McCloud River in No. Calif., where it outfished anything else by a wide margin. As much as I love fishing dries, when nothing is happening on top, a little down and dirty nymphing can be pretty damn satisfying.
Life is Good. MEMO TO CIRCUS: Clowns don't fish.