I'm out running errands today and while in the Califon area, I decided to drive along the South Branch of the Raritan, where the road parallels the river for a mile or so. The river is very low, and the water temperatures lately have been in the low to mid 70"s most days. Poor conditions for trout, particularly if they are stressed from fishing. If left to themselves in the deeper holes and cooler stretches, they will survive quite well.
The river level is low, so low in fact that the tops of many rocks are high and dry, when typically they will be under water. The water is very clear and trout are easily spotted as they hang just above the bottom barely moving.
In one stretch I observed two guys in the water standing next to a large, half exposed boulder about 25-30 feet off the mouth of a major trout spawning tributary. On the top of the boulder they had a pale blue, plastic bait container, and they were casting their wormed hook right up into the mouth of the creek. I've been fishing near this creek for 25 years, and in the conditions we have now I have seen dozens of wild and stocked trout stacked in the deep mouth where it meets the larger South Branch. Today was no different, you could see them from the road. The creek is cool, and the trout are there because it is a thermal refuge; a respite from the harsh conditions of the main river. They are there as a matter of survival.
So why do these idiots think it is okay to fish for them?
Are they starving and in need of food? From the size of their waists and jowls, that was clearly not the case. Is this the only thing they could do on a hot August day? I doubt it, and in fact, they could have fished for warm water species if they were so driven to cast a line.
Some states have fishing regulations that prohibit anyone from fishing within so many feet/yards of where a tributary enters a trout stream in the months of July and August. Why? So dumb asses like these two guys cannot fish legally for trout that clearly do not want to be disturbed.