Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Fly Fishing Weekend

We had a great weekend fishing and attending the New Jersey Trout Unlimited One Fly Contest and Banquet Saturday night.  The weather both days was exactly what one might expect in early November here in the Northeast; Saturday was partly cloudy and warm, and then Sunday was chilly and breezy with bright sunshine. Leaves of all sizes and colors fell from the trees and river bank shrubs.  Some of the leaves, from high up in the Sycamores, were the size of dinner plates.  Flocks of geese flew overhead in "V" formation calling loudly to no one in particular, but for all to hear.  And Kingfishers flew like fighter planes up and down the water corridor cackling loudly, as though making fun of the two-legged creatures standing knee deep in the cool clear water waving a stick. 

Saturday the One Fly Contest was held at the Raritan Inn water on the South Branch of the Raritan River. The water was low and clear, and the trout nervous from a lack of protection and the steady procession of anglers vying for the title of "Angler of the Year".  This is a Trout Unlimited event to bring together members from all of the TU chapters throughout the state.  One representative from each chapter fishes in the day long event, with the rest of the attendees standing on the bank watching, heckling and generally having a great time.   This year's winner of the One Fly was the Ridge Valley Chapter President - Fredy Deleon. 

Here is our friend Rick Axt receiving a distinguished service award for his 6 years - 2006-2012 - as the State Chair of NJ Trout Unlimited, from Rich Thomas the current State Chair.  

Not that those events weren't important, but after all, this is a fly fishing blog, so here we go with the fishing stuff.  The couple of hours before the banquet, we fished the Musconetcong River, which has plenty of water thanks to the draw down of its major source, Lake Hopatcong.  The water level was slightly above normal, cool and crystal clear.  The fishing was tough, but we did manage to catch a few nice fish on black woolley buggers, including a good size brookie.  Doug, Alex and Bryson also caught fish on nymphs, covering far more water than this old man did. 
Here I am showing the hoodlums boys the average size trout that Douglas catches.   
On Sunday, we headed out to a PA Lehigh Valley limestone creek.  The wind was brisk as was the air.  The creek was gin clear with waves of small blue-winged olives coming off all afternoon.  And the trout responded to the insects as they hatched and got blown on to the water surface, becoming easy prey for the hungry trout.    
We caught a good number of fish, all of them on dries - blue-winged olive soft hackle emergers and snowshoe rabbit emergers, size #18 and 20 respectively. Doug and his friend Bryson fished comp nymph rigs and did well, as they practiced for this weekend's competition on Yellow Breeches Creek.
Sharpen your hooks.  An do something, anything, even if it hurts, that will bring us some much needed rains.  Your trout will thank you.

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