Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Long Dry Spell

It's been a year of less blogging and less fishing thanks to Covid, low water locally and having to be very close to home due to a family health issue that has now been resolved.  With Autumn in full swing, I did manage to get out on the river last week late in the day, and despite the low, clear water conditions managed to pick up a few fish.  

It was a warm, windless day and early enough in the season that most of the dying leaves were still clinging to the tree branches.  As is typical in the fall months here in the East, I saw many different insects over and on the water but only random, inconsistent rises.  There were light cahill spinners, blue-winged olives, micro caddis, slate drakes and squadrons of dot wing sedges flying upstream over the river. 

Since I really didn't have any targets, and it was clear the dot winged sedges had been hatching well in resent days, I tied on a size 16 brown and yellow LaFontaine sparkle pupa.  It took me a bit to get adjusted to the river flow and how much weight I needed, but after a short time my instincts took over and I hooked and landed a nice rainbow in a narrow, fast run behind a couple of large rocks.

It has been four months without fishing in NJ - this was the longest period in over 40 years that I did not fish local waters.  And in that period I only fished a handful of times in PA and NY.  I tied a lot of flies though, and while tying I do fish in my head.

We are in need of some serious rain though, as you can see by the photo above, the streams are low and clear with reduced flows.

Sharpen your hooks.      

Friday, September 4, 2020

September 2020 Riversage Journal

The September 2020 Riversage Journal is now available on line.  This month our contribution is "Olives and Ants".  In addition, there are a bunch of other great articles on fly fishing, birds dogs and wing shooting.   This month's giveaway is "A Hunter's Fireside Book, Tales of Dogs, Ducks, Birds & Guns" by Gene Hill. Click on the photo below to be directed to the site. 

Sharpen your hooks.

Monday, August 17, 2020

August 2020 Riversage Journal

Hi folks, hope you all are doing well in these trying times.  We've not been fishing much recently due to the low water levels and warm river temperatures in the region, and also because we aren't traveling. Even most of the Catskill rivers have been low and warm so we haven't been going up there. Most years we would be returning from Montana around this time, but that didn't happen this year for the first time in decades.  We have been tying everyday and writing, and I've been very busy at work fortunately.   

This month's issue of the Riversage Journal is out.  Lots of interesting articles on wing shooting and fly fishing in this one.  My contribution is a piece on what flies I carry during the summer months besides terrestrials to cover the more common hatches in the U.S.   And there's a tying video I did on tying a biot body rusty spinner that's from a live Instagram session from a couple of months ago that we did for a Trout Unlimited chapter.  Click on the logo below to read the Journal. 

Sharpen your hooks.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Riversage Journal

We recently teamed up with Ray Miller and a bunch of other highly talented wingshooting and fly fishing folks on Ray's most recent project, the Riversage Journal.  The Journal is a monthly EZine and can be viewed by clicking on their home page below.   

My contribution this month is a piece on the Rusty Spinner.  Please take some time to check it out and feel free to provide feedback here or directly to Ray at the link on the website.  We welcome your feedback.

On another note, our absence in recent weeks is a result of not only the current situation with the pandemic, but we also lost our mom to the virus a couple of months ago.  She was 92, raised 8 children yet always found the time to take me fishing or get fly fishing or tying supplies when I was a youngster. She lives on in me and the rivers I fish.

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Live Tying Session Tonight at 6:30 PM

If you have the time tonight I'll be doing a live tying podcast on Instagram on the @Jerseyshoretu sponsored site.   We'll be tying two very important May fly patterns - a Rusty Spinner and a Sulphur Usual.  Both patterns utilize snowshoe rabbit foot hair for the wings.  Just go to Instagram and log into the @Jerseyshoetu live broadcast and join us.  I'll be tying and answering questions as well as demonstrating what I have found are the most efficient techniques for tying these two patterns.   

Sharpen your hooks.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Give Your Local Fly Shop Some Love

The Hendrickson hatch is peaking here in New Jersey, and that's making a lot of anglers happy to be on the water.  That said, our mom and pop fly fishing shops should also be at peak sales with the fly fishing season coming into the height of the season from now through June.  Unfortunately, with the necessary statewide stay-at-home order and restrictions on non-essential businesses, the fly shops cannot allow walk in traffic.  Owning and running a successful fly shop, being that it caters to only a limited part of the general population, is not easy in normal times.  With the current situation, it is substantially more difficult. 

So please, if you need any fly fishing supplies or equipment, whether you are in New Jersey or elsewhere, call your local fly shop and buy from them.  Most have curbside pick-up and free shipping.  Because the shops are local, the time for shipping is minimal, and you will be making a difference in lives of folks that love our sport and who will be here after this is all over so we can have a place to go inspect the latest equipment, take tying lessons, shoot the shit, learn new techniques and get the latest information on whats hatching on your favorite stream.

Here's a list of New Jersey fly shops in alphabetical order and their contact info:

Shannon's Fly Shop - Califon, NJ 908-832-5736

Streams of Dreams Fly Shop - Upper Saddle River, NJ  201-934-1138 

Tight Lines Fly Fishing - Parsippany, NJ 973-244-5990

Whitewater Flies - Lafayette, NJ 973-229-0424

Be safe, patronize your local fly shop, and sharpen your hooks.

P.S. - It's physical distancing. : )

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Short, Successful Outing - More Hendrickons

Last Thursday I grabbed an hour on the stream after work and managed to hit the tail end of the hendrickson hatch that day.   When I got to the river in the late afternoon there were just enough of the mayflies hatching to keep a few trout feeding in the run I chose to fish.  The air was cool, and the breeze kept it that way on my face despite the bright sun.  The water was crystal clear and 50F on the nose.  Some little black stoneflies came and went, and early smokey-winged sedges were everywhere but on the water surface.

With only a few fish rising steadily, I quickly tied on about 3 feet of  fresh 5X tippet to the end of my leader and to the end of that, a size #12 Catskill style hendrickson.  I then picked the first fish I saw rising at the lower end of the pool.  It was holding just below the surface in a wrinkle just below a submerged boulder where it could just tip its nose up and sip in each freshly hatched mayfly in its path that didn't get off the water quickly enough.  Fishing from below the working fish I dropped my fly just above where the boulder sat.  The bumpy current pushed and bobbed the fly as it floated over the rock and the first few drifts went unmolested.

After a few minutes I changed position and moved up to a point where I was across from and just above the rising fish.  I hoped that I could drop the fly above the rock with a reach cast and feed to the fly down to the target and mend my line as needed to get a good drift.  My second cast landed just as I had wanted it to, with the fly first followed by tippet, leader and line.  Sure enough, just as the fly passed the rock and entered the chop the fish eased up and sipped in the fly.  After a brief battle, I brought a nice brown to net.

And that was it.  I watched and scanned the water but in the short time I worked that fish, the others stopped rising and the hendricksons all but disappeared.  The early smokey-winged sedges still filled the air but again stayed off the water.  I also saw a few little black stoneflies skitter along the water, but nothing chased them.  I walked up the stream a ways to check out other runs, but they were also void of working fish.  I stuck around for a bit enjoying the solitude and hoping for a stray rising fish  but to no avail. That's fishing.

The early smokey-winged sedges (Apatania sp.) are very abundant this year in the South Branch, their mineral cases lining the rocks in the calmer sections of pools where they pupate and hatch.   Apatania sp.  The ones I saw must have hatched earlier in the day and were just flitting around enjoying the sunset by the time I arrived.  I recommend that if you do get out to fish the South Branch in the next week or so, be sure to have some size #16-18 dark caddis imitations so you're ready in the event you catch the hatch.

Apatania sp. mineral cases - be careful wading to avoid crushing them.

Early smokey-winged sedge. Note that the body is about a size 20, and the wings are about 2X that. I tie them on an 18 and make the body short on the hook and the wings extending past the bend a bit. 

Sharpen your hooks and be safe out there.