Between the drought this past summer and spending my weekdays in Boston, I haven't fished for weeks. So when Dr. Bill B. sent me an email during the week inviting me to fish with him today, I jumped on it despite the early morning start. We met at a Minimart off of Route 78, grabbed coffee and an egg sangwich, and then proceeded to the Musconetcong River, along with his friend Frank. What a morning; calm, cold and clear, the morning sun making the river side foliage radiate with color.
The water was around 50 degrees, the air was in the mid 40's when we started and it didn't get much higher than that as the morning progressed. The river was low and crystal clear, it's moderate flow a conveyor belt for the myriad of colored leaves in and on the water. With my polarized sunglasses on, I could see every rock, sucker and trout under the water surface. In one spot, there had to be 30+ suckers hanging just above the bottom, individuals within the group occasionally moving from side to side to avoid drifting leaves. Below them, a couple of nice trout moved about nervously, most likely because they sensed my presence as I approached them. Even though I took slow, careful steps, I was no match for the trout's sensory instincts in the clear, calm water. Sure, I still drifted my nymphs through their feeding lanes off the end of a long, fine leader and even managed to hook one of the trout. He didn't like that, and quickly darted upstream and unhooked himself.
So I decided to get out of the run and walk upstream to check out the long flat I hoped would have some rising fish. Here's Dr. Bill at the top of the flat casting woolley buggers to the banks and stripping them back after letting them swing below him.
Before taking this picture, I had stood on the bank and watched the water as a nice brown trout sipped tiny insects from the surface between the leaves not far from the opposite bank. I took baby steps to get to this position, knowing how easily I could spook the fish, and after taking the photo I stood in place for a few minutes to make sure it was comfortable. I had tied on a fresh piece of 6X tippet to the end of my leader, and to that I tied a #16 ginger caribou caddis, while still on the bank. A couple of casts later, I had him to net. A nice 14" brown that didn't have a mark on it anywhere.
A close up.........
A short while after I landed the brown, a rainbow started working the surface about 25 feet down stream from where the brown had been. The wind had picked up by now, making casting the tiny fly tied to the end of the fine tippet tough. I'd make a couple of casts, miss the target, and wait until the wind settled. Eventually, I got my fly in the trout's feeding lane and it took it like candy. After a short battle I netted a very nice, 16" or so, rainbow. No pics, as soon as the fly popped out of its jaw, it managed to pop out of my net.
Here's the fly I got both fish on.
By late morning the wind was howling, the clouds moved in and out blocking the sun just enough to make it feel much cooler than it was, and we all had other things to get to, so we called it a day. For the last day of October, it was a very good day with good friends, and the wonderful surprise of taking a couple of fish on dry flies when that was the last thing I had anticipated today.