Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rainbows On the South Branch

Late in the afternoon Friday my son Matt called me at the office to see if I would meet him on the river after work to fish that evening. It had been a warm day and I said yes, but we would need to check the water temperature first. Since I live only a few miles from the river, I told him I would go home, grab my gear and go down to the river and check the water temperature and call him before he made the half hour drive from his home.  

When I got to the river an hour or so later, I was hopeful the water temperature would be safe for catch and release fishing as the level was up some from recent rains and it was cool the evening before.  We were in luck, the water was 66-67 degrees F, so I called Matt and told him where to meet me.   While I waited for him, checked out a few spots along the river and was surprised to see only a handful of anglers with the weather being so nice.  It was warm, with hazy clouds dimming the sunlight, and the air was calm.

When Matt arrived I told him to leave his waders in the car, we were going to wet wade.  After getting ourselves ready we walked to the river and slowly waded in spreading out a comfortable distance, but not too far apart in case he need some help.  The last few years he has been concentrating on college, and now that he's graduated he's getting back into fly fishing, requiring some refreshing on knots and fly selection.

The only flies we saw were clusters of tan/ginger caddis fluttering over the water surface, and an occasional golden or brown stonefly adult.  Fish rose sporadically along the opposite bank and in the deeper runs and pockets.  Fortunately, this is one of the easier late spring/summer situations to figure out most nights - the clusters of fluttering, light colored caddis in the air over the water, with no adults on the water surface, and fish rising = speckled caddis (hydropsyche) emergence.  In this situation I have found that a size #14-16 tan Iris caddis works wonderfully, so I tied one on.  Matt tied on a tan caribou caddis, and we both began waiting for rises and casting to those targets.

We fished until dusk turned to dark, and we could no longer see our flies on the water.  We had a good evening, having caught a number of nice fish, some in the 8-10 inch range, and few 12-14 inch fish. I caught all of mine on the Iris caddis, and Matt got his on the caribou caddis, and later on the Iris caddis as well.  He also had few long distance releases, the result of being a little rusty after a few years off.  The bottom line, he is doing things right and hooking fish after a long hiatus from the sport. After we packed up I took him to dinner at a local Italian eatery, where we had a good meal and a couple of beers, while we talked about the fishing and other important what was happening in other sports.

Sharpen your hooks!  And take your kids fishing, it's great fun


Mr. Q said...

Could that be an elusive wild rainbow from the South Branch? Sounds like a great evening.......

Anonymous said...

Would be very interested in where on the So. branch you fish. I fish private waters in PA exclusively, but my NJ neighbor always asks me where he can do quality fly fishing in NJ. I am no longer alble to answer with a useful response. Are you willing to share the "good spots" or do you wish to keep them to yourself and the mysterious alphabet identified few that respond. Public water is public water, stocked by our license fees. I am happy to fishing private water, too old to be skunked as the effort of geting out to fish is large when one passes the 7/8 th mark of life. Where do I steer my neighbor?
Knew you when you were young.

Anonymous said...

Still hoping to help neighbor between jobs who recently moved to Morris County. How about a few tips on best places for a fellow citizen to fly fish. I continue to spend time at a club as my walker has difficulty on streams such as the Gorge.
Of course, if giving away the "honey holes" is "agin" the code of pro's, I will understand

Matt Grobert said...

Mr. Q looks great, but not wild.

Anon, there are no secret spots on the SBR. The river is loaded with trout from the gorge up to and above Long Valley. And most of it is easily accessed. Just look for water with depth and some flow, and there will be fish in there. I don't have any honey holes, I fish it often and rarely in the same spot two outings in a row. I'd get bored and wouldn't learn anything fishing the same spot over and over. The Musky has also been fishing well this year - try the Shurts Road access, or any of the bridge crossings along Rt. 57. And please carry a thermometer and don't fish if the water temp is over 69-70F.

Be well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prompt and polite response.