From Jim Holland - Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon New Jersey:
On Wednesday, December 16th Shannon's partnered with four local Trout Unlimited chapters, Hacklebarney, Central Jersey, Fred Burroughs and Ridge and Valley to stock 350 Rainbow Trout between 12-20 inches at the Point Mountain TCA. These additional trout should help to improve what has other wise been a slow fishery due to a lack luster fall stocking in part created by limitations of how fish were stocked in the fall due to COVID restrictions. Normally an off road vehicle is used to spread the fish out but this was not possible this fall. Please support these local chapters by joining TU and by visiting their respective websites. Here's a video of that stocking produced by Tim Flagler - Tightline Productions.
On Friday December 18th, (my father's birthday) we brought the Bubba Contest back to the South Branch for 2020. The contest is named for two very large trout each adorned with numbered jaw tags. Land and remove the jaw tag with hemostats then bring video or photo proof of a successful release to the shop and win a new Grey's FR80 Streamflex rod and a Hardy Ultralite Disc reel. We stocked over 500 fish ranging in size from 11-21 inches including Rainbow, Brown, Tiger and Golden Trout. We hope that the majority of you will practice catch and release. Here's a video of that stocking produced by Tim Flagler - Tightline Productions.
Jim closes with the following:
For fly selection, remember that the water is cold and most prey items for trout this time of year are small. We have an excellent supply of Tungsten Jig Frenchies and Hare's Ear nymphs right now. Smaller #16-18 Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tails have also been popular. I would trail a RS2, WD40 egg pattern or scud behind it. Keep those flies small; #18-22 have been the most effective. The Gorge and the Pequest were both fishing well and should continue throughout the winter months. Fish slow and deep and that goes for streamers too. Midges are also popular and we have a nice variety of colors, styles and sizes.
I would add that I have been doing well fishing #18-22 black Zebra Midges and small beadhead Soft-hackle Pheasant Tail nymphs. A black Woolley Bugger fished slow and deep has also taken a fair share of fish for me lately.
Many thanks to Jim Holland and Shannon's Fly Shop, the Volunteers who stocked, The Musky Trout Hatchery, and Tim for the great video. Get out and fish.
Sharpen your hooks!