Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trout Update #3

Two weeks ago I caught 4 trout (3 brook, 1 brown, all stocked) at the Raritan - 3 on pheasant tail nypmhs and 1 on a tan caddis (my first dry fly catch of the year). Today, I braved the rain and fished 4 streams: the Brodhead, the Pequest, the Musconetcong, and Spruce Run Creek.

The Brodhead is home territory - I've fished the river for well over a decade. I decided to try Pine Brook Park, an easily accessible and generally productive stretch of the river. It wasn't the same as last year, however. The channeling of the river in the 70s has led to massive bank/bed erosion downstream from the channelized section. Every year, and every flood, the river changes course and depth. It seems like every spring, the Brodhead is a new river. Today I caught 4 trout (three brown, one rainbow) on a 1/16 Panther Martin spinner. The fly rod was next to useless all day in the high murky water; trout, however, swam to the flashing spoon of my spinners. It was nice to be home...

I've never fished the Pequest, despite driving by it for years. I imagine that the river fishes better in improved conditions. The lack of a path, the wide and shallow river, and the mud were annoying hazards. Unfortunately, the large flow and cloudy water precluded fly fishing. I was able to catch 3 brown trout and lose a couple. I'll be returning to the Pequest soon, maybe even in the next few days.

I've fished the Musconetcong before, but I have never caught a trout there. That changed today. Interestingly, the Fish and Game people have recently designated a section of the river near New Hampton as a trout conservation area. Hopefully this designation will allow good fly fishing throughout the summer. The river was the highest of any I fished today, which probably was due to the fact that I arrived there at 6:30 PM - after a full day of rain. I did manage to catch 1 brown and lose 1 in a whirlpool/eddy outside of the robust current. I'm looking forward to more time on the Musconetcong as the year progresses.

I stopped quickly as the sun was fading behind the hills at Spruce Run Creek - a small stream that is intermittently stocked. It was too dark to do much, but I believe that this little creek might be a nice place to spend an hour or two once in awhile.

A nice wildlife day (animals love the rain): mergansers, great blue heron, mallard, cardinal, swallow, sparrow, catbird, bluebird, piper (not sure what kind), deer, and cottontail.

Overall Total: 19

River Breakdown:

Raritan River, South Branch - 10 (6 Stocked Brook, 2 Stocked Brown, 1 Wild Brook, 1 Wild Brown)
Brodhead Creek - 4 (3 Stocked Brown, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Pequest River - 3 (3 Stocked Brown)
Lawrence Brook - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)
Musconetcong River - 1 (1 Stocked Brown)

Species Breakdown:

Brown Trout - 10
Wild - 1
Stocked - 9

Brook Trout - 8
Stocked - 7
Wild - 1

Rainbow Trout - 1
Stocked - 1
Wild - 0

Stocked Trout - 17
Wild Trout - 2

Trout 15+ Inches: 0

Angling Breakdown:

Fly Fishing Rod - 11 (7 Stocked Brook, 2 Stocked Brown, 1 Wild Brook, 1 Wild Brown)

Spinning Rod - 8 (7 Stocked Brown, 1 Stocked Rainbow)

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