Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bass Update #1

So I've decided to change include all bass caught on my fly rod in July and August as part of my bass updates. I went out in the 90 degree heat on Monday to try out two warm water rivers in the local area: the Millstone and Stony Brook.

I had a very nice time on the Millstone. I worked poppers in shaded areas of the slow moving water and landed one 12 inch largemouth bass. I also caught a bunch of bluegill. More exciting were the various wildlife sightings: flicker (one of my favorite birds), great blue heron, painted turtles, swamp turtles, Canada goose, mallard, downy woodpecker, catbird, belted-kingfisher. The Millstone/canal is full of turtles, by the way!

The river itself follows the Delaware-Raritan Canal (more correctly, the canal follows the river). It's a muddy, slow, shallow, and warm river. Too warm to support smallmouth bass; however, some of the largemouth bass I saw were of considerable size. I also would expect big catfish to swim in the river's deeper pools.

Stony Brook:
I had a nice time at Stony Brook, although I anticipated more smallmouth action than I encountered. Instead, Stony Brook is full of rock bass - not a bad alternative. I landed four rock bass, one smallmouth, and countless bluegill on a wooly bugger streamer. I also saw a lot of wildflowers; unfortunately, the pictures I took of all the fish and flowers were erased off my camera. I'm heartbroken; however, I will be buying a new digital camera soon. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw these flowers: wild sarsaparilla (a cool flower!), honeysuckle, bouncing bet or soapwort, and others that I cannot remember. Overall it was a good day.

Overall Total: 8

River Breakdown
Stony Brook - 5 (4 Rock, 1 Smallmouth)
Bushkill Creek - 2 (2 Smallmouth)
Millstone River - 1 (1 Largemouth)

Species Breakdown
Rock Bass - 4
Smallmouth Bass - 3
Largemouth Bass - 1

Type of Fly
Streamer - 5 (4 Rock, 1 Smallmouth)
Nymph - 2 (2 Smallmouth)
Popper - 1 (1 Largemouth)

Monday, July 21, 2008


The hot weather has begun to alter my fishing landscape. Over the next month or so, I will not be fishing for trout. I would rather take a month off than kill trout by catching them in hot water. Occasionally I will head to small tributary streams where mountain springs keep the waters cool year long; in this case I will be sure to update the trout totals. But for the next few weeks I will begin something I have never done before: fly fish for smallmouth bass. Living in this area of New Jersey allows me to pursue this hot weather fly fishing method because of the plethora of warm water streams in the area. The Millstone River, Stony Brook, Lawrence Brook, lower Delaware River, and the Delaware-Raritan Canal are all a stone's throw from where I live. And all are decent smallmouth fisheries. Accordingly, I will update this blog with my smallmouth totals. Expect the same types of post, replete with images and links. I'd like to include my two smallmouth bass from Saturday. Keep in mind I will be altering the traditional trout breakdown to fit the different intricacies of my smallmouth pursuit.

Overall Total: 2

River Breakdown
Bushkill Creek - 2

Type of Fly
Nymph - 2

Trout Update #11: Late July

The summer's sweltering temperatures and lack of rain are taking a heavy toll on the northeast's trout. River water is nearing 70 degrees on some rain-fed streams - much higher temperatures and the trout will begin to suffer and die. I did, however, manage to catch a few fish at the Bushkill on Saturday evening. I also caught a few at Marshalls Creek, which could badly use a dose of steady rainfall. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. However, I will upload some pictures from years past.

Marshalls Creek:
I've been attempting, quite unsuccessfully, to fly fish Marshalls Creek. On Saturday I tried a new plan: fish streamers in the pool beneath the waterfall (pictured below). This worked to some extent; a few fish hit the streamer I was using, but I wasn't able to land any. I switched to a small copper john nymph and tried dead drifting it in the current. This didn't work either. I then started moving the nymph artificially and two wild brook trout went after it. I also added two small wild brookies on the spinner. After only a half hour or so I moved on to the Bushkill.

Bushkill Creek:
The water was very warm at the Bushkill. So was the air. I survived a two mile hike to one of my favorite isolated spots on the river. As I approached the pool I was seeking, I saw a beautiful bald eagle fly away. Apparently the bird had noticed the pool was full of potential food: I counted about thirty trout near the surface alone. Normally the fish in this section of the Bushkill rise with impunity. Not so on Saturday. I slowly drifted nymphs (assorted variety, the trout didn't seem to care) to their open mouths and caught four: two rainbow and two brown (both stocked fish). I missed a few trout on a slate drake dun, including one of considerable size. Overall it was a nice evening, even if the air felt like a sauna.

I also saw one of my favorite birds - the scarlet tanager. I love the tanager's bright red colors. It seems tropical and out of place this far north. I also spied a pretty red flower growing on the opposite bank. According to my memory and my wildflower book this bloom is called cardinal flower.

Overall Total: 143

River Breakdown:

Raritan River, South Branch - 22 (13 Stocked Brown, 7 Stocked Brook, 1 Wild Brook, 1 Wild Brown)
Bushkill Creek - 21 (17 Stocked Brown, 3 Stocked Rainbow, 1 Stocked Golden Rainbow)
Marshalls Creek - 20 (20 Wild Brook)
Pequest River - 17 (9 Stocked Brown, 6 Stocked Brook, 2 Stocked Rainbow)
Beaverkill River - 10 (7 Wild Brown, 2 Wild Brook, 1 Stocked Brown)
Poplar Run - 9 (7 Wild Brook, 2 Wild Brown)
Faulkner Brook - 7 (6 Wild Brook, 1 Wild Brown)
Stony Brook - 7 (7 Stocked Rainbow)
Spring Creek - 6 (3 Wild Brown, 3 Wild Rainbow)
Brodhead Creek - 4 (3 Stocked Brown, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Paulinskill River - 4 (4 Stocked Brown)
Penns Creek - 4 (4 Wild Brown)
Rattlesnake Creek - 4 (4 Wild Brook)
Mill Creek - 3 (2 Wild Brook, 1 Wild Tiger)
Stony Run - 2 (1 Stocked Brook, 1 Wild Brook)
Cherry Run - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Lawrence Brook - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)
Musconetcong River - 1 (1 Stocked Brown)

Species Breakdown:

Brown Trout - 66
Stocked - 48
Wild - 18

Brook Trout - 59
Wild - 44
Stocked - 15

Rainbow Trout - 17
Stocked - 13
Wild - 3
Golden Rainbow - 1

Tiger Trout - 1
Wild - 1
Stocked - 0

Stocked Trout - 77
Wild Trout - 66

Trout 15+ Inches: 5

Angling Breakdown:

Fly Fishing Rod - 77 (34 Stocked Brown, 14 Wild Brown, 11 Stocked Rainbow, 9 Stocked Brook, 5 Wild Brook, 3 Wild Rainbow, 1 Stocked Golden Rainbow)

Spinning Rod - 66 (39 Wild Brook, 14 Stocked Brown, 6 Stocked Brook, 4 Wild Brown, 2 Stocked Rainbow, 1 Wild Tiger)

State Breakdown:
Pennsylvania - 81
New Jersey - 52
New York - 10