Monday, June 22, 2009

Fly Fishing Rockaway Creek

Today, Jackie and I stopped at Rockaway Creek on our way to see my family in Hackettstown. Last week I had zero success fishing this cold and clear mountain stream. Today, however, I caught a 12 inch wild brown trout on a size 14 gummy stonefly nymph. It was a beautiful fish and was easily one of the largest wild trout I've caught in New Jersey. Rockaway is a wonderful stream; the spot, though, will remain a relative secret.

I am always struck by the level of achievement I feel after catching only one wild trout. There's something entrancing about landing a wily native, or a smart wild fish. It's not that these types of trout are necessarily better than their stocked counterparts; instead, catching a wild trout in New Jersey encourages fantasies about what eastern trout fishing was like before the advent of highway systems, the implementation of planned suburbs, and the popularity of detrimental stocking programs. For me, catching one 12 inch wild brown means more than landing a dozen 15 inch stocked fish.

Image #1 - Rockaway Creek
Image #2 - Wild brown trout from Rockaway Creek


Overall Total: 85

River Breakdown:

Teetertown Brook - 17 (17 Wild Brook)
Raritan River, South Branch - 12 (8 Stocked Rainbow, 3 Stocked Brown, 1 Wild Brown)
Marshalls Creek - 8 (8 Wild Brook)
Elk Creek - 5 (5 Wild Brown)
Elk River - 5 (3 Stocked Rainbow, 1 Stocked Brook, 1 Wild Brown)
Penns Creek - 5 (5 Wild Brown)
Spring Creek - 5 (4 Wild Rainbow, 1 Wild Brown)
Stony Brook - 4 (4 Stocked Rainbow)
Paulinskill River - 4 (2 Stocked Brook, 2 Stocked Rainbow)
Bushkill Creek - 3 (2 Stocked Rainbow, 1 Stocked Brown)
Fishing Creek - 3 (3 Wild Brown)
Lost Cove Creek - 3 (2 Wild Rainbow, 1 Wild Brook)
Brodhead Creek - 2 (1 Stocked Brown, 1 Wild Brown)
Roaring Run - 2 (2 Wild Brook)
Hickory Run - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Little Glade Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Mill Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Mud Run - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Poplar Run - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Rockaway Creek - (1 Wild Brown)
White Deer Creek - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)


Species Breakdown:

Brook Trout - 36
Wild - 32
Stocked - 4

Brown Trout - 25
Wild - 19
Stocked - 6

Rainbow Trout - 24
Stocked - 18
Wild - 6


Wild Trout - 57
Stocked Trout - 28


Trout 15+ Inches: 4


Fly Breakdown:
Olive Wooly Bugger, size 14 - 19 (19 Wild Brook)
Bead-head Pheasant Tail Nymph, size 14 - 10 (8 Stocked Rainbow, 2 Stocked Brown)
Tan Caddis, size 14 - 5 (5 Wild Brown)
Sulphur dun, size 16 - 4 (2 Wild Rainbow, 1 Wild Brook, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Bead-head Copper John Nymph, size 16 - 3 (3 Wild Brook)
Black Caddis, size 14 - 3 (2 Wild Brown, 1 Stocked Brown)
Gummy Stonefly, size 14 - 3 (2 Wild Brown, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Bead-head Black Stonefly Nymph, size 10 - 2 (1 Stocked Brown, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Brown Stonefly nymph, size 10 - 2 (1 Stocked Brook, 1 Stocked Rainbow)
Green Weenie, size 14 - 2 (2 Wild Rainbow)
Bead-head Green Weenie, size 14 - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)
Bead-head Hare's Ear Nymph, size 14 - 1 (1 Stocked Rainbow)
Blue Quill, size 16 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Blue Winged Olive, size 18 - 1 (1 Wild Rainbow)
Golden Stonefly, size 8 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Scud, size 16 - 1 (1 Wild Rainbow)
Sulphur dun, size 14 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)


Angling Breakdown:

Fly Fishing Rod - 60 (23 Wild Brook, 13 Stocked Rainbow, 12 Wild Brown, 6 Wild Rainbow, 4 Stocked Brown, 2 Stocked Brook)
Spinning Rod - 25 (9 Wild Brook, 7 Wild Brown, 5 Stocked Rainbow, 2 Stocked Brook, 2 Stocked Brown)


State Breakdown:
New Jersey - 39
Pennsylvania - 35
North Carolina - 9
Virginia - 2

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