Wednesday, January 20, 2010

01.20.10 Back to the KLG, and first fish of the year

It just seemed like the right thing to do. I had a part of the day free, last night was my TU meeting, the Fly Fishing Show is this weekend, and I had to fish. I headed back out to the South Branch of the Raritan River at the Ken Lockwood Gorge. We have had a little warmer temps then when I was here last week. The snow has melted, and the ice that covered the road along the river has melted. But the contractors are still using heavy machinery on the lower part so the road is closed. I got into the river around 1030, right below where I parked. I tried a black stone fly and soon moved a nice 15 inch brown from under large boulder and tree. I keep on him and he'd showed interest but never a take. On my last drift I put in the area and when I lifted the fly I felt the fish. Immediately he headed down into deeper water. He seemed to be "heavier" then the fish I saw. After a bit I realized he was foul hooked and shortly I had him below the surface removing the stonefly from his upper back. Nice way to start. I headed back up to the bridge figuring on hitting the lower, "bigger" water. This time I went above the bridge and fished down through the run in front of the new handicapped access. There was a guy fishing in the pool below that so I headed below and fished through to the faster water. Not a nothing. I switched the stonefly with an olive wooly bugger and went for the shallower, faster water. I know the fish are sluggish as their metabolism is slow. But I figured with the water at 40 degrees, and the air temps the same, and the sun hitting hard on the river every now and then- it just might be enough to get them to move. I fished down stream to where I spooked that big rainbow last week. I again was towards the other side of the river, so I worked all three rocks from the middle, and walked back upstream to work them from the road side bank. I was getting complacent since I couldn't find a fish or induce a strike. I was in a nice spot on the bank, and stood on some rocks to get a good shot at the water around the three large boulders. I worked the two with no results. Then I stripped

off some more line and made a cast to the front right side of the boulder above. The current took the fly and carried into and under the boulder. I felt a nudge, or so I thought. So went back again, same cast, this time I watched and waited as the fly line got to the same spot where I felt the nudge and lifted the rod tip. The fish was on. And it was a good one. It headed for the deeper water in front of the boulder and after a short while easily came over to the side. The fish was 17 inches and brightly colored. After the easy lip hook release it gently headed back to the deeper water under cover of the

of the boulder. That was a nice way to start fishing in 2010. I continued to fish the faster water, in an area where there seems a harder gradient change in the river. I caught two small, but pretty rainbows in the fast water. These fish were

quick to jump on the woolly bugger, striking it soon as it the water. On the way out I met a few guys who had fished the faster water below where I was. They saw a few flashes but that was it. We talked about the latest thing that seems to have gathered some steam, Czech Nymphing. I have recently been reading about it and listened to a podcast that local fly fisherman Aaron Jasper had done on it. It seems to be very productive, especially in water like at the KLG. Years ago I learned of a technique called high sticking that worked well on many of the New Jersey streams. It sounds like the two may be related. I can now breathe a sigh of relief and will able to enjof the fly fishing show just a little bit more after this outing!