Saturday, July 31, 2010

07.31.10 Nice numbers from the Upper Delaware

Nice surprise I got this morning looking at the USGS gaughing station reports. The West Branch at Hale Eddy is running at 853 cfs at 47 degrees, and the Mainstem down at Lordville is 878 cfs at 65 degrees. Although the Main and East Branch are running cooler thanks to the break in the hot weather we've had, both could use more volume. We need some good rain, over a couple of days.

Friday, July 30, 2010

07.30.10 Crabbing the day away

Today Ryan, Sean, and I spent the afternoon crabbing in the Shark River Inlet. We had a blast, even though we only caught two keeper (over 4-1/2) inch crabs. 80 bucks to get rigged up, 2 crabs, that's 40 bucks apiece. Can't complain, I needed to get myself new nets and drop lines and a set of crab tongs, and something else I can't remember. But, later on Sean and I had to drop off Ryan so he could run the streets of Red Bank with his friends, so we hit the Navesink River at Marine Park, and, we brought our A game. This time we caught about 50 and kept about two dozen. By the time we got home Sean was dead alseep so Ryan and I cooked them up, old school style. Big pot, some water and vinegar, a box of Old Bay Seasoning, and we were off. Looks like we'll be picking through them tomorrow.

Fly fishing? What's that. Soon the blues will be around, then the stripers. I will be in PA the second week of August so I'll be back to one of my favorites, the Lackawanna. Then after I get back I'll be heading up to Roscoe for a few days, and then the Adirondacks in September, and then it's fall in the Catskills.

I'll be running fall trips on the Upper West Branch, single client trips down the river in the pontoon boat, or two client walk and wade trips. Give me a call to reserve a day-732.261.7291

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

07.26.10 Out to sea for The New York Times

Sunday night started what turned out to be a great, but long assignment. We're doing a dining assignment on, well can't say exactly just yet, but it has to do with New Jersey and fishing, fish, fish markets and eating fresh fish. I started the assignment heading out to sea with a local fishing boat. We spent 12 hours fishing. It was a great time and the water was flat and air cool. I tried a few different cool things to make a few good images. The one above is probably my favorite. I was using our Mark III, which was fine, but wish I had a full frame sensor camera, and one that I could have pushed the sensitivity, (ASA, ISO whatever it is) up a few stops higher without the noise. It continued back on land for the morning. By 11 am I was getting tired so I went home and crashed for a bit before getting up and heading south on the Garden State Parkway for the last leg of the job. This was part was a simple dining assignment. Great place, good crowd, okay light. It should make for a good spread, or slide show. Stay tuned for the publish date.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

07.24.10 Back behind the oars

So it's about 150 degrees out and I decided to load up my two man pontoon boat, my son, a few waters and hit my local watering hole, Deal Lake. This lake is about 150 feet from my house and is a 157 acre lake that feeds into the ocean. It allegedly holds large bass, and ridiculously huge carp. There is also a heavy migratory herring population that spawns in the lake, and occasional stripers that find their way into the brackish eastern end. We dropped in at the launch in Asbury Park and Sean started throwing Mister Twisters and small spinnerbaits to the algae tinged water. The water in the lake is always stained, but with the scorching heat wave we've been in, the algae blooms are in full force and the water is more green than brown. I had a strong headwind on the way up the lake, but it felt good to get a workout behind the oars. The pontoons don't respond well in the wind, so it was that much more work. We stayed out for about 2 1/2 hours with only a few short strikes on the spinnerbait. Below is a picture from the Deal Lake Commission's website boating and fishing section, which says the largemouth bass are quite healthy, mmmmmm.
Deal Lake Commission image

There's tons of docks and structure and lily pads so hitting this with the fly rod would be a lot of fun. There must be crappies, perch or sunnies in there to feed bass, like the one above, is they still are in the lake. More to follow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

07.21.10 Archer boys at it again.....this time before the sunrise

Alright, break out the fly rods. Yesterday I said to my new fishing buddy, "Wanna go fishing tomorrow?". I got an excited "Sure" in response and had Sean check the tide chart. Todays high tide was around 430 am so I figured we'll wake up at 5 and get there before camp drop offs, work, and my 11 am MRI of the brain appointment. So after a quick stop at 7-11 for some hot chocolate and coffee we got down to the jetty and fishing by 530, and
by 610 he was done. There was a few guys striper fishing in the surf, and no one on the jetty but us. You know what that's like, you're either a genius or a fool by being there. Well it's always easier for kids to think their dads a fool. And without a bite, today I was a fool. To change things up I had Sean cast some big rapalas hoping he would get into a striper or bluefish, that didn't work. Now I was a bigger fool. However, all was not lost. We caught (found) " Tell the gang I caught it", a small shark that someone had caught overnight and left on the jetty? Why would they do that? Is it that much of a menace? Anyway we took some shots and took it home to show the girls. I tried the, "That's why they call it fishing and not catching speal", and that got me a, "Yeah, yeah." So next time it's korkers and fly rods and risking our lives to get out to the end of the jetty to reach some fish that may be stalking the rocks! Kidding, at least we found the shark.

I'm no camera or techno guru, far from it, but one last thing. The 10 megapixel Olympus Stylus Tough is about the worst point and shoot I have seen. It looks okay if you want pictures that are no bigger than the size above. Soft, grainy aka noisy, ect. I like the waterproof option and underwater and all, but never use it. It's good to document an outing for the blog, but if you want quality and to see it any bigger, you're out of luck.

07.20.10 Received my new Orvis TLS Power Matrix 9ft 9wt

Last month I snapped my Trident TLS 9ft 9wt 4 piece rod while striper fishing. I sent it in to Orvis for repair and today got a replacement TLS Power Matrix in the mail. It's the same rod, 9ft 9wt, 4 piece. My Trident was a tip flex, and I requested the same if it had to be replaced. They did send a tip flex, but when I look in the online catalog I don't see a tip flex option available. Mmmm. I am going to cast it today and see how it is. Two months ago I snapped my Silver Label TL and they sent a TLS Power Matrix and it seemed nice, until I used Joe DeMarkis' Helios, the two are miles, hundreds of thousand of miles apart. I also see the TLS Power Matrix line on Orvis' website is now being drastically reduced in price. Maybe a mid to upper range line is coming soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

07.18.10 I think I forgot what fishing is all about

I'm mad at myself. I allowed myself to get caught up in all the hype about what and how fishing is and how to do it. I think along the way I forgot what fishing is really about, FUN. I have been fly fishing for nearly twenty years. I couldn't wait to have kids. I would take them fishing, fly fishing of course. We were going to be the Macleans from A River Runs Through It. And that's what I did. When they were young, like 3 and five, I stuck fly rods

in their hands and took them, well fishing? They caught few fish. And I think they started to not like fishing. When they did have a pole with bait on it, they caught fish, but they always looked over to fishing...catching a hundred sunnies to their one...all the while explaining that the sunnies couldn't lay off the small poppers or nymphs. And then they didn't want to go. Not
after the custom Fran Betters fly rods, neoprene waders and stocking foot boots, and promises of big fish in beautiful settings. They just wanted to catch fish. Last week the kids got home from 10 days in Hilton Head where my ex told me Sean found a crab trap and couldn't stop crabbing, she told him, " Your dad would be so proud. You are such your dads son." That rung a big clanging bell in my head. That's what I used to like to do....go fishing and catch fish...tons of them. And boy did I, growing up fishing bass and pickerel farm ponds, then when I got my license it was New Jersey trout streams, then a little older it was into PA and NY. But that's what I liked to do when I was a kid. I caught them, kept them, and sometimes we ate them.

It was true, I killed more then I ate, our freezer always had some super freezer burnt fillets covered in aluminum foil in the back...and that's where all this conservation "nuttiness" that is going on today is good and true. Maybe I should have released more when I was a kid, but those were different times. And todays times are different, sort of.
I am reading the new issue of Fly Rod & Reel, and there has been great debate about an angler who kept and killed a record steelhead. In the latest issue, David Seligman, a philosophy professor at Ripon College in Wisconsin wrote into the editorial, "Don't get me wrong; I release many times the number of fish that I keep and kill for the table. I do so, even in stocked fisheries, but I continue to fish and to release fish even after I have killed one or, on most days, even when I have decided to kill none. But in doing so, I confront the reality of my sport, namely that I am engaging in a practice for my own pleasure that, regardless of whether fish feel pain, is clearly not in the best interest of the fish. So please, spare me the self-righteous platitudes on behalf of those magnificent animals. I treasure the experience of bringing them to hand or to net, savoring their beauty, their strength and their fighting spirit. But the only thing that one can do that is purely and completely aimed at the good of the individual fish is to refrain from fishing altogether." And I thought that was well said. When I was up in the Adirondacks and my family said, "Maybe you could catch us some dinner!" my gut feeling was horror that I would even think of killing trout for a dinner. Am I crazy! Have I drank too much of the juice!
I do what everyone else does, join the local TU chapter, fly fish, pinch barbs, use thermometers, and practice catch and release. Clean up the rivers, help the kids with Trout in the Classroom. Read the magazines. Write the politicians to stop the gas drilling. But what I forgot about, aside from all that, is that when you take your kids might have just have to leave that stuff behind for a while. Still be respectful, don't wast the resource...but you can use bait, and you can keep legal fish.
So with that on Sunday, Sean and I went over to the local big chain sports shop and purchased him a new rod, some rigs, hooks, and weights. I dug out some old squid strips I had in the freezer and we went down to the 8th Ave jetty to fluke for a few hours. And we had a blast. Normally I would be next to him with my fly rod duck-n-chucking some combo of conehad weights and bucktails trying to catch a fluke. But today we sat there like gentlemen on chairs with our fluke rig/Gulp!/squid strip setups out off the jetty. Sean caught a huge sea robin and
me two short fluke. It was a blast. Sean's mom stopped down to say hello, and later Cindy brought us dinner to have while we fished. I would have to say it was easy to fish with bait and weight in the saltwater. I'm not a real saltwater guy. The real test would be doing that in freshwater, and if therapy goes well, in a trout stream.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

07.15.10 After Montreal, back in the USA, some fishing, and then back to Jersey

The honeymoon's over they say. Quick recap from the last few days. Montreal was great. Ate way too much. Hotel was great. Ate too much. And oh yeah, ate too much. Came back across the border. Picked up my truck from Excel Transmissions in Plattsburgh where it was finally, hopefully, fixed for good. Took the next day to scout and fish the Salmon River up near the border. Nice water, tough access. Fished the bridges that get stocked and pounded for sure. Didn't catch, move, or see a fish. Flipped some rocks to see what nymphs were home, a few hendricksons. Spent some time in Saranac Lake with my sister. Ate some more. Fished a cooler, 66 degree, section of the upper West Branch one night and caught a bunch on stupid small ( sixe 20 and 22) nymphs and emergers along River Road. Woke up this morning and fled the North Country and headed back to New Jersey. The kids and my ex beat us home after their own 10 day trip down to Hilton Head.

Now it's back to life in New Jersey.

Monday, July 12, 2010

07.12.10 Waking up in Old Montreal

It's not fly fishing but in order to chronicle this North Country trip, this morning we're having breakfast in bed overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. Fly fisherman and writer Chris Roslan and his wife Dena frequent Montreal and suggested this hotel, Auberge du Vieux-Port, which has been fantastic. Be back in the good old USA tomorrow, and then some fishing on Wednesday.

07.11.10 Back to usual on the West Branch of the Ausable

This is the view Cindy and I had from our lodges deck over looking the West Branch of the Ausable River. Luckily the air temps have broke around here after the heat wave that hit the entire east coast the last week or so. We were actually cold when we woke up early this morning! After breakfast I went up and talked with this angler who had caught a couple of fish using a two fly set up, weighted nymph as an anchor fly, topped with a smaller emerger. The water was up and it was COOL!. I didn't bring my thermometer but it was definitely in the 5o's. This poor guy has the same condition I have, lovesflyfishingitis, and makes the trek from Morristown, New Jersey 3 of the 4 weekends each month. For those that don't know, it's 360 miles one way! Hopefully this weather is the start of something good, although we still have most of July and Ausgust to go. I don't like the numbers I'm seeing on the Delaware- Lordville just above a 1,000 cfs and 73 degrees! Hope they release some water soon, and steady at that. Since the West Branch of the Delaware has been the only game in town, every fish in that river probably has been caught and released more than once.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

07.10.10 Putting in a new dock and fishing a remote Adirondack pond

Spent late last night photographing a small army of bugs, including a big hex (hexagenia limbata) that I found in a spiders web in Wilmington while out for some late night ice cream. This morning I finished the photo session with this stonefly and some cahills and olives that I found. Then it was off to Oceeta Lake to help my sister and her man put in an 80 foot dock at their property. The dock installation went well until I lost my footing and landed square on one of the dock supports, looking kind of like a male gymnast falling on a

balance beam! Ouch. After that I headed over to a remote deep woods pond for a shot at some brook trout, and if I could get it down to the 60 foot depths, a lake trout. Eric came along and we had to put the canoe on wheels to wheel it what seemed a half a mile to get to the pond. 
I added a super fast sink tip and a 3x tippet and first tied on a cone head black wooly bugger and then a double bunny. I rowed the canoe around slowly trolling in about 30 feet of water with no luck. I did see a rise here and there, and did see some big hexes coming off the water. At around 6 o'clock the rest of the gang called me, glad I didn't get an iphone, and said they were going to eat and they would either pick me up then or later. I'm just not a from-the-boat-pond-or-lake guy, so I put the wheels on the canoe and started out. I went about 10 feet before they fell off. Luckily Eric came to check on me and gave me a hand getting back to the big lake. 

Off to Montreal in the morning!

Friday, July 9, 2010

07.09.10 Shooting for Catch Magazine on the Saranac River

Today I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Richard Garfield, fly fishing guide and owner of Fly Fish the Adirondacks (, who helped me out with my shoot for Tom Moen and Brian O'Keefe's - Catch Magazine ( My spread will be in the first 2011 issue and will focus on the fisheries that I am familiar with here in the tri-state area. Last night we got pounded with rain in Ausable Forks so at first light I was back where the fish kill was yesterday. The West Branch of the Ausable was up about 6 inches, but the temps were still high, two degrees off yesterday at 74. Then I met up with Rich at 730 on the Saranac River on the border of Saranac and Redford on Route 3 for a cool shoot near an old car bridge that crosses the river. Rich was game for anything and quickly he was in the river positioning himself in the nice early light and making some great casts to capture. I shot him
 from three different locations and was really happy with the images, even though I looked at them and did a quick edit on my 6 year old Powerbook whose screen is almost gray because it's been on for about a million hours. We were done in about an hour and a half and soon I was back in the Forks for breakfast. While I was reading the paper overlooking the West Branch I spotted a newly hatched isonychia bicolor dun that had just hatched. It's a shame the rivers are so low and hot, and unfishable at this time. I did stop into the Jones Outfitters in Lake Placed for a super fast sink tip to use on Saturday when I take a trek in the woods to a hidden pond that crystal clear, 60 foot deep, 45 degrees, and holds brook and lake trout! 

I shot this iso with and without my ringlight set up. When I get home I will do a little blog  on shooting bugs with the macro setup with lights and without.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

07.08.10 LARGE fish kill on the Ausable due to thermal stress

Woke up this morning around 6am and took a walk down to the river where the West Branch of the Ausable meets the East Branch. I first saw a dead trout on the river bottom and thought it might have been dead after a bad release or thermally stressed from the high temps as of late. Then I saw another, and another, and then it was twenty, thirty, forty, I stopped counting

 at fifty. Some of these fish were fingerlings, others a few pounds up to 19 inches. These fish seek refuge from the lower East Branch and Upper Mainstem of the Ausable in the large pool where the West Branch empties into. This morning, the temps in the fast riffles leading into that pool were 76 degrees. I also saw fish trying to swim through the warm water, obviously stressed and delirious. It was a sad sight. I drove up river a few miles and found no dead trout. Last night I saw seven guys fishing below the falls at Lake Everest. One guy caught a fish, fought in, took some pictures of it, passed it onto his wife, and then released it. Only to try and revive it for 15 minutes. I saw as he pointed the trout in the direction of the falls and push it back in to the deeper water. Surely that fish will become a raccoon snack. During these times it is so 
important to either cancel trips and just not fish, or find some deep lake or cold tailwater if you must. Carrying, and continually monitoring the water temps is crucial if you are going to fish. Things got really warm, and remain so on the Catskill streams, and that crisis is here and strong in the Adirondacks. I write this blog this morning from a bakery chain in Plattsburgh where I am able to get a wi-fi signal. Me and the Queen are off to Burlington for some shopping, looks like fishing is off the schedule for the next week. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

07.06.10 On my way to the North Country for a while

Leaving today for a weeks worth of the Adirondacks for an early honeymoon. Kids are all away so are we. We were going to float the West Branch but with the air temps and minimal water, well, they bumped up the release, I just checked and it was 566 at Hale Eddy, but we decided to not do it. So that means I'll be fishing the West Branch of the Ausable from my deck this evening. Blogs will be spotty as internet connection access are spotty up there. Be back next week!

Friday, July 2, 2010

07.02.10 A day late for the "big water" on the West Branch

Funny thing. The last two days we floated skinny water on the West Branch and Upper Main. Hale Eddy was running about 415 cfs. Well early this morning it was almost double that, over 800 cfs. It would have been nice to navigate that river with water in it. Right now, at 950 pm, it's 872 cfs. It's coming at just the right time, it's supposed to hot tthrough the weekend and the start of next week. I am planning on taking the Queen on a float on Tuesday, maybe Stilesville to Hale Eddy. Happy Fourth weekend !

06.30-07.01.10 Days 5 and 6 of the school on the Upper Delaware

Just getting around to blogging on days 5 and 6 of the guide school. Wednesday morning we were all up and out by 730 for the over 2 hour drive to Equinunk Pennsylvania were we would staying for the next two days. Joe DeMarkis' mentor Lee Hartman has a nice house up there and we dropped our stuff of and took the boats up to Hale Eddy for the Hale Eddy to Balls Eddy float. Brian and I were with Tim in an inflatable pontoon boat and the other group was in a Hyde. It was a good day when it was my time to row and working on positioning the boat to rising fish. We stopped at pools above the West Branch Anglers and made a few casts to sporatic risers. We also set up for lunch on the small island there. After lunch we got into some

fish below the cabins and above the Upper Gamelands. We made our way down river fished the Lower Gamelands and caught a good sulfur hatch just before dark, Tim had a good fish on that tossed the hook right at the boat. We boated throught the Mud Flats after dark and took out at Balls Eddy in darkness. By the time nightfall hit the temperatures were in the lower 50's and we were all a little tired and cold. We got back to Lee's place at 11 pm and Joe fired up dinner. It was a really good day for me to be able to float and row the West Branch. I am getting more comfortable with the idea of guiding on the West Branch every time I'm on it.

Todays is our last day of the school. We slept in late today waking up around 8am. Today Joe handed out the certificates that I talked about and broke chops about all week. Don't you know after all of that, he forgot mine. It was a another funny thing in a week of non stop laughter. After some breakfast and packing the lunches and packing up we headed out for the Balls Eddy to Stockport float. It has been cold these last few nights and the lower West Branch and Upper
Main Stem have cooled down making fishing possible again. Today Brian and I had Joe in the Hyde for the day. I took the oars first and rowed down to the first riffs were we fished nymphs through with only a bump to show for it. The water was skinny through a lot of the day and we had to get out and guide the boat through the shallow riffs. I caught one and missed one in the riffs above Caucci's Campground but it was slow before and after lunch when we stopped at Caucci's Pool and watched some rainbows splashy rise to some caddis emergers. After lunch Tim made some super long casts in strong wind to pick one up. Brian took the oars and took us through the Church Pool and to the top of the Hale Eddy riffs when Joe took over and put on a clinic going through in super skinny water with barely a rub or two on the rocks. It continued to be a slow fishing day but we had a blast and I got more good rowing and prospecting in. At the Junction Pool the other boat got out to fish and John had a good fish on for a minute before he got off. As we approached the next riffs a drift boat was set up throwing nymphs and as we
got close they pulled anchor and moved on, I think top get the first shot at the water below. At the top Brian layed into a nice strong rainbow that took his hares ear. There was still no action on the top so we just cruised and laughed while Joe took us down river. That was until we got to Lake Lenore. There were a few cahills, vitreous, and olives on the water and fish were rising to them here and there. Good rises made by good fish. I stuck the water there to see what the temperature was, 64 degrees. I told Joe when I saw a fish that was making more than one rise and got me to within 60 feet. He had given me an isonychia dry that he coated with some super floatant concoction that Tim had made. One cast within two feet and the rainbow nailed
it. He made a strong run and soon my fly line was out, followed by my backing. I saw the end approaching and asked Joe to row in the fishes direction. We made our way to shore and soon had the 16 inch bow in the net. After a quick hook out and picture he was the water and swam away. The next fish was even better. A few quick rises withing striking range with the the 5wt and I put it right one top of him and wham- another strong rainbow about 14 inches. Brian gave the next fish a shot but he was a one and done riser. As we move into the Stockport take out area I saw a great rise. I told Joe to drop anchor and made a good cast and did the countdown as the fly approached a seam to the outside of a rock in fast water. 3, 2, 1 boom! The fish hit hard and was strong in the fast water. I thought maybe we could net it from the boat and as it got close we could see the pod was swimming with the fish, it was a healthy, vibrant shad. And that ended the fishing day. At the launch we said out good byes and Brian took Joe and Tim to get the trailers at Balls Eddy and the other guys headed home to Erie, PA. When the guys got back we loaded up the trailers and we were all on our way. It was a great school. Had a ton of fun. Learned a lot and got plenty of time behind the oars on three different rivers. I definitely feel more confident after this long week.