Well the holiday season is upon us once again. I love this time of year but it does cut into the fishing time. Instead of hitting the streams, the weekends are filled with putting up decorations, cutting down Christmas trees and entertaining. I’m not complaining but I need to find a way to get back on the water before it gets hard.
Speaking of cold weather, when it’s too cold and nasty to fish it’s a perfect time to engage in my second passion, fly tying. Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, many of us attended the International Fly Tying Symposium, in Somerset, NJ. Myself and two other chapter members even attended a fly tying class. Johan Klingberg from Sweden gave a class on Czech Nymph patterns that was excellent. If you interested in learning how to tie flies your in luck. Next month we start our fly tying classes. We run programs for all skill levels, from beginner classes to workshops for experienced tiers. The classes start the third Tuesday in January and will run on the third and fourth Tuesdays of the month January through March. You can sign up at our December and January meetings or get additional information from our website. We will also be hosting two fly tying demonstrations in the upcoming months. The first one will be on December 12 at the Michael’s Craft Store in Bound Brook and the second one will be at Efinger Sporting Goods on January 9th. Efinger’s will be running a fantastic sale on fly tying supplies during this demo so come out and see us and stock up of needed supplies.
Next month CJTU will have a presence at two area shows. The first event is the The Garden State Outdoors Sportsman Show at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison NJ (January 14-17). At this show we are in desperate need of volunteers to help man our booth. Specifically we need folks that are willing to assist us in teaching fly tying to the children. . You do not need to be an expert tier! If you can tie a Wooley Bugger you can help out! We also need folks to donate flies for us to sell during the show. I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you have already given us flies. The second show will be the Fly Fishing Show at the garden State Convention Center in Somerset NJ (January 22-24).
We have been knocking around a few ideas for fundraising this year. We will be sending out our annual raffle next month. It will be a TU 50th Anniversary package with a rod, reel and a bunch of other goodies. In addition we a looking into bringing back our annual banquet or maybe even hosting a golf tournament. For prizes to give away at these event we would like to ask our members to donate services. We have had offers for everything from guided fishing trips to refinishing of antique furniture. If you think you have a service you can provide please contact one of the board of directors or shoot me an e-mail.
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold a public forum to discuss freshwater fisheries culture, research, management and recreational angling in New Jersey on Saturday, December 5 at the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery in Warren County. The forum will begin at 10:00 am. Topics will cover all aspects of freshwater management, including both warm-water and cold-water fisheries. This year's forum will also include a new poster style session highlighting 2009 field sampling and fish culture activities, as well as license purchasing trends. The new format should encourage open discussions between anglers and professional staff from the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries, who will be on hand as well. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to share your views and recommendations regarding freshwater fisheries management in New Jersey!
Please remember that our December meeting is also our annual flea market. If you have any gear you are looking to get rid of bring it to the meeting. All we ask is that you donate a small portion of the proceeds back to the chapter. Set up will be around 6:00pm and we will open up an hour early at 7:00pm. In addition two of our chapter members will be giving a talk on center pin fishing. Have no idea what that is? Come out to the meeting and find out! Don’t miss it! Hope to see you there.
You can contact Bart at
The weather has been a bit unstable this fall. There has been loads of wet weather, warm days followed by cool days, but the fishing has been hot! I hope you have had a chance to enjoy it! There was also some pretty good dry fly action thrown into the mix as well which is always a plus. One thing that I have learned during this late season fishing spree is that my fly boxes are a mess. I was not as diligent as I have been in the past in keeping things organized. My dry fly boxes have nymphs , streamers and wet flies scattered about and visa versa. Not to mention all the holes that need filing. As colder weather sets in I start tying flies to fill all those holes in the boxes as well as experiment with new patterns. Recently I have been taking stock and noting what supplies I need to purchase. If you have such a list yourself you may wish to consider dropping by the Fly Tying Symposium at the Double Tree Hotel in Somerset NJ. The dates are November 21st & 22nd.
The weather has made it difficult to schedule some of the restoration work I mentioned last month. These projects are often dependant on good weather and stable stream flows. When we get word that they are a go we will send out an action alert e-mail.
CJTU is still moving forward with the Point Mountain stream work project. At this time we are still in a fund gathering stage. As soon as more information develops I will pass it on.
Next month we will be having our annual fishing flea market fundraiser at our December monthly meeting. If you have any fishing gear or other outdoor equipment that is good shape and you don’t use it anymore, please consider bringing it to the meeting and putting it up for sale. If it’s sold we ask for a small percentage to be donated back to the chapter. This event has been a success for us in years past. It puts money in your pockets just in time for the holidays and helps the chapter out at the same time.
There is still plenty of fishing to be had before the water gets hard so get out there and wet a line.
You can contact Bart at
Autumn has finally arrived. As I have said many times in the past this is my favorite time of year. Especially when it comes to fishing for trout. The crowds of spring are long gone despite the fact that many of our streams get a fresh influx of fish as part of the state’s fall stocking program. This fall looks especially promising on our wild and holdover trout waters due to the cool, wet summer that kept our trout streams in their best shape in years.
Every year I hesitate to encourage more people to fish in the fall months because I really do enjoy the solitude on the water. If you’re a springtime only trout angler give fall fishing a go. Truth be told, it has its challenges. Low stream flows and ultra clear waters mean long leaders and stealthy presentations. These are not the same fish you fished over this spring. Fish that have survived the summer dodging herons, ospreys and other predators are no longer na´ve hatchery trout. To survive the rigors of summer they have learned to live as wild fish do. Throw in falling leaves and acorns and you can have some interesting fishing.
Just yesterday I was fishing to a nice sized brown trout that was consistently rising. He was consistently rising in a difficult lie and several casts had missed their mark but had not put the fish down. I finally pulled of fthe cast, had a perfect drift and just as I saw the fish tilt up and began to rise to the surface an acorn the size of a silver dollar crashed into the water an inch from my fly. The fish turned and bolted downstream into the protection of deep water. Luckily it was not the only fish in the stream and plenty were brought to the net by days end.
There should be plenty of volunteer work available this fall. Stream restoration work on our dam removal site will be continuing. Speaking of dams there has been some progress made on work concerning several other dams on the Musky. I hope to have good news to share in the upcoming months. So keep a look out for our action alerts in your inbox. We will send them out when work dates are finalized.
Fall is also the time of year I brush off the fly tying gear and start filling all the empty spaces in the fly boxes. One thing my fly boxes have told me is that Czech/European nymphing has been very successful this season. I have more empty spots and tattered flies in this box then all my other boxes combined! Speaking of fly tying we have a great speaker lined up for you this month. Fishy Fullum, a renowned fly tier and artist will be presenting next week. Fishy is a regular contributor to FLY TYING magazine and the author of several books on the subject. Our November meeting will have a saltwater theme followed by our flea market and presentation by some chapter members in December. We have some good stuff coming up so I hope to see you out at a meeting.
You can contact Bart at
Well it's September and Central Jersey Trout Unlimited is gearing up for the fall season. Although we take two month break in our general meeting schedule over the summer, the board of directors still meet, but even our attendance is down due to family vacations etc. . I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer and is now ready to get back involved with Trout Unlimited. We have some great speakers lined up for this fall and possibly the beginnings of a very big project on the Point Mountain section of the Musconetcong River.
The upcoming fall season is my absolute favorite time of year to be on the river angling for trout. Trout fishing at this time of year is often overlooked as many of us turn our attention to the fields and forests to pursue hunting interests. The last thing I want is more company on my favorite waters this fall but I am still encouraging you to give fall fishing a try. You won't be disappointed. Just remember to keep an eye on those stream temperatures during the month of September. A warm spell can raise water temperatures and you want to avoid fishing for trout when the water temperature gets higher than 70 degrees to avoid stressing the fish. Typically once October rolls round high temperature spikes are rare.
You may have noticed that we have moved the fly of the month feature to our main website. We are always looking new fly patterns. If you have a killer pattern you would like to share drop me an e-mail and I will get it posted on our site. It can be your own design or a traditional favorite. Just send me a recipe for the pattern and a photo is possible as well as a few words on how and when you like to fish it.
Trout Unlimited held their national meeting in Michigan last month and five members from CJTU made the 14 hour drive out there. As usual we came back rejuvenated with plenty of ideas on how to improve our chapter and we even found a little time to squeeze in some trout fishing. I believe next year's meeting may be a little closer to home, possibly New Hampshire. Hopefully we can get another crew together to attend. Year after year, New Jersey is one of the best represented states at these events. This year they held a "9-hole" fly casting course. Foursomes of casters manipulated their flies around through and over obstacles, all trying to win the grand prize. An Orvis, Trout Unlimited 50th Anniversary, Superfine 8' 5 wt for each member of the foursome. I am very proud to announce that the New Jersey team took first place and came home with four of these rods valued at almost $600.00 a piece. In addition the New jersey State Council received The Council of the Year award and Rick Ege a long time Trout Unlimited member and past State Council Chairman also received a Distinguished Service award recognizing him for his years of dedication to the organization. All in all it was a very good trip!
This president's letter is going to be a short one; things are pretty busy on my end. I'm heading out to do some fishing, but of the warm water variety. As far as I know there are not too many trout swimming in state of Mississippi. There's camping gear to sort through and I have to blow the dust off of all the spinning and casting tackle. Going through my gear reminded me of a recent e-mail I received from someone that was interested in joining our chapter. His concern was that he was not a fly fisherman, but he WAS a trout fisherman. I assured him that we were not a fly fishing organization and he was more than welcome to join our chapter. Our correspondence got me thinking that we do tend to over emphasize fly fishing at times and some times the whole aspect of fishing tends to over shadows our primary mission to conserve, protect and restore New Jersey's cold water fisheries and their environments. We are at heart a conservation organization not a fishing club. So if you share some of the concerns of the above individual rest assured that we not are a fly fishing only group. The main reason that most of our speakers and presentations center on fly-fishing is because that is the most requested topic. If you would like to see some other topics covered during our presentations drop me a line.
Speaking of conservation I was excited to learn about the possibility of some work projects developing on our home stream the Musky. The final details have not been worked out yet, but we will share the info as soon as the project is solidified. As always when work projects come up we will send out an action alert with all the details.
As a reminder our meeting is this Tuesday (June16th). We had to schedule the meeting a week later because of a scheduling conflict with the hall. This week our speaker will be providing use with some valuable information on sharing our environment with our ever-increasing black bear population.
One final note the NJ Trout Unlimited State Council is hosting their 1st Annual Pig Roast/Barbeque on June 20th. Tickets for the event will be on sale at our general meeting this week. It looks to be a great event for the whole family, so come out and spend the day with us.
I took a break from fishing this week, though not by choice. A week of solid rain put most of our streams in flood stage. I'm not complaining though, because we desperately needed the rain. During most season openers the rivers are usually full of water, but this year water levels were way down making it look like early summer instead of April. I found water temps in the 70's last week on a stream that is well known for holdover fish, far too warm for this time of year. So don't be too disappointed about missing a few days of fishing, in this case it was a good thing.
Despite the low water it has been a great season so far. The weather has been great and there has been loads of fish. I'm looking forward to fishing the sulphur hatch and this month's fly of the month is one of my favorite patterns. Speaking of flies our chapter has started selling boxes of flies developed for specific local streams. These are time tested, effective patterns, tied by our members. Included are a dozen flies, a TU fly box and a fact sheet describing the patterns and offering fishing tips. You can pick them up at one of our meetings and if the concept takes off we may offer them for sale online.
This month's speaker is Aaron Jasper he will be giving a presentation on the methods of European nymphing. I am speaking from experience when I tell you that European nymphing is a highly effective nymphing technique. I started experimenting with the various styles of Euro nymphing and since then I have all but abandoned "traditional" nymphing methods. I encourage you to come out to the meeting and learn more about this technique and the flies used with it.
That's about it for now. We still expect some work projects to surface in the weeks to come so keep your eyes on your inbox for the next action alert.
Well its finally here...Trout Season! Yesterday was the season opener and though the weather was a little wet, by the looks of it plenty of folks were out on the water. For me the ritual of opening day has more to do with tradition than actual fishing. I don't believe I have missed an opening day since I started fishing at the age of 5. In the beginning opening day meant sitting on the banks of Diamond Mill Pond in Essex County with my father and his fishing buddies. I recall a particularly cold opening day when I spent most of the day huddled in front of a small bank side fire just trying to stay warm. By the time I was ten or eleven I started fishing with a fellow chapter member Lou Digena. I can count the number times on one hand that we haven't fished together on opening day. The first few trips were still with my father who carted us all over the state, every year fishing somewhere different. My first stream swimming trout was caught on one of these trips. I don't know the exact river, in fact Lou and I have searched for years trying to locate the exact stretch of water but have never been able to find it. It remains a mystery to this day.
Opening days with my father stopped the year I obtained my drivers license. With the ability to travel, opening day could find me on a half a dozen streams in a single day. After sampling the majority of trout water in North Jersey we finally settled into a routine. For the next 20 years or so opening day usually found us on the Flat Brook. First with spinning tackle, fishing waters that would be closed to all except the fly fisherman a few weeks after opening day. In fact the whole concept of closing certain waters to fly-fishing only is what got me started in fly-fishing. The desire to continue fishing that beautiful water is what drove me to take up fly-fishing. It was a tentative start at first; I only picked up the fly rod after I had caught my fill of fish with spinning gear.
I seldom slept much the night before opening day. The evening was usually spent gathering and arranging gear, collecting bait and lying in bed tossing and turning waiting for the 3:00 am alarm to go off. There were a few years where there was no sleep at all. It was tough staying awake driving to the stream in the middle of the night without any sleep, but I woke right up when I stepped into that icy stream in a leaky pair of canvas waders!
Then there was the year that I decided to hang up the spinning rod. I was jumping into fly-fishing with both feet. I had made the decision to fish the entire season with nothing but a fly rod. If I recall correctly it was the first and only opening day that I blanked. But the failure was short lived; I started to figure out what I was doing and catch rates went up. Then I started catching more fish than I ever had using spinning gear. I was hooked! The spinning rod has never come down off the wall and I have never looked back. In more recent years my opening day begins on the night before when I meet with friends on a small section of the South Branch of the Raritan. We eat like kings, cooking steaks and potatoes over the fire, and spend the evening swapping lies before retiring to our vehicles for the evening. Many of us have made alterations to our vehicles to ensure a good nights rest, removing seats, installing cots and beds, in short turning the family car into a RV!
This year I did not get as much sleep as I normally do, but not for the usual reasons. As I retired to my vehicle around midnight I learned that I had locked my self out of my truck. I have no objection to spending a night outdoors, but in addition to spending a rainy night outside all my gear was locked in the vehicle. Missing an opening day was not an option. So I woke a friend out of bed who lived a few miles away, borrowed his truck and spent the next 2 hours driving home and back to get a spare set of keys.
At 6:00am I rolled out of my sleeping bag a little groggy but no worse for the wear. After a filling streamside breakfast I returned my friend's truck and was on the water by for the official start of the season at 8:00am. Just about the time it started to rain...
First off, I would like to apologize for this issue of Main Stream arriving a little late to your inbox. The delay was my fault; in fact this letter was the cause. We all get a little busy with life sometimes and this was one of those weeks for me. I would love to say that I have been busy fishing or otherwise enjoying these recent spring like days but unfortunately that was not the case. I did get out over the weekend to spend a little time streamside, but I did not get the opportunity to fish. The river (the South Branch) looked great, a little low for this time of year but perfect for fishing. I saw a few little black stones around and even saw one fish feeding on top. I will definitely head out during the week and give it a go. Remember the season closes on most waters in a few weeks so if you are a early season angler your running out of time before the opening day madness begins.
Keeping on track with the fishing discussion I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a new program we are interested in starting up. In recent months we have been talking a lot about getting members involved in chapter activities. At a recent board of directors meeting it was discussed that perhaps the organization could find ways to give back to its members. One of the ideas discussed was a "mentoring program". This would involve teaching folks more about the sport of trout fishing and the conservation of our cold water resources. The main focus would be fly-fishing but if some one was interested in spin fishing I'm sure we could accommodate them. The program would involve on and off stream instruction, casting lessons, and streamside tours of local fishing waters. At this writing I have about six people that are willing to help out with the instruction end of things and a few more waiting in the wings if the program takes off. I'll be talking more about this during this week's meeting. As soon as we finalize the details I will send out more information. As we head into spring there will be a lot going on with Central Jersey Trout Unlimited. There will be several work projects coming up and we also have our annual river clean up on April 18th. You can find out more information on the river clean up in this month's newsletter. We also have a trip out to the Connetquot River scheduled for April 23rd, see Hal Fish at the meting for more information.
In the upcoming months we will be offering a few more fishing related items for sale at our meetings and possibly through our website in the near future. One item will be fly selections specifically designed for local waters. These selections will include additional information about the selected flies along with hatch charts for select times of year. The fly selections will be broken down by the season or time of year so you can head out to the stream with only the flies you need. We are also looking to sell other items such as hand tied leaders for specific fishing techniques and some other hard to find items. As another way to help us raise funds we are also considering having a 50/50 at our monthly meetings in addition to or as a replacement to our usual bucket raffles. We will be experimenting with it over the next few months to see if it is viable for us. The chapter is starting for feel the effects of our failing economy just like each one of us and we need to come up with additional ways of raising money. That being said, if anyone has any suggestions on how the chapter can be more effective with its fundraising efforts please share them with us.
That's it for now. I hope to see you all at one of our upcoming meetings or out on the water somewhere.
Winter is finally here! Although it has been officially winter for almost two months, the weather was unseasonably warm at the start of the season. For the last few weeks the ground has been covered with snow the lakes and ponds have frozen over and ice starting to close off some of our smaller streams. But there are sure to be some warmer days in the mix. The weatherman (if you believe him) says it could hit 50 degrees or more in the next few days. A couple of days of above freezing temperatures, especially several days of 40 or 50 degree temps and a good days fishing is a definite possibility. Although trout don't feed with the frequency they do during the warmer months, they still need to eat during the winter. If you fish a slow and deep enough presentation over the right water you can catch fish all winter long. When you have mid winter days in the 50's it can even be enjoyable, and you may even run into a hatch or two. Midges hatch all year long, and little black stoneflies make their first appearances during February and March. Most anglers miss this important stone fly hatch. One of my favorite little black stone fly imitations is pictured below. Louis Digena, a C.J.T.U. member, designed this particular pattern, which was featured as the fly of the month in March 2008. You can find more information on the fly by visiting the fly of the month web site.
If the right weather conditions are present you can experience a good day of dry fly fishing in the middle of winter. Other insects such as blue winged olives are also a possibility. So although nymph fishing is generally the rule during the winter, a little dry fly action is always a possibility.
Last month was a busy month for Central Jersey Trout Unlimited. We had a presence at two shows in January. We also kicked off our 2009 fundraiser. This year we are raffling off a complete bamboo fly outfit. If you purchased raffle tickets from us in the past we mailed this years raffle to you. If not you can still purchase them at a general meeting or before the drawing at the Pequest open house April 4-5, 2009.
We have a lot of great speakers lined up for our upcoming meetings. I hope you can make it out to the meetings. Please make a note that our June general meeting will not be on its usual date. Due to a conflict with the hall we will be having our meeting on the third Tuesday of the month (June 16). Please make a note of the change. I will make an effort to remind everyone of the change several times in the months to come.
Well folks, the holidays are behind us and my thoughts are turning towards springtime. There is still plenty of winter ahead of us but fortunately there are a few fishing related activities coming up in the next few months. This is the time of year for the outdoor shows and we have two major shows in our area this month. First is the Garden State Sportsman Show at the Raritan Center in Edison. The show dates are January 8-11, 2009 and Central Jersey Trout Unlimited will have a big presence there. In addition to spreading the word about T.U. we will be conducting fly tying lessons for the kids and selling flies tied by or members. Our stock of flies was running a little low and I was worried that we would not have a good selection to offer for sale. Luckily one of our members, Leon Cheeka, came to our rescue. In one months time Leon tied 42 DOZEN flies!!! So, if you looking to restock your nymph box stop by our booth.
Closer to the end of the month (January 23-25, 2009) the Fly Fishing Show will be at the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset NJ. C.J.T.U. will have a presence at that show as well. Look for us in the lobby area before you enter the main hall.
We also have a few Chapter related activities taking place in the upcoming months. We will be starting up our fly tying classes in two weeks. The classes are held on the third and fourth Tuesdays of January, February and March. We will be offering classes for tiers of all skill and experience levels. The fee is $50.00 plus the cost of materials. You can get additional information by visiting our website.
My apologies go out to those of you have been checking out the fly of the month site for the January pattern. I was a little late in getting it up. This month we are featuring a wet fly pattern that was mentioned in an article featured in Main Stream this month.
Central Jersey Trout Unlimited will be hosting a fly tying demonstration at Effinger Sporting Goods in Bound Brook, New Jersey on Saturday February 7th between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm. If you looking to get out of the house and shake off the winter blues come out and visit us there. Our fly tiers will be tying cold-water, warm-water and salt-water patterns. It's a great opportunity to check out what the hot patterns are these days, ask questions and pick up a few tips. We hope to see you there!
I am please to announce that Jack Walsh won our rod giveaway. Jack won a Sage fly rod. His name was randomly selected from a list that included all of you who signed up for this newsletter. I want to thank everyone who provided us with an e-mail address, allowing us to keep you informed on the activities of Central Jersey Trout Unlimited
Our 2009 fundraising raffle was delivered to the post office today and should be hitting your mailboxes any day now. Back by popular demand our prize is bamboo fly fishing outfit with a load of other goodies thrown in for good measure. This raffle is our sole source of funding so please consider purchasing a ticket or two and in the process ensure that Central Jersey Trout Unlimited will be able to continue in its mission to protect the cold-water fisheries in our home state.