Tag Archives: Blairstown

2017 New Jersey Trout Wrap Up

This year has been one of the strongest fishing seasons we have seen in years for the northwestern part of New Jersey. Cooler weather combined with high water has blessed us with remarkable conditions. This has been true for the Shad Run and New Jersey Rainbow Trout fishing. I say Rainbow Trout fishing because New Jersey has not stocked Brown or Brook Trout in a while. This does not mean they cannot be caught; it just limits the scope of locations where they can be caught.

A Good Guide Season So Far

Beginning in 2016 Knot Just Flies partnered with The Last Frontier Angler to offer guided Fly Fishing for Trout in the Paulinskill and Big Flat Brook. We also offer a Learn to Fly Fish course; Lake and Pond fishing (spin or fly) and Smallmouth float trips down the Delaware River. This has been a good year for our clients; many fish have been caught and released. Some of the stories end up on the Moose Knuckle Fishing blog for your entertainment and fishing pleasure.

Exploring New Areas

Last season, due to the drought and unseasonably warm weather the Trout season was cut a bit short and barely made it through the end of stocking season. This year we Trout fisherman are winning with the cool and rainy weather. Some of the Trout streams in New Jersey are impressive for their diversity of terrain. The majority of worm dunkers in this state cannot be bothered to walk half a mile to a good hole loaded with fish. Sometimes the best way to locate fish is to find the common stocking spots, go on Google Earth and scope out which way the stream heads deep into the woods then hoof it in.

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Tactics that Produce

You cannot go wrong with a basic inline nymph rig in New Jersey Jersey Trout streams. I like to tie on about four (4) feet of 3X tippet material, three (3) feet of 4X tippet material, then 18 inches of 5X tippet material all connected with a blood knot. I place an indicator way at the top, some split shot above the blood knot between the 4X and 5X material. At the end of the 5X tippet I tie on a general attractor pattern or something like a large stonefly. Then I tie a trailing fly onto the first hook with 5X material. This trailing fly is typically a midge or a bead head nymph (Prince, Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ear).

Another way I recommend to ply the water with various types of Woolly Buggers. Green, brown, red and black all do the trick depending on the water and time of day. The Woolly Buggers work the best swung in waist deep fast water. You can also affix a bit of split shot six (6) inches above the fly, this will pull the fly down in the water column if the fish are feeding closer to the bottom.

All in all, this has been a great season and the best part is that it is not over yet. New Jersey Fish and Wildlife is predicting several more weeks of Trout favorable conditions before the inevitable summer lull.

Balmy Memorial Day Weekend

We all look forward to the official start of the summer season and the beginning of fishing summer 2016. This year we were treated to the impending threat of Tropical Storm Bonnie, which despite of the risk of rain, brought some welcome hot weather to bookend our cool spring. The increasing temperatures livened up the action on the Paulinskill and other Trout streams throughout the preceding week.

Snapping Turtle
Snapping Turtle

Timing

I took off Friday from work and used both Friday and Saturday to work on my house project. Sunday was planned to be the day for fishing, an important choice because it is also the day of parades, limiting the foot traffic on the rivers. On warm to hot days like what the weathermen were predicting, the key to catching fish is to go early in the morning or late in the day. We started around 6AM in order to get in the holes just as the sun was rising.

This time of year, the river offers all the seclusion that you need.
This time of year, the river offers all the seclusion that you need.

Technique

This time of year is always a good time to break out the color green on the Paulinskill and other local waterways. You can use leverage either Woolly Buggers or Trout magnets. Knot Just Flies in Blairstown has even had a few custom flies spun up specifically for this time of year. A four or five weight Fly Rod or ultra-light weight spin tackle is all you will need.

Nice Rainbow caught on a Woolly Bugger.
Nice Rainbow caught on a Woolly Bugger.

Results

The Trout and Smallmouth have moved from there early and mid season holding locations. The heat is forcing them to seek springs, deeper pools and more oxygenated water. Unfortunately, we even noticed some dead Rainbow carcasses; these fish likely expired from the heat.

Nice Smallmouth caught on the tube.
Nice Smallmouth caught on the tube.

Plying the deep pools slowly and areas known to have cooler waters due to overhanging trees and brush yielded results quickly. The stocked Rainbow Trout have grown since they were first put in here; some of them are pushing over fourteen inches. The growth in these Trout is always nice to witness, as the strong ones tend to become holdovers lasting the entire year.

All of the spring 2016 broods are growing up!
All of the spring 2016 broods are growing up!

Some of the Smallmouth are still watching nests in the river; others are firmly in post spawn hunger mode now. The Smallmouth Bass in the river were sitting in more oxygenated and cooler pools. Looking for the bubbles in the current was a good indicator of potential holding locations. Mark also found that locating a nest was they key to landing a large one.

Formerly a stocked Rainbow that is now growing well.
Formerly a stocked Rainbow that is now growing well.

Let’s all pray for cooler and wet weather to keep the water comfortable and the fish eating.

A fawn hiding on an island in the river.
A fawn hiding on an island in the river.

A Warm December

“Walk On, don’t look back, don’t ask questions, don’t you try to understand.” John Hiatt

Tiger Trout caught in Wood Duck Pond at the Lazy "K" Ranch.
Tiger Trout caught in Wood Duck Pond at the Lazy “K” Ranch.

Egg Gobbling Bows

Late autumn in New Jersey opens up a wide world of outdoor sports for our densely populated state. The state dumps over fifty thousand breeder Trout into our small stream and rivers. Not to mention the holdovers which have been particularly good since the rebooted stocking began in earnest last fall. The local holes are teaming with eager Rainbow Trout that have been feeding actively since the spring or are former brood stock set loose. These Bows have a particular affinity for juicy eggs or imitation fly eggs.

Rainbow Trout caught by Brenton on the Big Flatbrook.
Rainbow Trout caught by Brenton on the Big Flatbrook.

The two rivers we at MKFF frequent the most are the Paulinskill and The Flatbrook, these two watercourses situationally exist in the last frontier of New Jersey. A land still graced with farm fields and forests within an hour of Manhattan. These two freestone streams, typical of of the mid-Atlantic region both flowing into the Delaware River, offer a surreal retreat from the Megalopolis.

My Bow caught in the Paulinskill.
My Bow caught in the Paulinskill.

If you confine your fishing to the best of day, ten AM to two PM and then take a lunch, you will be pleasantly surprised out here. The weather has been unseasonably warm, I suspect due to a congregation of factors (El Nino) and two brutal winters in a row. Needless to say, the recommendation is to tie on a size eight or ten egg fly, add some weight, tie on an indicator and locate some pools. The Bow’s are fattening up for a winter that may never come and gorging themselves on eggs.

Christmast Eve was a washout due to the Chocolate milk conditions.
Christmast Eve was a washout due to the Chocolate milk conditions.

Fly Tying Courses

Moose Knuckle Fishing is proud to announce the formation of winter fly tying courses at Knot Just Flies in Blairstown, NJ. The two-hour sessions will be held on most Sundays (11AM to 1PM) during the winter. They will be progressive in nature, starting with the simplest Brassie, moving through the Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail nymph. The courses will culminate in March with dry flies.

These fly tying courses are geared to the beginner and will be helpful to intermediate fly tiers as well. Though the courses will be progressive it is entirely possible to miss one and come to the next course. The textbook to follow through this course will be Charlie Craven’s, “Basic Fly Tying.” We recommend picking up a copy at Knot Just Flies once the course gets started.

Please contact Knot Just Flies for details. The cost for these courses will be $20 to cover supplies and materials.

Knot Just Flies

Phone: (862) 233-9229

Address: 61 State Route 94, Blairstown, NJ 07825

Time: Most Sunday’s 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Instructor: Christopher Kuhn (MKFF) and guests

Cost: $20

Schedule

Sunday December  6th 2015 – 11:00AM to 1:00PM – The Brassie

Sunday December 20th 2015– 11:00AM to 1:00PM – The Black Beauty (Zebra Midge)

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Knot Just Flies

Blairstown, NJ is a bucolic small town in a bustling state, surrounded by first class fishing and hunting opportunities. The working farms, hunting clubs, preserved land and overgrown bush combine to make this town and northern Warren County a sportsmen’s paradise. Even so, there has not been a sporting goods store in this town since Red Hawk Outfitters closed more than a decade ago.

The sales counter at Knot Just Flies
The sales counter at Knot Just Flies

Thanks to local business owner Valentino Mota, this has all changed, for the better. Val has opened Knot Just Flies at the Valero on Route 94. Conveniently located in front of the Paulinskill River as it meanders through Blairstown. Val has opened his store as an authentic general store of Fly Fishing, angling and hunting supplies. In the modern world of ecommerce, something that he has experience in, brick and mortar retail stores need to carry the items you need on the spot before a day of sporting adventures. This is what Val will provide to our community.

Flies geared to your local waters.
Flies geared to your local waters.

Knot Just Flies caters to a wide market of sportsmen or woman and the equipment they need. By stopping here you will be able to spend more time fishing or hunting and less time driving to far away outfitters. He is conveniently opened 7AM to 7PM Tuesday through Saturday and 7AM to 5PM on Sunday. Mondays the store is closed.

Deer corn and shooting clays are in stock.
Deer corn and shooting clays are in stock.

Knot Just Flies is a full service Fly Shop right in the heart of Warren County Fly Fishing country. Located less than half an hour from every major Trout stream in the area including the Paulinskill, Flat Brook, Pequest and the Musconetcong. Not to mention the Delware River Smallmouth and Shad fishery. Val spends a great deal of time cultivating the new entrants into the sport and creating the next generation of Fly Fishing. As such, he offers daily rental packages and you can arrange a Fly Fishing lesson through the store.

Fly tying supplies, enough to get started on most local patterns.
Fly tying supplies, enough to get started on most local patterns.

The location literally has a little bit of everything you need to pursue your hobby. It is a general store of outdoor sports, preventing you from ruining your day by forgetting gloves in the cold or sinkers for cat fishing. Freshwater angling supplies, wingshooting necessities, archery supplies, Bass baits, live baits, catfish baits, ice fishing supplies and some saltwater tackle are all here. To make it even more convenient for people in the area, Val is stocking some Salmon and Steelhead supplies at reasonable prices to prevent you from getting price gouged in upstate New York this fall.

Angling supplies for Bass and Catfish.
Angling supplies for Bass and Catfish.

Val got into fishing at a young age with his father introducing him to the sport. It has been his dream to open up a fly and tackle shop, when the opportunity presented itself he seized it! He has extensive experience selling products through ecommerce; therefore, you will find reasonable prices throughout the store. According to Val, “This shop is geared to the community, products I sell are effective in this community. Whatever is on the wall is here for our local anglers.”

We have famous Thomas Trout lures.
They have famous Thomas Trout lures.

Some name brands available at the store include, but are not limited to, Redington, Rio, CP Swings and Thomas Lures. Any item you could purchase at Bass Pro shops can be ordered right in Blairstown! We hope to see you in the store soon.

Contact Info:

Memorial Day Trout

A few of my favorite freedoms I thank America's armies for defending.
ATF – A few of my favorite freedoms I thank America’s armed forces for defending.

On Memorial Day, we remember those who died in combat for the United States of America, it also marks the unofficial start to the summer season. This year, in New Jersey, it also marked the end of in season Trout stocking.  Needless to say, after all the parades and barbeques were finished, MKFF hit the Paulinskill for some Trout fishing.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Unseasonably Cold Weather
Unseasonably Cold Weather

I took off on Friday and was intent on fishing. There was a strong cold front blowing threw, paired with moderate rain, I was not expecting much action. I attempted to nymph with the Bounce Rig, an old stand by on days like this.  After about an hour on the river, I had hooked one Trout and it got away. The rain picked up and I headed home to catch up on some odds and ends.

Fly Tying Riverside
Fly Tying Riverside

Dry Fly Action

This time of the Trout season Blue Winged Olives, March Browns and Grannom Caddis are ending their hatches. Pale Evening Duns, Cinnamon Caddis and Light Cahills are just starting to hatch. The colder season we have experienced has certainly delayed these time lines. We did see BWOs, Pale Evening Duns and a host of Caddis flies throughout the day. Trout were continuously slurping in the shady spots under bridges and trees upon our arrival.

Skunk Buster Brown Trout on BWO
Skunk Buster Brown Trout on BWO

The Tactics

Dry-Dropper

When Trout are slurping off the surface, you will hear a distinct toilet bowl flushing sound. When they simply swirl the surface it means the Trout is likely feeding on an emerging insect. During any hatch there are insects coming off of the surface of the water and those that are rising to the surface. A technique my brother filled me on in is to fish both sections of water at the same time. In order to do this, tie on a “hopper-dropper” style rig. I prefer a size 16 Dry Fly attractor pattern; I use a Coachman for Mayfly hatches. Next, attach 16 to 18 inches of tippet to the back. On this tippet, tie on a size 18-bead head nymph, I use a Pheasant Tail Flashback, again to imitate Mayfly emergers.

I love lazy days off said the turtle.
“I love lazy days off,” said the turtle.

Bead Head Woolly Bugger

The former hatchery resident Trout have settled into comfortable, cool, aerated feeding lanes. The rifles at the head of a pool come to mind as one of the better areas to lie. Another suitable place is the turbulent water under overhanging tree branches. Sending a Bugger across into the turbulence, allowing it to dead drift through and performing two inch strip retrieves will yield Trout action. Allow the Bugger to hang in the current for a few seconds before stripping it in can encourage a strike.

Bead Head Woolly Bugger pulled this out of a run.
Bead Head Woolly Bugger pulled this out of a run.

Spin Fishing with Flies

One of the more innovative techniques I had the opportunity to witness this weekend was brought stream side by Mark. He noticed how I was bringing Trout in using the Pheasant Tail dropper. He tied a dropper to the center hook of a one inch Rapala Floater, he was then able to dead drift the lure across the pool and entice a strike.

Partially thanks to this technique, Mark completed his first ever Paulinskill Grand Slam, congratulations are due to him, there are precious few opportunities in a year to catch a Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and a Smallmouth all in the same day.

Mark's Skunk Buster
Mark’s Skunk Buster

Conclusion

I had a decent day on the Fly Rod, managed to bring in ten Brown Trout, while fighting countless others. My biggest regret was not landing the acrobatic Smallmouth I dragged out from under an overhanging branch. In a few weeks the Trout will be hiding in the coldest available water while the Smallmouth transition to aggressive feeders.

Got to love New Jersey in the springtime.
Got to love New Jersey in the springtime.

Coming up next, a Bass Popper recipe and a trip to the Sunset Hill Shooting Range in the Pocono Mountains.

Week II Fishing Report

New Jersey Trout season is moving into its second full week and third weekend. The weather remains seasonably cool and rainy, as is expected in early April. This year is in sharp contrast to last year where the Trout suffered through low water and high temperature conditions. The waters have been warming up during the mid week and cooling of during late week heavy rainstorms.

Lesser Scaups hanging out at the proving grounds.
Lesser Scaups hanging out at the proving grounds.

Bass Fishing

First Bass of 2013
First Bass of 2013

The verbal reports are enthusiastically saying that Bass are starting to bite. I was able to land a small guy on a Wooly Bugger in the pond! Dave and Mark both reported significant sub-surface Bass activity in their favorite ponds. If it rains on Friday we will be out Bass fishing the lakes until the rivers clear up and the flow subsides.

The Pequest

The industrial revolution started in places like this.
The industrial revolution started in places like this.

I normally hit the Pequest up once or twice a year, especially the TCA, you have a good chance at hooking into a hog here. On Saturday morning, I ran the Belvedere Fox Trot to benefit Parkinson’s disease, afterwards it dawned on meto fish here. There are miles of public access right through the center of town and we have permission on some of the private water too.

The inside of George's
The inside of George’s

Though the scenery was beautiful, the water was murky. Fishing was not happening for us, that being said, Mark had a swing and a miss on the Rapala. We marched all the way down to the Delaware and fished the mouth, still no activity. Four hours of pounding water with streamers and no fish, it was time to stop at George’s for a drink. George’s sits in an old brick building, hanging partially over the Pequest. Inside is a bar structure that dates back 150 years, road signs on the wall for State Route 69, since rename Route 31 to prevent sign theft. This bar is part of authentic Warren County and you should stop here, that’s the MKFF seal of approval.

The Paulinskill

Brookie on a Mickey Finn
Brookie on a Mickey Finn

After the difficult day we had on Saturday it is always nice to return to your home waters. Despite the sunny day, the river temperature were holding in the high 40s, barely warm enough to encourage active feeding. Not to be deterred, I jumped in to some shallow slow water, which I expected to be warmer, tied on a Mickey Finn and quickly pulled up two Brook Trout.

Mark caught a Brookie too.
Mark caught a Brookie too.

Mark and Dave pulled up about an hour later, we branched out in search of new territory. The Paulinskill will hold fish year round and stocked Trout migrate up and down the river some distance. It is important to check bends in the river far away from stocking locations.

Hiking for Trout.
Hiking for Trout.
Fishing at the dam.
Fishing at the dam.

Until next weekend…check out our Paulinskill River Fly Fishing Kits, $23.37 plus tax and shipping for 16 flies and a split foam case. Everything you need to Fly Fish the Paulinskill River and we include a printed version of our hatch chart along with tips and tricks. 

Motley Crew
Motley Crew