Tag Archives: Stillwater

End of Summer 2015

The summer of 2015 commenced as a cooler than average summer trailing a long, cold and snowy winter. In fact, due to the weather we experienced, Rainbow Trout have been taken from the Paulinskill throughout the summer. Since mid August, a significant heat wave combined with a lack of rain has reduced river-fishing opportunities. These conditions will improve once the fall rains commence. In the meantime, fishing for warm water species early in the morning or late in the evening remains quite productive.

Sunfish, palm sized delight.
Sunfish, palm sized delight.

August Doldrums

To celebrate the conclusion of this summer and the beginning of, “Cast and Blast Autumn 2015,” we of course, went fishing. This time of year, I cannot stress enough the importance of waking up before dawn and wetting your line by sun up. With Mark still driving from Morristown, I headed over to Dale’s Market in Blairstown for one of their famous breakfast sandwiches. After consuming this delicious creation and 16 ounces of fresh coffee, I hopped in the FJ and headed north to the river.

Crappie that came over the dam.
Crappie that came over the dam.

This morning was to be an epic day of catching warm water species in the Paulinskill. I have often said, the Paulinskill holds a seemingly unbelievable biomass. This morning was a strong confirmation of my previous statements. Mark and I caught the following species in multiple: Crappie, Smallmouth, Sunfish, and Largemouth Bass. They were caught consistently until around mid day. In this river, the fish may not grow the largest but there are a plethora of them.

The Epic Battle

Throughout the summer, these electronic pages have catalogued the pursuit of Smallmouth Bass in the rivers of Warren and Sussex County, New Jersey. Of the countless hours I have put in pursuing the scrappy fighters, the four hours on Saturday were highly rewarding.

A diminutive Smallmouth that fought well for its size.
A diminutive Smallmouth that fought well for its size.

Perched in the spillway of the dam, which didn’t have much water coming over due to drought conditions, I spied some actively feeding Bass in the sand and weeds. These Smallies must have been chomping on little minnows and crustaceans that were washed over the dam.

Spotting the feeding fish, I false cast my Sage 8’6” VXP 4WT two times and then fired about 50 feet of line out of the tip. A near perfect cast, my custom mohair Woolly Bugger landed right in the opening where the Smallmouth was hiding. As the ripples from the splash settled, I quickly gave the fly some action as it fell to the river bottom. Then I felt the tug, the tug that could only originate from a sizeable Smallmouth!

Typical Paulinskill River Smallmouth.
Typical Paulinskill River Smallmouth.

I maneuvered the fish and put the fight on the reel, just as this was complete, the Smallie went aerial. I bowed the rod to the fish simultaneously losing my balance and almost going for a swim. My studded wading shoes prevailed and I caught myself before swimming with the fish. In the end, I landed this fish, tagging in at about two pounds.

You can note how low the Paulinskill is right now.
You can note how low the Paulinskill is right now.

More Fun

As anticipated the fishing turned off by eleven and it got quite warm outside. The whole team then headed over to the Lazy “K” Ranch, our club headquarters, currently under construction in Frelinghuysen, NJ. There we tried out the new Ruger .357 revolver that Zach acquired in the last week. We also started to work on our wing shooting performance that will be required in less than two months.

Mark takes aim with the Ruger .357
Mark takes aim with the 1911.

Dispatches From Opening Day

Day 1

Unlike many regions with large natural reproducing populations of Trout, New Jersey has something of a spectacle for “Opening Day.” Normally, anglers prefer to fish in peace and solitude, especially when seeking the illustrious Trout. If you are seeking quiet, relaxation and seclusion, Opening Day is something to be avoided. Realistically, it’s as if the nation’s most densely populated state, hosts a riverside party one-day a year. Once you accept Opening Day for what it is, a spectacle, its actually quite enjoyable.

Waiting for the starting buzzer.
Waiting for the starting buzzer.

The MKFF crew arrived early to find upwards of twenty people assembled in one of our favorite holes. On numbers alone, we were able to establish dominance at the pool, effectively holding the “worm dunkers” at bay as they coveted the prime territory our troops were holding. Nick was hysterical, issuing minute-by-minute updates as to how close we were to 8AM.

Thirty minutes of casting into a moderate sized hole with ever increasing numbers of bait fisherman is enough to drive you mad. The cool temperatures in the previous week had also made the fish a little slow. We quickly voted to move on to less traveled waters.

Not bad for the first Trout of the day.
Not bad for the first Trout of the day.

Around mid-day Mark was able to cast off the skunk, pulling in a nice Brook Trout. Simultaneously, several miles and a few towns over, Mike caught his first New Jersey Brown Trout since moving to California mid-way through last year.

Posing with his cutie.
Posing with his cutie.

Once every bit of water in the state had been walked through uncountable times we decided to stop by Dr. Ed’s party for lunch. Every year he puts together a delicious lunch of Jambalaya, Smoked Trout and Jameson Whiskey. This year Mark added his Brook Trout to the smoker.

Trout getting delicious.
Trout getting delicious.

Day 2

While everyone else slept, (after a long night of Opening Day festivities) I headed back to where we started. There may not be as many fish in the river on day 2; this is fine considering there are many less people. The weather was more cooperative, two days in the mid-sixties really livened up the Trout.

Stockie Number 1
Stockie Number 1

I took the time to set up a quality nymph rig out, using a Flashback Hare’s Ear Nymph and a Pheasant Tail, weighted with a small to medium sized sinker, the Trout wanted to feed! My rig quickly pulled up several small Brown Trout and more surprisingly a Perch!

Stockie Number 2
Stockie Number 2

As I was standing there, taking in the solitude, two children about 10 years old, walked to the other side of the river from me and took a cast. They watched quietly as I pulled up a Trout, no sooner had a minute gone by and they had a Trout on too! The one kid, wearing a pair of short Muck Boots, walks out into the stream and SPLASH, he face plants!. I chuckled to myself, it happens to the best of us, take a bath to land that Trout (He emerged from the water unharmed and holding his Trout).

Perch on the Fly
Perch on the Fly

Stay tuned for updates from Weekend 2.