Tag Archives: trout

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


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.


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.


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.

Ice Fish and Chips

Anyone living in the Northeast this week will agree with the following statement,”It’s a bit nippy outside.” I actually think that is an understatement, the air burns your skin it is so cold outside. There is one enjoyable thing about cold weather besides the potential for snow, that is ice fishing!


Last weekend the MKFF RAGC crew assembled for our annual reorganization meeting. Not to be stuffy like any old hunting and fishing club, we opted to have a fish fry, with the Trout in our private club pond. Woodhead had previously purchased a deep fryer on sale at Dick’s.


Ice Fishing

The first ice is always an excellent time to set up a tip up, that is if you don’t mind the risk of getting wet. The fish lay there hungry since the ice has recently cut off their access to the outside world. The Trout circle around the lake, pond or other impoundment. They will quickly consume whatever food is available. I prefer to jig while other people like to use a Fathead or shiner to lure in the Trout.


Big enough Rainbow Trout can be filleted, those fillets can be deep fried or pan fried. Smaller Trout of any type can be pan fried without being filleted. Either way, properly prepared Trout has an excellent taste and texture.


The Chips

Once the Trout that is worthy of filleting is captured the preparation must begin. We worked on preparation outside on a table in the snow, though the results were excellent, it took much longer than normal to prepare. It makes you start to understand how long it used to take hunter gatherer societies to prepare a meal.


To get started you have to gut the fish, that is remove all of its internal organs and clean out the blood and guts that may go along with that. It is not necessary to remove the Trout’s head, in fact it is much easier to remove the fillets with the head on. To start to fillet a Trout, I like to make a long cut along the length of back. I then cut a slit after the gill plate and begin to work the fillet off of the fish.


After the fillets are removed from the fish, you can cut them into smaller pieces and beer batter the fish. Some people like to remove the skin, generally with a Trout you do not have to. Once the beer batter has been applied, drop the Trout fillet into the boiling oil and let it cook for about three and a half minutes.


I made the mistake of dropping all of the fillets in at once so they fried together in something of a “Trout log.” Next time, the goal is to master the fillet and the deep fry. A more controlled environment such as the kitchen will help in this process.