Every time during the spring that I drive past the parking area for North Branch Raritan at AT&T World Headquarters, Bedminster, NJ, I see at least some vehicles. This evening I came here with intent to fish and take some photos; not another vehicle present, I parked and jaunted down to streamside to fish in solitude. And mind you, the river was stocked with fresh brook trout two days ago, and on that day, Wednesday, the water ran high and muddy, so plenty of fish are around.
My problem was catching them. I have an odd relationship to stocked trout. I always expect to catch a lot, because on many occasions I have--as many as 64 on an outing on the Locatong and Wichecheochee Creeks--and I know of two people, one of them a brother, who have caught over a hundred in one day. But in reality I get skunked sometimes.
Today the water had cleared sufficiently, yet ran swift. A couple of casts with a salmon egg weighted only by a tiny snap swivel left me no doubt that I had to use a split shot. My first cast with a weighted egg yielded to a heavy pull from a trout. I set the hook and the fish tore two-pound test from the tiny spool. Heading upstream, it pulled the hook.
I stubbornly fished eggs another 20 minutes or so without another hit. Brookies will sometimes avoid salmon eggs. In general they do not hit them as readily as do rainbows, but they hit them much better than do browns. I snapped on a tiny Rapala Countdown. Not a hit after several minutes--I exhanged it for a tiny Phoebe spoon, and worked the river hard for another 20 minutes as light faded. I had a quick hit, the kind that you know pecked that metal so quick that no chance to set the hook existed.