Monday, July 4, 2011

Far North Jersey Streams Let us Down, for Fishing Anyhow

That's a nice hole on the Pequannock River I tried before my son Matt and his friend Tom Slota enjoyed it otherwise. For me it was a brutal day, but that the boys had such a good time on the whole speaks well for my not letting it out much. I had looked forward to this day for four months, a day to try new waters for smallmouths especially, and all that happened as far as fishing goes was the bass of about a pound I lost in the Wanaque River just downstream from the Greenwood Lake dam.

Along East Shore Drive upstream from Monksville Reservoir the river is almost a gorge, but the water quality is bad, off-color, and obviously warms. We found no holes that might hold bass. Or for that matter the walleyes and muskies rumoured to be somewhere in that stretch between the two lakes. On the way back out along Greenwood Lake Turnpike my son got the shot of the bear. The views of Wanaque Reservoir are dazzling.

We tried several holes and stretches of the Ramapo River and didn't get a hit. That water was off-color too, presumably from rain earlier, but I'm not sure. The river looks like it would be loaded with smallmouths, but the response we got was nothing at all like what we would expect in our North Branch Raritan flowing right through our hometown. I fished the Ramapo in 2002, but just one hole since my son got soaked and cold. But even then--though the water was clear--I was astonished I didn't get a hit in such a deep refuge.

Next we made our way to the Pequannock after a stop at some park or other with an
interesting broken brick building and two trees growing up and out from inside it. I fished an inviting stretch with some depth and fast water, eddies, rocks and then a hole perhaps eight feet deep. Not a hit. By then five hours had passed, most of it driving, a stop at a diner at Mahwah and so on. Once my son had got in to swim he told me this is trout water and probably it is, very cold. But it was a little off-color too.

I got so devastated over the stark contrast between my grand dream of lots of bass in new waters and reality that I felt a little embarrased at myself and the obvious reaction I gave to a friend. But this was a one shot deal and of course it hits you when it goes very badly, at least as far as fishing success is concerned. If anyone has positive experience on these streams for bass (or walleyes and muskies) please leave comment because I'm still interested. I've fished many streams in New Jersey, have done ok on the Paulinskill for smallmouths and of course on the streams in my area, the Passaic near Paterson as well. I hiked with my son in Walkill Refuge last summer and he toted along his rod and caught smallmouths despite that river being off color. I have an itching to try the Musconetcong for smallmouths, but Tuesday we plan to fly fish it for trout, especially browns. I know one thing--none of all that driving! We're parking at Asbury and all the rest will be wading and walking and casting. Who knows, maybe a few trout too.

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