Monday, June 20, 2016

North Branch Raritan River Summer Trout

Another day with choice in the balance: dog park or a little fly fishing with the black Lab. Well, this time I planned days in advance to do the fly fishing! And as it turned out, in the middle of vacuuming the house, I realized I had minutes before 8:00 p.m., grabbed my gear, and found the two-weight fly line on my Flyrise 1 had somehow got seriously loop-wrapped. Took me 15 minutes to unloop and unwind it all, tie on a Muddler Minnow and go, but I would not comprise on my chosen light approach.

I came for smallmouths, and another fly fisherman happened to be leaving as I got the two photos. He'd caught a redbreast sunfish and seven-inch smallmouth, missed a few trout upstream, and told me about two-pound smallmouths upstream last summer. He used an eight-weight rod--so convincing, that.

I fished a favorite run where I caught a smallmouth fly fishing a few years ago, missed two hits probably from sunfish, and then got freaked out about my camera set aside in the bushes. Some other guy had stopped on his bicycle nearby for a long time, suddenly left, and I hurried to have a look. Of course the camera remained. When you're older, you've had some experience and can't let be as when young and vulnerable.

But this put me just downstream of the exit bridge, and soon I noticed some sip rises. Trout remain in this stretch all through summer. The water temperature surely in the 70's somewhere, I never would go out intending to catch trout with water this warm, but with trout rising in front of me...well. Pretty soon, a trout struck the Muddler at the surface with a splash. Two others barely lipped the fly, but finally one of them whacked it as I stripped, and I caught the rainbow.

I released the trout and it seemed to be perfectly OK. I kept fishing long enough to make sure it didn't belly up somewhere near me. Apparently this fish's lactic acid level resulted in no lethal end.

What a nice half hour to end the day! That's the beauty of a clean smallmouth bass--er--trout river near home. Both.

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