Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trout, Stripers, Pike

Just got word from Jesse Sullivan that my notion of using four-pound tippet at the Point Mountain TCA is sound. That is, if my son, Matt, and I go there on Tuesday morning. The surf is bursting with bass right now, and....

I know a fly fishing guide from Montana coming home to Bernardsville for the holidays also on Monday. (I expect to see my son that evening.) Alex Rundella wants to fish, though we won't use his driftboat on the Musconetcong River. Seems to me, it's a real good choice for fly fishing Passaic River pike, but I have to be at work by 3:00 on Tuesday, and the Passaic presents too many unknowns at short notice for now. This is not to say we couldn't do it. You know I pull stunts It's just to say that whether I pull a stunt or not, I always play by my gut feeling. My moral compass is not in my neocortex. It's properly in my stomach. My center of gravity.  

Alex can teach Matt and I plenty on the Musky, but maybe we can point out a thing or two about stripers, though I wouldn't be surprised if he knows something over there.

Jesse says go with an egg or sucker spawn pattern, with a wd-40 or rs2 trailing behind it...or Rainbow Warrior or Frenchie with a wd-40, rs2, or zebra midge behind it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Musconetcong River Improvements Expected

Clean cold Musconetcong River at the Point Mountain Trout Conservation Area

Central Jersey Trout Unlimited plans on restoring a section of the Musconetcong River formerly owned by a private fishing club. I imagine the site is somewhere near Asbury. Information on where exactly isn't available, gathering by my search, but the river as a whole--some of it designated National Wild & Scenic--is my primary consideration. If I stumble upon the stretch by hearsay or footwork, who knows, I might fish it with my son someday.

The unnamed club attempted to improve trout habitat by some agency or other, installing such structures as stone weirs and dams, which, instead of increasing catches, diminished the river's ecology by widening the channel, thus flattening the river bottom by increased sedimentation. Who Central Jersey Trout Unlimited will partner with to improve conditions, I don't know, but I have confidence in their plan, since I've seen a little of what restoration outfits have done. Work that holds its own over the years.

On the other hand, I watch what I see planned now, comparing this to what I might expect in the future--not as any expert but by what I've seen in nature--if what anyone might dub the resilience factor isn't high. Back in 2000, I caught a number of holdover rainbow trout during July and August from a Peapack Brook hole about six feet deep. Just about bottomless, let's say. Rather, deep enough to qualify, perhaps, for subtle groundwater release. Those rainbows were doing well, no doubt. After Irene or some other storm, that hole filled in with stones the size of basketballs overnight. Obviously, anyone involved in stream restoration anticipates the likes, and the agency designs streamscaping so the workers build and structure pools, riffles, holes and the likes with resilience in mind.

Here's a link for more information:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday River Stroll

Have not visited the KLG (Ken Lockwoood Gorge) since about this time last year, though it seems much more recent. Today's outing was real simple. Patricia reads a magazine of that name. I first got 11 needed hours of sleep after going to bed at 9:30, fixed coffee to accompany a bagel with whitefish spread over butter, and got my camera bag just before we walked out, soon connecting with CR 512 from U.S. 206, and some 10 or 15 minutes later stopped at the bookstore in Califon, closed on Sundays. Now we know. Trish found it on her mobile device as we drove off, so she knows when we might return.

Having come in on Hoffman's Crossing Road, I drove past the spot where we parked last time, in April 2016, and where I parked again in November when I fly fished with my son. "Are you supposed to drive here!?" Instead of turning my head Trish's way, I continued to look straight ahead as I prepared to take it slow over a patch of ice covering the entire one-lane width. To my left, a steeply rising bank. To my right, pretty much immediately to my right, the bank steeply descended to South Branch Raritan River. "Yes," I said. The last thing I wanted to do was begin to slide down the slippery slope of explanation.

This is the first I've seen the old train crossing. There's parking here. A chain across the roadway immediately beyond.

We walked a half mile or so one way. I shot 67 photos, but best of all, I accompanied my wife on a walk that was, as I mentioned, a really simple outing, but rather than thin-feeling, substantive. Sadie got in the water a couple of times, air temperature about 34. I watched a couple of guys fly fish. Certainly, the river must harbor plenty of trout. I saw magic happen in a slow stretch during October a couple of years ago. More spring-stockers than large fall fish. Rising for tiny midges. Until the darkening of Magic Hour, there seemed no fish in that stretch, except a couple of obvious, large trout.

On the way home, I pointed out that this was CR 512 we traveled, the same route that leads from Far Hills into Peapack-Gladstone. Once again, as I had during another fairly recent outing, I asked Trish if she had any wherewithal about our location in relation to home and other places. Very little, but this time, her interest piqued. "I want to know this is 512." I wondered if she would actually ride out to Califon Bookstore, though something in me refused to press the issue, as if too delicate to do anything about but let grow on its own, as at least this unexpected turn of concern is something of a positive result from that last query about whereabouts I mentioned. Trish knows the local roads. And when we lived in North Plainfield, she figured out how to drive to U.S. 202 in Morristown to her workplace by convenient back roads; she can certainly make her way to that bookstore, if she wants.