Time: 8:00 am - 1:30 pm
Location: South Branch of the Raritan River, Ken Lockwood Gorge (parked on the downstream end and worked upstream)
Weather: Bright Sun and Clear Sky, Air Temperature 57, Water Temperature N/A (forgot my thermometer), Flow: 166 cfs (Mean for the South Branch: 211), Light Wind, Moon 99% Visible
Catch: With bad weather predicted for the rest of the week, 3/31 looked like the best day to fish. It turned out to be a really satisfying trip.
I lost a lot of flies and tied a lot of knots. I scared myself with some of my wading decisions. I almost buckled my wading staff. But in the end, I landed 4 or 5 fish and connected with a few more that came unbuttoned. All stocked rainbows.
Today finally felt like spring. There were multiple bugs in the air, but dark caddis flies were the most conspicuous. I didn't see a fish rise. All my fish were caught subsurface. Everyone I chatted with said the same.
Since we've had such a cold spring, I approached the day like winter. I fished double fly rigs under an indicator in deep, walking speed water. My favorite indicator nymph rig right now is straight from George Daniel's incredible book, Dynamic Nymphing. I take a 7'6" 4X Rio Powerflex leader and cut 8" off the tippet end. This makes the leader 6'10" overall, but still quickly tapers down to 4X. To this 4X tippet I knot a tippet ring. The strike indicator goes above the ring. Now I can attach long sections of 4X, 5X, or even 6X tippet directly to the ring and still maintain a proper taper. Plus, since it's just tippet below the indicator, the flies sink more quickly.
Like I said, I lost a lot of flies throughout the day. Here are the flies that worked for me.
These were freshly tied after I got home, left to right: #18 Zebra Midge with a Caddis Green Hotspot and 3/32 Tungsten Bead, #22 Midge Emerger (with this style of hook, it's a big #22), #14 Jig Prince with a CDC Collar (this fly is heavy), #16 Pheasant Tail and Partridge and a #16 Hare's Ear and Partridge with a Caddis Green Thorax.
With all the caddis in the air, I fished the soft hackles tied off the bend of the Prince Nymph and had some fish really take it hard.
And if periodic hang-ups didn't let me know I was on the bottom, this guy did.