Skunked by stockies

I took a friend new to the sport up to the Big Flatbrook last weekend, hoping the 1,600 fish the Jersey Fish & Wildlife folks had stocked a few days before would give him an easy first day.

Unfortunately we found the opposite: no fish whatsoever.

It’s possible we missed the areas where they’d put fish in, or that they’d not moved much in a few days and spread over much of the river, but we struck out. We fished mostly nymphs and streamers, as there was no topwater action.

I cruised by a few spots to vet them earlier in the summer, but the tenor of a few of them had totally changed, with extensive flood damage throughout the river’s course. Dozens of massive firs were across the river and along its banks in one section that was previously well shaded with a few rocky riffles along the middle. Now, the water flows around the new obstacles, creating scum pockets behind them.

I don’t know how this will affect the fishing there over the winter, or next season. It was only my second visit, so I’m not all that much of an expert on the terrain to begin with. The locals we encountered were all surprised at how much it had changed, though, and as unsure as we were about what would come next.

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