Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An Early Winter Walk in Brook Trout Forest

I feel like a broken record talking about our low water situation in the Northeast, so of course after a nice solid 2 day rain event, I scheduled a day in brook trout forest.

I drove to New Jersey because I have a nice list of streams to fish over there, and the season is open while NY is closed. I walked down to the stream and found decent water levels and a beautiful small gorge.

Immediately I was ecstatic to discover that the brookies were still in full fall dress and that they had survived a few months of low water and warm air temps.

This particular stream had some nice elevation change and some really ideal plunges that held beautiful wild brook trout.

 Working my way carefully upstream, I was sure to avoid casting a shadow and tried my best not to spook the trout in this pristine little brook.

Where I was able to stay low and out of the way I was rewarded again and again by the local jeweled beauties...

This stream was very small, I fished it to where it was essentially a tributary of a tributary, and the fish were mostly in little hidden pools and deep slots cut into the rock by erosion and water. 

I kept my eyes open for redds but I only saw one with a remaining pair of trout, which of course, I left alone.

This beautiful male was an impressive fighter, and I released him quickly back to his home.

 Some mushrooms were growing after the recent rain, but I didn't find anything edible that I wanted to take.

The stream became very shallow but I knew if I kept on following it up I'd find a few beautiful hidden spots... 

... and I'm glad I did, because one of the larger fish of the day was living under the foam in a log jam pool, hidden in a mess of fallen trees and branches.

I twitched this Ausable dry fly in the foam and saw a flash... tapping my rod gently with my finger, I let the vibrations disturb the surface. Soon enough the fish slowly rose to sip the fly and turned, so I set the hook and the fight was on.

The vibrant and varied colors of the wild brookies in this stream impressed me so much that I forgot to take enough photos of the pools I caught them in.

Soon after catching this beauty I reached the uppermost section of stream. There were no more fish hitting my fly, so I turned around and walked down to an area below where I had started my day.

I discovered a popular swimming hole and a beautiful cascading section of stream.

Below it, a small brookie was staking his claim in another picturesque pool.

 I tried to practice swinging my fly and line around the overhangs but I still don't quite have the method down to get it right. Reading casting stroke descriptions is one thing. Getting that right is another thing entirely...

 After I had checked most of the fishable sections of stream, I walked along a trail and back towards the car. The sun had been making appearances between momentary threats of intense stormy weather, and the light was dramatic, casting long shadows.

This was a successful day on a really special small stream and I can't wait to return here again some day soon.

Less than 2 hours later I reflected on my day while looking at the city skyline. I had miraculously dodged the traffic and made it home in record time. 


  1. Nice fish. Those late fall/early winter days after the leaves are off and before there is snow can still hold fish and a landscape reveling all sorts of subtle gems. Your photographs captured that beautifully.

    1. Thanks, the fish helped by being particularly photogenic ;)

  2. Forgot to ask. What were your rods of choice on this outing?

    1. I mostly used the Oni type III but I also used the Suntech Kurenai HM30R for a few fish.