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Wild Trout Fishing� By Rich Johnson

I rose well before dawn and making my way over the George Washington Bridge, met up with good friend and world class fly fisherman Steve Sloan of the Fisheries Defense Fund, who at one time held 44 world records, 19 of which were on the fly rod in saltwater. However, Steve is a consummate freshwater fly fisherman as well and he offered to take me to some of his favorite trout holes for wild brown trout for an episode of my television show. We were headed to the Delaware Water Gap of northern Pennsylvania just over the New Jersey border about 1-3/4 hours from the GW Bridge.

I’ve been here several times with Steve in the past and I have to tell our readers that this is a totally different world than what local trout fishermen who fish the Nissequogue and Connetquot rivers are used to seeing. This area has fast moving water of sandstone bottom with boulder and rocks along with some of the cleanest, clearest river water I’ve ever seen. It is much more typical of the classic northeast river than a Long Island river with sandy bottoms and spring fed water. When you combine these elements with the wariness of wild brown trout…well the fishing at times is quite tough as you can well imagine. Now when I say wild brown trout I mean wild fish. These trout are stocked only but every few years and they turn wild to reproduce on their own in this wild environment.

When fishing for wild trout in these conditions no matter what area you may do it, there are several things to consider. Dress in drab colors like olives, browns and yes…even camouflage clothing is a big help. Trout have excellent vision, can see color from I’m led to believe and they have nearly a 360 degree vision range with only a small dark window behind their heads. Use 4 or 5-weight outfits with nine-foot and even 12-foot leaders of very light 1.5 or 2-pound test leaders in tippet sizes of 6 and 7X. Light stuff to say the least, now you’ll find out what kind fly fisherperson you really are.

Even though it was a beautiful, warm morning on Long Island when I left, the trout stream at 7 a.m. it was a brisk 36 degrees and by day’s end 74 degrees. If we wanted a dry fly hatch for rising trout it would have to be the afternoon session because both air and water was too chilly. We started with tiny nymphs in sizes 12 to 16 and Steve did catch a couple of wild browns for the show. It wasn’t till things warmed and the fish started to rise that I caught some beautiful browns around 1 p.m. so.

 

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