So I drove down to Hackettstown, the first spot we went to. I love that spot. It was pouring when I got there, and I forgot to check if I had my rain jacket in my bag. Guess what, I didn't! Anyway, here's the goods: water temperature: 64 degrees. Water color: clear as glass (surprising, I thought it would've been muddy). Water level: absolutely perfect.
I caught and landed a small mouth bass and two sunnies. I had two trout on the line and I lost both of them.
Small mouth: Slate Drake emerger #14
Sunfish numbers 1 & 2: Slate Drake emerger #12
Lost trout number 1: Muddler minnow
Lost trout number 2: olive wooly bugger
Long version: I started off trying these tiny (I mean like, #20 and #22) olive nymphs. No dice. I also tried a different way of fishing tandem: tying the tippet on with a blood knot so that one of the left over strands you clip off is super long. This way you can tie a dry on and it acts as an indicator for the tiny little nymph (an indicator that'll catch a fish if he tries to eat it). It sucked, the two strands kept wrapping around each other. Getting frustrated, I clipped it all off and re-tied my leader. Tied on the #14 slate drake. Immediately caught the bass. He swallowed it good and I pretty much destroyed the fly grabbing it with the forceps (all the way down his throat, poor guy). The other slate drake I tied on caught the two sunnies just as quickly. Then all of a sudden, the slate stopped working.
Moved up to the next pool. Again tried the dry fly / nymph dropper technique. I'm not doing something right. Saw some rises, so tied on a tiny blue wing olive. Nothing. I tied on a muddler minnow next. On my first cast with it, I cast it right into the head of the main flow in that pool. The muddler didn't sink, it floated like I had floatant on it. As I sat there wondering why the fuck that was happening, a decent size rainbow rocketed up from the river bed Jaws-style and nailed the muddler. TOTALLY took me by surprise. I had him on for all of 3 seconds and he managed to wiggle the hook out. I can't tell you how many fish I've lost because I wasn't paying the kind of attention I have on the first cast.
So I figured the muddler was shot. Tried a couple more casts in the same spot, nothing. Tied on the bugger, and I had a very similar thing happen. First couple of retrieves I was doing dead drifts and nothing happened. Eventually, I got kind of tangled up in the slack of my leader. While the fly was about 10 feet in front of me in a relatively dead spot, I tried to wiggle it out with a couple of violent flicks of my fly rod. This made the bugger rise from the river bed like it was a little fish going for a fly. This happened now about 5 feet in front of me so I saw the whole thing: my bugger rose up, and another trout (same one? not sure) came flying up after it. Same thing happened as with the muddler. I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing when the fly was in the water, I was more concerned about having my leader slack properly organized, and I quickly hooked and lost another trout.
There you go, now I"ve put you to sleep, so you don't even have to go tomorrow. :-)
One other thing, just as I got out of the river and was packing up, 5 cars pulled up with 6 people total. It was a bunch of guys from Trout Unlimited, I think they were guiding an older couple. I talked to the one guy, he was super cool, telling me about the dam projects they're working on. Anyway...get out there tomorrow. If you can, go to Ramsey and get some slate drake emergers!