Our drought continues, but we did have two days of significant rain Thanksgiving week. Both the Musky and South Branch rose above their average height for that week based on 97 years of collected data. The water dropped the last several days but more rain/snow is expected this week. Will this mark the end of the drought here in New Jersey? I pray to God it will! When a trout fisherman can't fish because of extremely low water, he can't get the opportunity to tell recent fish stories. Also, one can only tie so many flies. I did manage to fish one day this past month and caught and released a 14" rainbow. That fish will have to sustain me for some time to come as winter is at our doorstep!
As I mentioned last month the Chapter is looking into a few different areas to start another stream restoration project. That will take funding, and we're starting our Conservation Raffle this year beginning with our December 13 meeting. We purchased an Orvis 71/2' 4 wgt. fiberglass rod at the Efinger's store closing sale. We then approached the Orvis Princeton store. We asked if they would sell us a reel and line at a reduced cost. They responded as Orvis often does and donated the matching reel and line to make the complete Orvis outfit. We can all thank them by visiting Orvis Princeton to do some shopping. I extend my sincere thanks to Orvis.
It's that time of year when the outdoor show season starts. That is our medicine to fight cabin fever! To obtain your dose, there is the Outdoor Sportsmen's Show in Edison on January 12th to 15th and the annual Fly Fishing Show in Somerset on January 27th to 29th. I hope to see you at either or both of these shows. Please stop by our booth and say hello! It is always a pleasure to meet members at these events.
One of our new Director's is fifteen year old, Andrew Dang. I nominated him to our Board in an effort to reach out to younger perspective members of TU. We're also hoping he can give us some fresh ideas for the Chapter. Andrew is very active with National TU's Youth Leadership Council. You can get to know Andrew's work with National TU by attending our January 10th meeting. He will be presenting the program, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Don't forget, at this month's meeting we'll gather around to do some fly tying. It's a great time to share tying ideas and learn some new patterns from gifted tiers.
“Trout is the Classroom” is progressing at all of the 18 schools which we manage. There have been some bumps in the road at certain schools, but for the most part, most of the juvenile trout are growing. ‘Ozzie’ Ozefovich, who leads the project, will give you an update at December meeting.
The Board of Directors have created “The Leon Cheeka Award”. This award is for the general membership. Directors and Officers of CJTU are not eligible for this award. Leon, who passed away a few years ago, was a prolific fly tier. His favorite pattern was the Muddler Minnow. If you ever purchased or won a Muddler Minnow from the Chapter, its likely Leon tied it. As he grew older and lost his stability to wade a stream, he focused his activity to tying flies for CJTU. He was a special fellow! Those of us who knew him really miss him. He may not be with us now but he'll live on in CJTU with this award.
Another award created is "The Dick Turse Award". This award is for a person who has done extensive work and given countless hours for CJTU. Like Leon, Dick will live on with CJTU with this award. Dick's recent passing left a huge void in CJTU. Dick served many terms as President and countless years as Treasurer. He was a charter member of CJTU. He was still concerned about the state of the Chapter to his last week with us. On a personal note, in September of 1982, I was given Dick's telephone number when I wanted to join TU. I told him I was a bait fisherman. He told me TU welcomed all fisherman concerned with conservation and invited me to attend a meeting. The rest is history. Rest in peace Buddy!
You can contact George at
Well the weather is just right for Fall fishing, however, we are still in a drought with very low water. We've had some improvement in the last few weeks with some decent rain events. With the slight rise of water levels, I'm planning on wetting a line later this week. This is all in an effort and with hope of having a few trout take my offerings. Since I was seven nothing has thrilled me more than having a trout struggle at the end of my line. There have been a few periods in my life where I chased other fish. Nevertheless, I always return to my first love, that being trout. It doesn't matter if it's a nine inch stocker or a twenty inch native. My father, Russell, gave me that love of trout sixty years ago and it still remains.
The November meeting is the month at which we hope to fill out our slate of nominations for our Board of Directors. There are still a few director slots to be filled. If you have the desire to do some extra work to improve and guide our Chapter's efforts, I urge you to step forward. It need not be during the General Meeting on Nov. 8. If you would like discuss making a commitment, have any questions, or would prefer not volunteering at the meeting, please e-mail me at . Otherwise, please let us know when we open the floor for nominations. A complete slate of Directors lessens the load of all Board members.
I signed my name along with the other New Jersey TU Chapter Presidents on a letter to support the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. This legislation will establish habitat protection and improvement along with federal competitive grants to improve the Delaware Watershed. Keep in mind that the Musky where CJTU has expended so much time, labor, and funds is part of that watershed. It's a bill that would benefit all of us. For more information on the legislation go to www.delriverwatershed.org.
During the last month we have begun to explore several different stream improvement projects. If you attended the October meeting, you saw the length of time and the degree of work it took to make the TCA Point Mountain stretch of the Musky what it is today. We learned an awful lot from that endeavor. With our experience and with combining our efforts with one or more Chapters of TU, we hope that our next project is completed in significantly less time than the Point Mountain project. I feel it would be exciting to see which stretch of water will reap the rewards of our involvement. As the months pass, we'll let you know how we are progressing with our new project.
The Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program is indeed something special. It's a joy for a few of our members assisting and watching school children raise trout from the egg stage until they release them in a stream at about five inches. Last month I joined Bart Lombardo in delivering trout eggs to four schools in Manalapan. When we arrived the administrative staff, teachers and children welcomed us. The children at each school made signs which read "EGG-CITED". To see what is happening with the trout eggs we delivered, go to our Facebook Page, "Central Jersey Trout Unlimited". I believe it is the hope of all participating members that some of these young children become stewards of coldwater fish habitat twenty years or so from now.
I hope to see you at our meeting on Tuesday, November 8 (after you vote of course!) To those unable to make the meeting, I wish you "Tight Lines".
You can contact George at
I'm filling in for our new president this month. George is up on the Farmington River as I write this. I spoke with him yesterday and he advised the water was very low but there were fish to be had. Our situation here in New Jersey is pretty much the same. Our streams and rivers broke records this summer for low water. Extreme low water and high temperatures are not a good combination for trout. Unfortunately the recent rains did little to alleviate the situation. Hopefully the next weather system will bring a little more water.
The State of New Jersey is scheduled to begin its fall stocking program next week. I don't know if the current conditions will impact that date in anyway. My recommendation would be to check fish and wildlife's website for the latest information.
This September was one of the busiest on record for us. We kicked off the fall with a stream improvement project on the Burnt Mills Track of the Lamington River. Members of our chapter, along with folks from the Raritan Headwaters association and the Hacklebarney and Ken Lockwood TU chapters, participated in an invasive plant species removal effort. The team of volunteers scoured the flood plain looking for invasive plant species and removed them. There will be more work on this stream in the future, as we move closer to the dam removal and riverbed restoration planned at the site.
We also conducted our second fly casting class of the year at the Pequest Hatchery. We had a good turn out and some good fish were caught during the fishing phase of the class. I understand that our new president caught a monster rainbow trout. If you see him ask him to show you a picture.
CJTU has entered into a partnership with LL Bean in Freehold, NJ. Our members were in the store a few times last month giving fly casting and tenkara lessons. We will be there on two weekends in October tying flies. The next date is October 15 and 16, if you in the area stop by and say hello. We are excited too see what the future brings, as we have some more projects in the works with them.
On Saturday October 8th, CJTU and the folks over at Duke Farms in Hillsborough will be conducting a one day beginners fly tying course. For more information on the course and to sign up, visit www.dukefarms.org/publicprograms. The cost is twenty dollars a person.
We are making major changes to our own fly class for next year. We plan on making changes to the schedule to make it more accommodating to learning as well as providing quality tools and materials. This means as a beginner, all you need to do is show up and let us teach you. After the course you will have the knowledge to go out and buy your own equipment with confidence. Tentative dates are Wednesday evenings during the months of February and March. We will provide more details as we get closer.
The Fly Fisherman of the Year event and the NJ State Council Banquet is on Saturday, October 29th at the Raritan Inn. Both events are a lot of fun and if you have never attended you should consider it. Tickets for the banquet are being sold through Shannon's Fly Shop www.shannonsflytackle.com.
On a sad note, long time supporters of the chapter, Efingers Sporting Goods is closing their doors. There is a liquidation sale taking place right now. There are some good bargains to be had so pay them one last visit. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for the decades of support. Best of luck to all of our friends there who have suddenly found themselves without a job.
You can contact Bart at
It saddens me to have to write this month's President's Letter. By now most of you have learned of our Chapter President, Richard Dooley's unexpected passing. Rick was a close friend of many of us and he will be deeply missed.
The summers are quiet for CJTU. We take a break from monthly meetings and most of us give the trout of New Jersey a well deserved rest. High temperatures and low waters put a lot of stress on cold water fish such as trout. This year we have seen more than our share of both. Hopefully cooler weather and more rain is right around the corner.
There is a lot going on in the upcoming months. Central Jersey Trout Unlimited will be hosting a fly casting class at the Pequest Hatchery on Sunday, September 25th. The class starts at 10:00am and runs until 3:00pm. We will cover the basics of fly casting and then take the students down to the education pond to try out their newly learned skills on the huge trout swimming there. We provide all of the needed equipment and flies but feel free to bring your own gear if you have it. You can sign up for the class by calling the Pequest Hatchery at 908-637-4125 ext. 0.
We have also started two new partnerships. The first is with Duke Farms in Hillsborough Township. On October 8th we will be conducting a course entitled Fly Tying 101 in conjunction with the staff of Duke Farms. The course will include a hands on stream walk to learn about the organisms swimming, clinging and crawling in the ecosystem. We will then we will return to the classroom to tie patterns to match these different insects. Attendees will leave the class with completed flies and materials to tie your own. The cost is $20.00 and you can sign up by visiting the program page at www.dukefarms.org
The second partnership is with LL Bean in Freehold New Jersey. CJTU fly tiers will be on hand tying flies in the store on October 1 & 2 and October 15 & 16 between the hours of 11:00am and 5:00pm. This is the first of several programs we will be conducting with LL Bean. LL Bean is a great supporter of Trout Unlimited on both the national and local level. Our chapter has received many donations from them in the past and we are excited to be able establish a direct relationship with them. If your in the area stop by and say hello.
We are looking for volunteers to assist with a stream improvement project on September 23rd. We will be working at Burnt Mills on the Lamington River near its confluence with the North Branch of the Raritan between the hours of 9:00am and 12:00pm. Our focus will be the removal of invasive plant species currently occupying the floodplain. If you interested in helping out drop us an email at info@cjtu and I will provide you with all the details. Bring a rod along as we plan on fishing after completing our work.
Brian Cowden will be providing a presentation on "River Restorations: Repairing Ecological Functions of a River" at our September meeting. In addition to our normal bucket raffle, we will be giving away a box of flies at this meeting. If you walk through the door you'll be automatically entered in the giveaway.
I'm pleased to announce that George Hryvniak is stepping up as interim president due to Richard Dooley's untimely passing. George is a long time member of TU and a past president of Central Jersey. I am very excited to make this announcement as I know George will provide great leadership for the chapter. I am looking forward to working with him.
You can contact Bart at