Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches of the South Branch Raritan River New Jersey
Hatches on the South Branch of the Raritan River are outstanding, offering great dry-fly
fishing at times. The earliest hatches are the Little Winter stoneflies. They start in March. In
April, you can expect to see hatches of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Blue-winged Olives and
Hendricksons/Red Quills. Various species of Blue-winged Olives will continue to hatch until
late June. There will be a second wave of Blue-winged Olives that start in late September
and last through October.
American March Browns and Sulphurs will start hatching in the middle of May. The March
Browns will end about the first week of June but the sulphurs will continue to hatch on
throughout the month of June.
Little Yellow stoneflies, often called Yellow Sallies, will start hatching in the middle of May
and last until the first of July. There will be a second hatch of Little Yellow Stoneflies taking
place from the middle of August through the middle of September.
Cinnamon Sedges (caddisflies) start hatching in mid May and last through the month of
June. They are the most common species of caddisflies. Green Sedges are also present
and hatch from about the first of May into the first week or two of June.
You will find some Light Cahills present from mid May through the month of June. They will
hatch from the faster sections of water.
Slate Drakes hatch from about the middle of May all the way through September but they
start out fairly heavy, slow down during the hottest weather, and increase again during the
month of September.
There are a few Yellow Drakes in the slower sections of the stream with softer bottoms.
These large mayflies hatch from mid-June into the first two weeks of July, but its never a
very heavy hatch.
There's a White Fly hatch that occurs in the slower sections of the river in August. It last into
the first week or two of September.
Terrestrial insects such as grass hoppers, beetles, and ants are also important food items
during the warmer months of the year. You can use imitations of them successfully from July
Most of the baitfish and minnow trout feed on in the Raritan River are sculpin. Streamers
that imitate sculpin work well during low light or stained water conditions.
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