Had the opportunity to fish the Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area for the first time this morning. The path for the KLG runs parallel to the Raritan River. I had heard good things about the fishing as well as the scenery. Neither were disappointing.
We arrived around 10 am to find a healthy flow in the range of 250 cfs, with the water still cloudy from Irene’s runoff and higher than normal volume. Plenty of fast runs and pocket water. The currents were challenging when wading above our knees.
Given the water conditions, streamers and nymphs seemed to be our best bets. Early on my friend Fred scored a couple of browns using streamers.
As we worked our way upstream, I lost a few streamers to rocks and submerged branches, while Fred continued to pick up fish.
Finally I made a short cast upstream with a prince nymph to a small pocket beside a boulder. It produced a small rainbow, but broke off before I could get it to the net.
About ten yards up I spotted a nice run behind a large rock formation. It looked like it might hold fish. Slowly I waded upstream until I was across from it.
I started casting nymphs with no success. Then I switched over to one of the last remaining choices in my decimated streamer box. It was a green wooly bugger with a brown tail. A few casts later and I had this nice brown on the line.
It wasn’t easy bringing it to the net. The currents were strong, which only aided the brown’s efforts to escape. It tore off line a couple of times before I was able to reel it into the net.
The scenery was enjoyable as well. At times it felt like I was in a mountain stream. The gorge was lush and green, and I’m guessing the fall colors are pretty spectacular as well. Although we saw few anglers, runners, hikers and dog walkers were always present.
A word of advice – the trail bed is severely washed out. There are exposed drainage pipes and several bathtub-sized pot holes. If you decide to visit, be careful where you are walking.
This was my first trip to KLG but certainly not the last. Enjoy!