Monday, November 4, 2013

How Low Can It Go?

The Passaic, like most rivers in New Jersey, could use a couple weeks of heavy rain.

When: Sunday, November 3rd, from 11am to 12pm
Where: The Passaic River
What: Pike fishing
Weather: Party cloudy, breezy and cool. 46 degrees. N winds at 14mph and gusting to 20mph.
Barometric Pressure: 30.16
Relative Humidity: 57%
Water Conditions: Fairly clear and very low. 31cfs and 3.35ft at Chatham.

In case you haven't noticed, we have not had a whole lot of rain here in New Jersey as of late. Many people aren't aware of this, instead they enjoy the lack of wet weather. There are few places that the absence of precipitation is more evident than in our rivers and streams.

They are low....near record low.

Being a "lakehead" and not spending much time fishing on moving water, I myself was ignorant of this detail until a few weeks ago when someone pointed out that the Delaware was a low as they had ever seen. Since then, it has hardly rained....at all.

Check out the diagram below. The top number is the amount of rainfall, in inches, that we have had over the last 90 days. The bottom number is its departure from yearly averages. Shocking? Huh?

From NOAA
I was well aware of this as I decided to burn a couple hours and wet a line in my favorite pike spot. Plus, I had seen it low in the summer before and still had been able to catch fish.

But not this low.

After hitting a couple places along the bank, I noticed that I could see the leaves on the bottom all the way across. The water was less than a foot deep.

I did know of a few deeper pools, but even they seemed to be a bit too shallow and either weren't holding any fish or weren't holding any hungry fish.

The whole endeavor started to seem like a waste of time.

I kept at it for about 45 minutes, but without seeing a single sign of life, I knew there were better ways to be spending my Sunday. Plus, I hadn't planned on fishing at all this weekend, so it was good to get out even if it was only for an hour.

I'll be back at it next weekend, hopefully somewhere with a little more water.

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