Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Musconetcong River Gorge

Musconetcong River Gorge

Most folks from this area are familiar with the Ken Lockwood Gorge section of the South Branch of the Raritan River.  This famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) section of this well known freestone stream, is undoubtedly one of the most popular areas to fish for trout in the Garden State.   One of the attractions to the Ken Lockwood Gorge area is the classic trout stream appearance.  This rugged section of river is strewn with boulders and contains great pocket water and pools.  Prior to the infestation of the woolly adelgid, Hemlocks lined the banks providing year round cover.  Now, only the grey skeletons remain and surviving Hemlocks look like they are hanging on by a thread.  If you blindfolded someone and took them to this place they would never guess they were in New Jersey when the blindfold came off!

But this is not the gorge or the river I am writing about today.  The Musconetcong River also has a gorge section and this area is even more spectacular than the Ken Lockwood area, with two to three times the flows of the South Branch of the Raritan.  This area was  part of a private holding for decades.  Today part of the area is still owned by a private cooperation and some of it is owned by the state.

Warren Glen Dam

At the head of the gorge lies the thirty foot tall Warren Glen Dam, the highest on the river.  At the present time access to the area is difficult at best and the fishing poor to marginal.  The river here does not receive stockings so the few fish on this section of river are most likely from wild stock.  So what's the big deal you ask?

Talks have been underway for some time to remove this dam and restore the area to its natural state.  Removing the dam which has thirty feet of sediment behind will be a major undertaking but the potential is there restore the rest of the gorge to its original state.  That combined with better access could make this one of the best trout waters in the state!  This is a project that is still many years out but it is moving forward, definitely one to watch.  Perhaps one day in the not so distant future we will have another classic gorge area to fish in New Jersey.

Large boulders and woody cover!

1 comment:

  1. I regularly fished the Musky and find it to be one of the overlooked gems when compared to the Pequest or Raritan.