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The Musconetcong River

Report on a Visit to an Old Love

by Ken Branson

How have we loved the Musconetcong River? Let us count the ways.

First, we (that is, human beings) loved its water and its fish and the fact that big herbivores drank from it, sometimes failing to notice us as we crept up on them with our bows and arrows, and, later, with guns.

Second, we loved it for its power. We loved it for turning the wheels on grist mills and powering iron forges. We loved it because this power allowed us to build forges and factories and farms and lives in the days when water power was pretty much all we had, aside from muscle power.

Finally, and maybe from the very beginning, we loved the Musconetcong River because it was, and is, beautiful, and so is the valley it flows through, from Lake Musconetcong on the north to Rieglesville at the confluence with the Delaware River.

So, how is our old love doing these days? As it turns out, not bad. First, full disclosure is in order. I live on a bluff above the river in Hackettstown, and I love the Musconetcong River. Every warm night for 14 years, the sound of the river rushing around two sharp bends below my house has been one of the first things I've heard when I woke up, and one of the last things I've heard before I went to sleep. I've swum in it, fished in it, hiked along it and fallen into it. The same can be said for most of my neighbors. Indeed, the same can be said for a very high percentage of the people who live in its valley. This is not the Whippany, or the Rockaway, which people mostly drive over and ignore. No, this river is loved.

The River Begins

Unlike the Black River, which bubbles almost apologetically out of the ground and trickles under a highway, the Musconetcong gets a running start coming out of Lake Hopatcong , then into Lake Musconetcong. From Lake Hopatcong, it twists and turns over the ruins of the Industrial Revolution, dividing Warren County, on its west bank, from Morris County. Those ruins aren't as extensive as they are on, say, the Rockaway, for the simple reason that there wasn't as much industry. The biggest single industrial artifact along the river is the Morris Canal.

From its completion in 1831 until the railroads put it out of business, the Morris Canal ran from Phillipsburg to Jersey City, carrying coal and iron to feed the forges in places like Wharton, Dover, Rockaway and Boonton. It ran parallel to the Musconetcong, along its west bank, as far as Lake Hopatcong. Today, the canal is visible as a sort of trench between the river and Waterloo Road. In some spots, the trench has filled in, but the ground is still lower than either the river bank or road bed. When the river is high, these spots become little swamps, and sometimes, the river seems to take them over altogether. At Waterloo Village, just north of Hackettstown in Byram Township, there is a 19th-century canal town, complete with blacksmith shop, grist mill and general store; a restored farm, with livestock, centered around an 1825 farm house, and a restored Lenni Lenape village, exhibiting dwellings, tools weapons and other objects of interest. The Musconetcong Valley is, in fact, home to a relatively high density of sites relevant to modern American society; and it is gratifying to know that communities like Hopatcong, Stanhope, Hackettstown and Beattystown all have roots over 250 years old. Moreover, men have been walking (and fishing) in this valley for 10,000 years!


A panorama of the river above Saxton Falls also know
as Saxton Lake. Photo: John Brunner

Access to the river is easy along Waterloo Road (Route 604, and in spring and fall, the road is lined with the cars of fishermen, who usually have only a few yards to walk to find a promising spot. The river skirts Waterloo Village's southern edge where it is heavily stocked, but not necessarily heavily fished, at least after the stocking season has ended. The trout become very selective and begin feeding on a natural diet. Fishermen must go light, using light tippets and flies that imitate aquatic insects. After the river runs under Route 80 there is a stretch that is rarely stocked; a prime beat of river that sees very few fishermen. If you'd like to try for some really big trout, some of the pools back here may be just the ticket.

Past Waterloo Village and the Route 80 bridge the river comes out to the road and is fishable southwest through Stephens State Park. One notable location here is the eternal Saxton Falls. The scene on opening day is trout fishing mayhem, but the falls become serene as the season progresses and you are more likely to find yourself alone. Natural bait, artificial flies and lures catch fish year round. You can always count on a persistent rock bass or sunfish to rise on a fly or two when the trout aren't interested. And, believe it or not, eels make their way all the way up here from the ocean to this waterfall! Below Saxton Falls and through Stephens State Park the river's regular stocking gets a bonus of giant trout from private clubs who donate fish in excess of 20 inches in length. These big fish holdover well and are occasionally caught on into late fall and winter.

The river runs through Allamuchy Mountain State Park, and its smaller cousin, Stephens State Park ­ which means that much of the land immediately adjacent to the river, especially on the Morris County side, is protected. Except for Waterloo Village and the area around the Saxton Falls dam, however, much of the land on the Warren County side is occupied by small homes. When the river takes an eastward bend, roads lead to small clusters of eclectic houses on small wooded lots. After you reach Hackettstown, you pass the House of the Good Shepherd, a retirement home, on the riverbank. Just after that, you come to Rustic Knolls, where I live and move and pay my taxes. This is where I do most of my fishing, swimming and falling in. There are 48 houses in the Knolls, most of them now year-round.


The Musconetcong passes
through Changewater where
an abutment for a towering
Lackawanna Railroad trestle
was constructed in the mid 1880s
when the village was a thriving
industrial town.

It's near Hackettstown that you can see the full sweep of the river valley. Coming west on Route 46, down the hill from Budd Lake, you reach an opening in the trees on the downslope side and see the whole Musconetcong Valley laid out before you. Mountains recede into the distance on either side, and in the middle are farms, forest, and a church spire or two. It's this part of the valley that has been the focus of intense preservation efforts in the past few years, and those efforts may have paid off.

The River's Keeper

Lots of people love the river, and lots of people work hard to keep it healthy. But John Brunner actually gets paid to keep it that way. He doesn't get paid much, but he manages to keep body and soul more or less together and put gas in his much-abused, much-lived-in car. Brunner is the executive director of the Musconetcong Watershed Association, a non-profit organization charted in 1992 to "enhance and protect" the river and everything that flows into it. He and his colleagues are leading an effort to have the lower Musconetcong (roughly from just south of Hackettstown to the river's mouth at Rieglesville) declared a "wild and scenic river". The term is a bureaucratic one; the river may be scenic, but it hasn't been wild in a long, long time. Such a designation would put the watershed's health at the top of the list when development decisions are made in the valley ­ though, as Brunner is quick to point out, land now private would remain in private hands. The focus of the MWA's effort now is to get all 14 municipalities along the river to endorse the designation, and the plan the MWA has put together for implementing it. Eleven have endorsed it so far.

Brunner is a tree-hugger (more of a water kisser, actually), but he is an individual piece of work. He has no deep philosophical problems with development or developers; it's what they develop, and how, that concerns him. "The biggest threat to the river is commercial development," he says. "Parking lots, impermeable surfaces, things that make for lots of run-off. The best defense is to have the municipalities get their act together, to have the best possible zoning and land-use ordinances."

Brunner cares less about McMansions going up in the next watershed than he does about a custom-built home with its driveway sloppily hacked out near a tributary stream. "Now, that is a gross hack job," he says, looking at one such driveway. "We'll have to do something about that." Brunner takes photos of the driveway, and makes a note to call the township authorities about it.

Ninety percent of the lower valley is farmland, and most of it has been preserved, according to Brunner. This has been a great boon for the river, Brunner says, but again, it's how a farm is run that matters. "This will sound like heresy, but in some cases, a given farm, turned into a subdivision, can be a wash," he says. As he drives along the river, he points approvingly to farms whose owners have left a green buffer between themselves and the river, and scowls at those whose crops grow within a few feet of its bank.

Off the Track


Stone bridge at Stephensburg

If the river looks anywhere as it looked a century or more ago, it looks that way on its lower third, where it divides Warren County, on the west bank, from Hunterdon County. From just west of Route 31 until it runs into the Delaware at Rieglesville, the river is less approachable, but worth approaching. To reach this part of the river, start at the intersection of routes 632 and 31; follow Route 632 west. The river will be on your left, and you'll want to make whatever turns you need to make in order to keep it in view.


Mill at Asbury

On the Warren County side of the river, you'll pass through Asbury, named for Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury, the founder of Methodism in America. Asbury is full of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian buildings. Like every other little town in the eastern United States whose development pre-dates the automobile, Asbury calls itself "historic". However, unlike many of those other towns, Asbury really is historic in a quiet, everyday way. It was built in the late 18th century around several gristmills, the remains of which are not difficult to find. Brunner's office will soon be in one of them, right on the river bank.


Falls at Bloomsbury

There are innumerable little bridges on this stretch of the river, many of which accommodate only one vehicle at a time. Cross over one of them below Asbury, and you come to Bloomsbury on the Hunterdon County side. Bloomsbury has a railroad and turnpike heritage, an iron-truss bridge and the general look of having been carefully preserved. By the time you get to Finesville ­ near the obligatory gristmill and also featuring an iron-truss bridge ­ the air of preservation is particularly thick. The village is tiny, and it has several substantial stone houses built close together. Get there early on a misty morning, before people are up and about, and you can't help expecting elves to emerge from the houses and trolls from under the bridge.

The mouth of the river is a piece of good news/bad news. The good news is that Route 627 leads you to Rieglesville (NJ and PA) and a century-old truss bridge across the Delaware River. This bridge barely allows two Toyotas to cross at the same time, and the speed limit, quite properly, is 20 miles per hour. You can walk across, and it's probably better if you do. John Roebling, who completed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, did this one, probably over a long weekend, 20 years later.

The bad news is, you have to cross the bridge to see the mouth of the Musconetcong, unless you belong to the private club that controls access to the mouth. Once you've crossed to Pennsylvania, you can see the Musconetcong pour into the larger stream about a quarter mile downstream from the bridge. The Musconetcong joins the big river, carrying with it the residue of everything we've done in it, near it or to it. The Delaware adds this to its already heavy load, and carries it away.

The lower Musky Valley...

Comments

kelley
16 Mar 2012, 15:41
I have been fishing swimming and hiking in the muskie since 1973. please keep our lovely river clean.
Jen
26 Jun 2011, 08:06
Can someone tell me the best place to go fishing on the Musconetcong? I've never been there and I don't know what town to search in Google maps. Is there a main access point somewhere?
Paul
20 Dec 2010, 08:06
To Ron:\r\n\r\nGet a GPS. It not only works when you visit NJ, but in florida too!\r\n\r\nThat goes for the rest of the seniors on this forum. I'd go with a base model Garmin Nuvi. Wide-screen if possible. \r\n\r\nI run mine at all times on silent. It's great for avoiding traffic (I can make my own detours).\r\n\r\nIf you know how to spell what your looking for, and your a little creative, you can find how to get to anywhere.
Edie Engel
22 Sep 2010, 16:11
Could anyone tell me the etymology of the name "Musconetcong"? I would deeply appreciate it.\r\n\r\nThanks!
Al Byrnes
17 Aug 2010, 16:17
I've not been to this site for some time and I'm glad I stopped in for a visit. It's been fun freshly reading about the "River of Joy" again. \r\n\r\nTracee, if you see this page, I want to thank for your nice comments on "The Most Beautiful Place" poem. Oh to be a boy again!!! And what your great grandfather Gano wrote touched my heart. God bless you and yours. Al
Linda Salkins
04 Jun 2010, 12:55
I spent my summers here in late 40s 50s 60s. Our bungalow was just down the road from Clauses Inn. The bungalow that we had is no longer there, but it was over a hundred years old when I was a kid and it use to be a one room schoolhouse that my grandfather made into a bungalow with one big room (which was the orig school) and added a porch and small kitchen. We spent summers at the swimming area which overlooks saxton falls - it is now drained due to the state ownership now....but it was magical and beautiful and has the most wonderful memories before the state took it all over with that "green acres"....my grandfather grew up in Hackettstown and was related to the people that owned the land that waterloo is on now. so there's a bit of history
NORM FAULKNER
15 Mar 2010, 07:55
MAYBE YOU CAN ANSWER A QUESTION FOR ME RE. PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE MUSKY IN THE AREA DOWN STREAM OF ASBURY,NJ.\r\n I USED TO FISH IN THE "FRIENDS OF THE MUSCONETCONG" FLY FISHING CLUB. OUR STRETCH OF CLUB WATER STARTED ABOUT A HALF MILE BELOW THE ASBURY BRIDGE AND RAN FOR A LITTLE OVER A MILE. IT WAS A SUPER STRETCH OF STREAM. THE CLUB DISBANDED QUITE A FEW YEARS AGO. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THE STRETCH OF STREAM BELOW THE GRAPHITE FACTORY IS A PUBLIC ACCESS AREA? THANKS FOR ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE ME. I ACTUALLY WALKED IN ONE DAY JUST TO CHECK IT OUT. I FOUND A HOUSE ABOUT 50 YDS. DOWNSHTREAM AND THEY HAD A NO FISHING SIGN ON THEIR LAWN, SO I TURNED BACK. MY GUESS IS THOUGH THAT THE STREAM IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC IN THIS AREA???
Ron Casapulla
10 Mar 2010, 19:00
I used to fish a small tributary of the Musconetcong River named "LUBBERS RUN" which was stocked with trout by the NJ fish & Game. On a recent visit to the area, I could not find this creek as things have understandably changed since I moved to California in 1968.\r\n\r\n I would appreciate anyone's help to provide directions from RT 80 , RT 46 or some other point of reference so I can find that stream on my next visit to Jersey.\r\n\r\nRon Casapulla
pat c
10 Mar 2010, 13:16
i have been playing an fishing in this rive for the last 36 yrs. i was 7yrs old when i found it an been fishing an playing all my life. i would hate to lose this river it meanes a lot to me
Beverly Fielding
02 Feb 2010, 06:02
Did you know that the Musconetcong River may be destroyed by Warren County and Franklin Township in Warren County? They are planning on developing a massive shipping container and truck warehouse distribution facility covering 192 acres (33 football fields) in Franklin Twp. (Warren Co.), across the river from Heritage Park in Bethlehem Twp in Hunterdon County and nothing is being done to stop them. This facility will run 24/7 and accomodate 700 - 1000 trucks with all their deisel pollution each day!! There is an important meeting for anyone who is concerned to attend: Land Use Board \r\nFranklin Elementary School\r\n52 Asbury-Broadway Road\r\nWashington, NJ 07882\r\nWed., Feb 3rd, 7:30 pm \r\nThere's a chance this development can be stopped if enough people become involved, but time is running out!!!!!!
alan viewig
22 Nov 2009, 17:04
Re bridge over Delaware at Riegelsville.\r\n\r\nThe style of the bridge over the Delaware River at Riegelsville which is attributed to the Roebling bridge company is a "suspension" bridge and not a "truss."
Like No Other
12 Jul 2009, 04:41
I have traveled the world and there is no other place like the Musconetcong river and valley area. I am privilaged to live along side the Musky. I respect and admire it, and its past, fearful of its future. I marvel each day to walk and bike along its side. Living in Jersey is not easy, but the Musky makes it all worth while. This is a selfish comment, for the river is for all, but it's my piece of heaven.
KJC
01 May 2009, 18:13
Is there a natural feature called Saxton Falls (an actual falls)? On maps, I see a town and a dam, but no feature marked as the falls.
bill
15 Mar 2009, 09:35
Hi,\r\nIf anyone has any good maps of the entire musconetcong river, lake hopatcong to the delaware, please let me know. \r\nbilldrexel@yahoo.com\r\n\r\nThanks
Al Byrnes
20 Feb 2009, 15:47
Our little country house on the Musconetcong River was a short distance from a very unusual (magical) store. It was called Tut's Hut. Perhaps someone who reads this may have been to Tut's Hut many years ago. It was another special thing I remember about the country place and the River of Joy in Washington township New Jersey. My thoughts about this special boyhood memory. \r\n\r\nA Reflection of Boyhood\r\n\r\nDo you remember Tut’s Hut? ... my younger sister asked.\r\n\r\nOh yes! Like it was yesterday, \r\nThough four decades have nearly passed.\r\n\r\nIt was a candy store, with such sweet inventory.\r\nAnd for the joy of memory, I’ll gladly share its story.\r\n\r\nOn its porch some sat to chat: to tell of this, to tell of that.\r\n\r\nAlthough a porch of shabby wood, on this porch a boy King stood!\r\nLong ago, an Egyptian leader. But at this place a silent greeter.\r\n\r\nBecause of him the curious came. And after him the store was named!\r\n\r\nBut to his magic, some eyes were darkened, but mine could clearly see.\r\nThe things so very special there were obvious to me!\r\n\r\nAnd what I saw was no mere store ...\r\nFor young King Tut stood at its door.\r\nAnd what I’d give to be age ten ...\r\nTo hear tales of this and that again!\r\n\r\nTo some,\r\nIt was just a place to shop,\r\nBecause of its convenient spot.\r\n\r\nTo me,\r\nIt was my favorite store!\r\nLike none I’ve ever known before.\r\n\r\nThis noble ruler from far away, Is he still there for kids today?\r\nHe never moved, he never could, for he was chiseled out of wood.\r\n\r\nDo I remember-Could I forget? A thing so simple yet so complex?\r\n\r\nWell, from his spot, he may be gone,\r\nBut in my mind ... Tut still stands on!\r\n\r\nA true story that I will not forget, by Al Byrnes 12 27-99
Chris Asmus
20 Feb 2009, 14:18
Can you tell me what rivers are navigable by kayak and canoe? Any nice put in/out spots or even liveries in the area? I hail from Michigan and would love to take a few trips this summer.
Jim Newquist
20 Aug 2008, 12:35
I am the Naturalist at the Stephens State Park. I am seeking information about these topics and people that are related to the Musconetcong River. \r\nI am interested in the Lime Kiln that is located at Stephens, within the 1st parking lot area adjacent to the Ranger Station. I am interested in securing info about the construction of this lime kiln, use over the yrs. since the 1800's and old photos.\r\nI am still searching for information about Mr. Art Neu, who has a monument located on the shoreline of the Musconetcong River within Stephens SP.\r\nI am interested also in finding out about Mr. Arnold Hagmark, 1906-1994/Father of the Park: 1937-1973.\r\nThis inscription is located on a bolder near to the river's edge at the 1st picnic table area.\r\nI am seeking contact with Mr. Donald Robbins, a local expert on lime kilns associated with Stillwater, N.J. Perhaps he can provide some insights into the lime kiln located at the Stephens SP.\r\nPlease contact me at (973) 202-4637. Regards, Jim Newquist
Jim Newquist
20 Aug 2008, 12:35
I am the Naturalist at the Stephens State Park. I am seeking information about these topics and people that are related to the Musconetcong River. \r\nI am interested in the Lime Kiln that is located at Stephens, within the 1st parking lot area adjacent to the Ranger Station. I am interested in securing info about the construction of this lime kiln, use over the yrs. since the 1800's and old photos.\r\nI am still searching for information about Mr. Art Neu, who has a monument located on the shoreline of the Musconetcong Riover within Stephens SP.\r\nI am interested also in finding out about Mr. Arnold Hagmark, 1906-1994/Father of the Park: 1937-1973.\r\nThis inscription is located on a bolder near to the river's edge at the 1st picnic table area.\r\nI am seeking contact with Mr. Donald Robbins, a local expert on lime kilns associated with Stillwater, N.J. Perhaps he can provide some insights into the lime kiln located at the Stephens SP.\r\nPlease contact me at (973) 202-4637. Regards, Jim Newquist
James NEWQUIST
19 Aug 2008, 19:35
I am interested in securing information about Mr. Art Neu; 1880-1941. Art was a conservationist, sportsman and casting champion. A monument is placed along the shoreline of the Musconetcong River within Stephens State Park, was erected in 1948. I am interested in securing information: why this monument was erected, what sportsman group was responsible and why this location was selected for the monument and the contribution that Art made to conservation and fishing in N,W. N.J.\r\nPlease send related info to Jim Newquist, Naturalist, Stephens SP, (903) 202-4637 ; or email to Stephenssp@verizon.net
Tracee Hart
26 Jul 2008, 12:31
I'm so happy to have come across this site\r\nat this time, so that I was also able to enjoy the wonderful poem by Ak Byrnes, which was just added to these comments\r\njust two days before I discovered this.\r\n I'd like to add to this a paragraph my Great Grandfather Gano wrote describing the beauty of the Musconetcong Valley, where he lived in his younger years: starting in 1859 close to where the river meets the Delaware. "The hills on each side of the creek that form the beautiful valey slope gradually to allmost mountain heights on either side and being cut up and cultivated fields of various sizes and colors frame a beautiful picture and lights at night, at the tops seem allmost like distant stars in the distance, a beautiful sight especially in the sumer." That was written\r\nby Archibald Gano when he was 86 years\r\nold and remembering where he came from.
Ak Byrnes
24 Jul 2008, 16:18
Oh the memories of childhood. It was the River of Joy for me, my friends, and my sisters. I wrote a poem about it. I wrote a poem about a store in the area called Tut's Hut too. \r\n\r\nThe Most Beautiful Place\r\n\r\nMany years ago, when I was about ten, my family and I and sometimes a friend,\r\nWould head to the country, a place all can enjoy,\r\nWhether young or old- but especially a boy!\r\n\r\nJust on weekends, but that’s enough time, for fishing, swimming, or a turtle to find. \r\n\r\nDaddy worked very hard, hauling coal from place to place.\r\nHe needed “get away time” from the city “rat race.”\r\nLess than two hours away, from our Irvington town,\r\nThe most beautiful place on this earth could be found!\r\n\r\nFrom a distant road, my mind’s eye can see, The River of Joy beckoning me.\r\nIt’s the Musconetcong both gentle and hard. \r\nIt highlights the border of a picturesque yard.\r\n\r\nWild flowers, bountifully found. Medleys of evergreens abound.\r\nScenes of nature seize the heart, the creator’s speaking work of art!\r\n\r\nFamilies of Deer at sunrise drink, bowing at the Rivers brink.\r\nHarmonious lyric of birds begin, my heart can scarcely take it in!\r\n\r\nThe River’s cooling breeze, sunrays yielding to the trees. \r\nPerfect gifts His love affords; none can merit such awards.\r\n\r\nAt woods edge a cottage stood, custom built with pride and wood.\r\nImprove this arrange, no artist could!\r\n\r\nThings at the dock were so exciting, Rainbow Trout at sunrise biting.\r\nThe “River Rope “ was there too! We’d swing way out into the deep.\r\nIf that chosen tree could talk, what tales of joy and fun he’d speak!\r\n\r\nHe’d tell of the boasting cannonball, with colossal waves and splashing!\r\nAnd the ((stinging)) belly flop, that brought with it belly laughing!\r\n\r\nHe’d tell about the legend . . .\r\nWas it true? We had to know!\r\nSo just like Tom, and Huckleberry. . .\r\nDown the river, we had to go!\r\n\r\nWe drifted on a canvas raft . . . \r\nso many miles we did roam?\r\nCuriosity kept driving us farther from our home.\r\n\r\nWe were longing for a beast of stone, as a hungry dog begs for a bone.\r\nHow much more must we explore? Where’s this beast we’re looking for?\r\n\r\nShe’s exactly where she’ll always be, secured by keyless lock.\r\nOur hope became reality. . . For we found ole'“Hippo Rock!\r\n\r\nSomeday if Providence allows, I’ll return to The River of Joy.\r\nEven if nothing there has changed, nothing there will be the same.\r\n\r\nI’ll think of Mom, so busy all day, friends and family coming our way.\r\nI’ll think of badminton and croquet, games my sisters loved to play.\r\n\r\nI’ll think of Daddy all the day, and all the things he might say.\r\nIt’s not what the River can bring. Nor the songs that bluebirds sing,\r\nNor wild flowers and evergreens, or any majestic lofty scenes.\r\n\r\nNone of these,\r\nOnly Love can make . . .\r\nThe Most Beautiful Place.\r\n\r\nA true story by Al Byrnes, 10-17-99 in loving memory of Daddy,\r\nSpecial love to Mom, Linda and Nancy!\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n
ed smith
02 Apr 2008, 13:25
please fwd my name and email to walt kocubinski in the above article
Otter
14 Mar 2008, 18:18
FYI: Hunterdon County now has a river access at the mouth of the Musky. I frequent this site so i ask anyone using it to carry out whatever they bring in and one or two extra pieces. Children also come with parents and I need to tell them keep their shoes on so they wont be cut by garbage.
Walter Kocubinski
31 Dec 2007, 07:18
I am 56 years old now and started trout fishing with my father and uncles somewhere about the age of 5. I grew up in North Trenton and fished the stony brook and assunpink creek extensively. Growing up though, we would always drive north to the South Branch of the Raritan or the Musky.(as we called it)Using old winding Rte. 31 as our way, Stanton Station on the Raritan and the intersection of Rte. 31 and the Musky were our favorite northern fishing spots. Naturally, the land scape back in those days was one of farmlands with numerous fields and countless tracks of mature forests. Remember when you would see "pheasants" eating in harvested corn fields or hear the males cackle on a warm spring day. Much has changed in New Jersey and it will never be the same as it was in those good old days. I, as my father did, have taken my 3 children to learn how to trout fish on the same Raritan and Musky Rivers, very near the same hot spots of old. I am happy to say that the efforts of a few to save the trout fishery has at least preserved part of my childhood memories and experiences. To those hard working conservationists who have worked so hard to conserve our trout fishing resources, I give my thanks wholeheartedly.\r\nSincerely,\r\nWalter Kocubinski
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