The Ramapo in New Jersey is a great day trip if your visiting relatives, nearby on business, or if you want to fish a new place. Its located within a reasonable drive from New York City, and offers some good fishing for stocked and holdover trout. Take along a 3-5 weight rod, and give the Ramapo river a try the next time your in northern New Jersey.
The Ramapo River in northern New Jersey flows from New York state, and offers anglers good early season fishing for holdover and stocked trout. This river, located a short drive from New York City (approximately 40 minutes), has a good variety of hatches and diverse water.
The Ramapo river in New Jersey is paralleled by Route 202 for its entire length to where it flows into Pompton Lakes. Spanning nearly 10 miles in New Jersey, the Ramapo has an abundance of quality riffles, runs, and deep pools. It flows through wooded areas as well as some private residential areas. Some of the pools can reach depths of 6-8 feet holding trout into early summer.
At this time when water temperatures increase, the trout in the Ramapo will seek refuge near some of the cold water sources or hide out in one of the large lake like areas found along its path. Starting at the New York-New Jersey border, the Ramapo meets with Route 202. Here you can get onto Route 202 from Route 17 in Mahwah. At the bottom of the ramp, make a left and you will immediately see the river on your right. Here the river is accessible by finding areas to park along the road.
There are a few key areas that are good to find access. One area is across from Ramapo College behind the baseball fields. Downstream from there you can park along Route 202 by some of the dirt pull-offs located along Route 202.
Towards the bottom end of the Ramapo near Oakland, you can park by a couple of the bridges that cross the river. One of the more popular bridges is Glen Gray. The state stocks the Ramapo at most of the bridge crossing along its path. Bear Swamp Creek, which is a feeder creek to the Ramapo, has beautiful indigenous brook trout that thrive in its waters. The creek begins its journey from Bear Swamp located in Ringwood Sate Park. This is a beautiful little creek (5-15 feet wide) that cascades its way to the Ramapo river.
It has clear tumbling water broken up by small pockets and pools. Very skittish little brook trout can be caught here. Please respect this fishery and return all fish to its waters. This is a resource that is hard to find in New Jersey. The mouth of Bear Swamp creek is found between Mahwah and Oakland on the western side of the Ramapo River. The Ramapo flows through tree lined banks, and has many well shaded areas. Trout can often be found rising under overhanging branches or behind fallen trees and boulders. Dries are usually best starting around the 1st of May and going throughout the summer if conditions allow.
Nymphs are always productive here like on most streams. Streamers work well on the Ramapo especially early in the year when the water is high and off color. Take along a sinking line if your going early season to get down with streamers. T