Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

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Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on April 4th, 2017, 6:11 pm

Is the next one in our sites and another breached dam that messes up nearly a half mile of open public water on our best trout stream. Working with the Raritan Headwaters Association, we will be removing the remnant dam and restoring the river well up Vernoy Road in Califon down to the top of Island Park, a Borough of Califon owned town park.

Weiss Mill dam at main breach.jpg
Weiss Mill dam at main breach.jpg (611.65 KiB) Viewed 1682 times


Weiss Mill dam panoramic view.jpg
Weiss Mill dam panoramic view.jpg (149.33 KiB) Viewed 1681 times


Weiss Mill dam impaired channel upstream resized.jpg
Weiss Mill dam impaired channel upstream resized.jpg (496.2 KiB) Viewed 1684 times
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby the hawk on April 4th, 2017, 9:42 pm

90% of my fishing is spent from that dam area thru the Gorge. I know they stock a lot of fish by that dam, but it's a mess there and needs to be removed. Even last year I caught wild brook and browns downstream from the dam in the park. Restoring this area will make this stretch even better. Can't wait!!
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby MR.MCR on April 5th, 2017, 10:20 am

Biggest trout I ever caught was right near that dam.....also tore the step off my truck from the boulder sticking up where you can park........
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on April 5th, 2017, 12:35 pm

the hawk wrote:90% of my fishing is spent from that dam area thru the Gorge. I know they stock a lot of fish by that dam, but it's a mess there and needs to be removed. Even last year I caught wild brook and browns downstream from the dam in the park. Restoring this area will make this stretch even better. Can't wait!!


Looking forward to it myself! Likely not sooner than late next year if not '19. But you never know. It requires a land conveyance from the county to the town, and those things take time. But everyone involved is highly motivated to do the project. We will treat it mainly as wild brown trout water as that section will be under the new regulations an enhanced wild brown trout fishery. But we'll toss in some native brookie habitat where we can as well. The quasi pool below the dam will be enhanced as well as it "has great bones" now, but could use a fine touch to make it great.
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on April 5th, 2017, 12:36 pm

MR.MCR wrote:Biggest trout I ever caught was right near that dam.....also tore the step off my truck from the boulder sticking up where you can park........


Ouch, I know exactly which rock you mean! PS - please tell your daughter we are on for the trip on the 23rd. Been busy and forgot to reach out to you both, sorry. :oops:
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby cjhooker on April 6th, 2017, 8:53 am

this is by far one of my favorite holes , i can spend hours there drifting the same fly. hope the restore doesnt "shallow it up" to much. hahahah
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on April 6th, 2017, 9:49 am

cjhooker wrote:this is by far one of my favorite holes , i can spend hours there drifting the same fly. hope the restore doesnt "shallow it up" to much. hahahah


Not to worry! You will have a different hole (pool) to fish there as we need to restore the badly undercut bank, but we may leave part of the undercut if we can (too soon to do the design work yet). Also, our conceptual design calls for 5 new pools, one existing pool being enhanced, and 4 new riffles to create better insect habitat plus a bunch of boulder strewn pocket water the half mile length to be restored. So instead of one pool being crowded with 2 anglers, you will eventually have a half mile of open public water managed for wild brown and brook trout that will probably also be state stocked with trout. Just watch out for the truck eating rock in the parking area :D

I'll make sure our excavator operator rips that rock out! We need to tear out the concrete flume anyway and stack it there for removal by either the town or the county, so we can easily tear that rock up for better parking.
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby joepanella on April 7th, 2017, 11:33 am

That will be a nice stretch of river. I talked to guy who told me he was catching tiny rainbows all through there a few years ago. Never fished the area much because of that dam.
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on April 8th, 2017, 11:32 am

joepanella wrote:That will be a nice stretch of river. I talked to guy who told me he was catching tiny rainbows all through there a few years ago. Never fished the area much because of that dam.


There are wild brooks, browns and bows in that reach, but there isn't much insect habitat currently which we will significantly change with this restoration. We are working with Dam Safety to get a letter stating it (the dam) is not a regulated structure which will help greatly speed up the process. However, we may need a Flood Hazard permit which we normally do not for these projects because we would be changing surface water elevations somewhat significantly throughout the reach. But that will just be another formality as we have the HEC RAS software to do the modeling for the permit, something we didn't have when we worked for Brand X. And the floodplain is well connected and undeveloped in that reach.
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Re: Weiss Mill dam on South Branch Raritan

Postby Rusty Spinner on May 30th, 2017, 9:58 am

This future project is getting tremendous "buzz" from the NJ trout fishing world, so I figured it had a lot to do with this post and some discussions with a variety of anglers from folks like myself and Jim Holland. This project isn't on a fast track as a parcel of land needs to be conveyed from Hunterdon County Parks to the Borough of Califon and then the watershed association can write a stewardship agreement with the town and apply for Farm Bill funds to restore the South Branch likely in '19 although it could happen sooner. But it is not going to happen this year by any chance for those wondering and asking around.
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