Sun., Dec. 9, 2018
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Salmon, Steelhead &
Trout Fishing

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 11-16-16

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River and Western N.Y. Rivers</b>

Salmon River’s steelhead fishing might’ve been improving, and fishing for big brown trout was about the same as before in rivers farther west in New York, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. He concentrated on the trout fishing, near Rochester, and those waters remained low in a drought. Oak Orchard River held more water than other rivers and creeks in the area. But even the Oak was becoming low now. Also, many anglers fished the Oak – trout were pressured there – so his trips fished the creeks. The trips covered lots of water to catch, because of the low creeks, and because the trout in the creeks were becoming pressured somewhat, too. The fish were becoming somewhat “crabby,” because of angler pressure. He began fishing smaller hooks, size 12. Trips worked to catch. Still, a trip Saturday scored a great catch of the browns with him. The trout grow huge, because they summer in Lake Ontario, spending fall to spring in rivers and creeks, because forage is more abundant there during those seasons. The size of the fish is why anglers get after them. The trips fished egg flies, mostly. Eggs can be effective because the trout spawn in the rivers and creeks this season. On Salmon River, the water probably flowed at 335 cubic feet per second, but Jay hadn’t checked recently. A few steelheads swam the river from upstream to downstream, and he heard about a few landed at the Douglaston Run on Monday. Steelheads seemed to become somewhat easier to catch, or maybe anglers became used to the fishing. Anglers waited for a larger migration of steelheads to push up the river from the lake, and that could happen anytime. All different flies were fished for the steelheads, including nymphs, Wooly Buggers, streamers and eggs. Anglers just needed to fish the water and see what worked in a day. Both the trout waters and Salmon River were cooling down, and fishing them was best after the sun warmed the waters in a day. Have a late breakfast and maybe begin fishing after lunch, even. Jay’s trout trip on Monday banked a few in the afternoon. The water on the trip was 42 degrees when the fishing began, and maybe peaked at 50 afterward. Air temperature that day began in the low 30s, reaching the 50s later. That was typical recently. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


A big musky, probably 44 or 45 inches, but fat, was released Sunday at a lake aboard on a trip with a client, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b>. Plus, a bigger, probably 50 inches, heavier than 30 pounds, followed a cast lure twice on the trip. The musky that was released swiped a cast Bulldawg Pounder lure in white from Musky Innovations. That’s a heavy lure, and a special Musky Innovations Bulldawg Rod was used to cast it. The lake was 48 degrees, and waters were becoming cool. Dave also ran a couple of trips that targeted hybrid striped bass at Lake Hopatcong, but the fishing, with chicken livers, was slow. One of the trips landed one hybrid and a bunch of panfish: big sunnies, big bluegills and white perch. The trip the next day landed only panfish. The fishing gave up lots of action, but not the number of hybrids wanted. Dave’s records show that his trips last year boated hybrids in late November in water in the 40 degrees. Strong wind often blew lately, and prevented some trips aboard. But Dave expects to keep fishing, and sometimes wind becomes relatively calm beginning in December. Maybe that’s because the change of seasons is finished. Dave scored good boating for trout on Round Valley Reservoir last January and February. Low water is a biggest concern currently. Almost all lakes were low in a drought. Dave heard that a gravel boat-launch was built at Round Valley, because the water was too low for boat launching at the usual ramps. The reservoir was reportedly 66 percent lower than capacity. Round Valley is deep and full of trout, though. Hopatcong was being lowered for the season, like annually, but slowly, for dock repairs. The boat launch there was reportedly going to be closed after Nov. 30 for winter.  Dave might check out other lakes, like Merrill Creek Reservoir that holds bass and trout, to see if launching is possible. Trout streams also ran low, like trickling brooks, he said. Dave sometimes wades for trout in streams in winter, casting Rapala Countdown lures, a fun way to fish that can be effective. He’s got another musky trip booked for Sunday and might run more trips for hybrids.

Trout streams were pretty much “shot,” said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Low water made fishing them difficult, but if anglers try for trout, they might try South Branch of the Raritan River. That reportedly held more water than some places. Midges like Disco Midges and egg flies could catch. Small bugs like midges become common in colder weather, and the fish usually bite eggs in fall, because of spawning that season. Walleyes were reportedly caught from Delaware River at the Water Gap. Smallmouth bass probably also bit in the river, because they usually do this time of year. Jigheads like ¼-ounce with a Gulp worm could hang the walleyes. The smallmouths could be plugged on suspending crank baits. Look for deeper pools to fish. Some big chain pickerel were axed at Lake Hopatcong. Nothing was heard about other catches including largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass from the lake, Kevin said when asked. But this is a good time of year to hook big pickerel on lakes, like on big, size-6, bladed spinners, like from Mepps. That’s something to do.

Wind often hampered fishing this past week on the lake. “It wasn’t good,” said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Not many anglers fished, but a few hybrid striped bass and walleyes were boated in deep water off points on Rapala ice-fishing jigs. A few perch and some crappies bit in shallows. A few boaters were out yesterday morning, casting spinners for chain pickerel. Whether they caught was unknown. One musky from the lake was known about recently that was reeled to the boat before it got off. But boaters were seen trolling for muskies. The shop will probably be open until the end of the month, at least, depending on weather. Then it’ll be closed for a break and reopened afterward for ice-fishing. That’s the schedule every year.

Passaic River rose yesterday because of rain, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Not much was heard about fishing the river, but a few anglers were known to reel in largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, occasional northern pike and some yellow and white perch from the river. Largemouth bass were still angled at Lake Hopatcong. Water was becoming very low for boat launching there. Round Valley Reservoir was extremely low. But when boaters could launch onto the reservoir, they scored okay on trout and smallmouth bass. In saltwater, striped bass fishing was great at New York Harbor, including on Upper New York Bay and on the East River off the United Nations building and at Hell’s Gate.

Chain pickerel and yellow perch are some of the hardiest fish and will bite in lakes as weather cools, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. They can also be found in the Toms River’s freshwater stretch. She angled pickerel in December last year. Crappies can also hit in cool water, and anglers familiar with Manasquan Reservoir boated them there. If a deep spot with structure could be found, okay catches of the crappies could be jigged. The fish held at structure. Customers also bought worms and killies and headed to fish, and must’ve caught something. Nobody mentioned trout fishing this week. A couple of customers fished brackish water for white perch, probably to the south toward Forked River and Manahawkin. The perch fishing’s seemed better there than locally this year. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

From <b>Harry’s Army and Navy</b> in Robbinsville, Matt was probably going to fish Delaware River today for smallmouth bass, he said. Friends said the fishing was slow, but he’d probably work tubes, jigs or jerk baits slowly in the cool water, probably in the 40 degrees, and see what works. Those are what he’d normally fish for them this time of year. But the river was exceptionally low currently. That didn’t help the fishing. He’s fished Susquehanna River for smallmouths toward Harrisburg recently, and that angling was awesome, and often is. He fishes freshwater quite often, and the angling in New Jersey seemed slow everywhere locally. He last fished the state’s freshwater at Mercer Lake for largemouth bass, and that didn’t go so well. Anglers might have better results fishing for panfish including crappies and yellow perch this time of season. Those can be active in cooler water. A largemouth or two might be picked up at some ponds. He’d probably work a jig or a Rat-L-Trap for them. Saltwater fishing’s been better. Matt and a buddy boated probably eight or 10 striped bass to 32 pounds and lots of bluefish, including a couple of 18- and 20-pounders, on the ocean off Manasquan Inlet on Monday. That was mostly on livelined bunker, a few on plugs and jigs. Bunker schooled, and a million boats fished the area. He talked with a couple of anglers who also had the fish near Barnegat Inlet that day. The fish and bait are schooling up and down the coast in the area. Boaters just need to locate the bait to find the fish. Blackfishing’s been good in saltwater, and six of the tautog became the bag limit beginning today, from the previous limit of one.    

Striped bass fed for shore anglers on Delaware River north of Commodore Barry Bridge, said Brian from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. National Park was a top place to lock into them, because of parking and access to the shore, and bloodworms were the bait to dunk. Matt Mangigian from Woolwich Township weighed-in a 5.2-pound largemouth bass this week from the pond near Swedesboro Lake. The lake is being drained into the pond, so the lake’s fish seemed to be swimming to the pond, lighting up fishing there. That’s a tip of the week, he said! Lots of trout, including big, 20 inches and larger, gave up action at waters included in last month’s fall trout stocking. Good reports came from Greenwich Lake. A combo of meal worms and marshmallows, the M&M combo, on the hook was the bait to fish. Nobody reported catching bowfins and snakeheads lately that were fought in summer in creeks and ditches off Delaware River. More anglers fished recently than before in milder weather.

Anglers picked away at smallmouth bass at Union Lake, often on jerk baits or swim baits, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland.  Not so many largemouths were clobbered from the lake, though they hit until recently. Lots of chain pickerel fishing happened. Tons caught were heard about from Parvin, Rainbow and Union lakes. Pickerel are aggressive in cool water, unlike largemouths. Crappies are also active in cool water, but not many were talked about yet. The season might be early, Steve thinks. A few diehards fished for trout on Maurice River from the fall trout stocking that took place weeks ago. In brackish water, white perch continued to nibble in rivers and creeks off Delaware Bay, like before. Blackfish snapped along bridges and jetties at the shore, and six became the bag limit today for the fish, from the previous limit of one. Saltwater anglers waited for fall’s southern migration of striped bass to reach South Jersey. 

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