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

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 11-2-16

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

After a downpour flooded the river, ending a drought, two weekends ago, Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b> noted that he always says conditions can and will change quickly. They changed again now. Steelhead fishing became tougher on the river. Trips fished for one or two hook-ups, and anglers had better take advantage and land the fish, when hooked. No reason for the slow-down was apparent. “I’m putting it down to steelheads being steelheads,” he said. Steelheading can be finicky. The fishing could change in an instant, too. Just because the angling was tougher currently didn’t mean it would be tomorrow. When a pool was found that held a steelhead, the fish did grab a hook. They were eager to bite. Jay’s trips began swinging streamer flies across the river to cover ground. Steelheads swam the entire river from top to bottom. The river ran at 500 cubic feet per second, a healthy level, and was in the upper 40 degrees, good for the fishing. The water would probably reach the lower 50 degrees this week in warmer weather. Salmon fishing was mostly finished on the river for the season. A few remained in the upper river, but most spawned and died. Steelheads migrate to the river in fall, spend winter there, spawn in the river in spring, and return to the lake for summer. They don’t die after spawning like salmon do. The steelheading is world-class from mid-fall to early spring. Jay planned to scope out fishing for huge brown trout in rivers and creeks farther west in New York, around Rochester, today. The browns migrate to the Lake Ontario tributaries this time of year. They spend winter there, because forage is more abundant in the tribs than in the lake in winter, and return to the lake for summer. They grow huge because of summering in the lake. Those waters in western New York remained in a drought, not getting the rainfall that the Salmon River did. The western New York tributaries were “pools,” he said, not holding much water at all. Oak Orchard River held the browns and still some salmon currently, but anglers highly pressured the Oak. Jay planned to scope out other waters for the trout in the area. He expected not a lot of the trout to have arrived yet, because of the low water. Shots of rain fell on the area the past couple of years, triggering some early fishing for the trout. He hopes for rain in the area soon, like how rain suddenly replenished Salmon River. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Trout streams ran low locally, “like pools,” said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Few fished the water, though the fall trout stocking happened recently. Those who fished said they saw trout, but the fish were reluctant to bite. The reason couldn’t be known, like maybe the low, clear water made the fish wary. They were “kind of stuck in pools,” he said. An angler might hook one, but probably not many. Rain was needed to raise the streams. PowerBait was fished for the trout, like usual. Fly anglers this time of year usually fish pheasant-tail nymphs and hares-ear nymphs for the fish. Inchworm imitations usually work well this time of year, for unknown reasons. This season wasn’t the time for real inchworms to be common. Most customers fish Big Flatbrook for trout. Delaware River’s walleye fishing should pick up soon. The fishing can be good in colder weather. The Delaware also ran low. Rain was needed all around.

One or two anglers seemed to score trout well, but the fish seemed reluctant to bite, said Junior from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. They seemed reluctant since the fall stocking some weeks ago. Some trout streams ran low, and some ran better. Musconetcong River toward the dam held better water levels, maybe because Lake Hopatcong that feeds the river was undergoing seasonal lowering, dumping the extra water into the Musky. Hopatcong was 2 feet low. Some anglers who banked trout on streams pitched in-line spinners, sometimes Phoebes. Fly anglers also fished for them. Junior tackled a couple of decent-sized largemouth bass on Lake Hopatcong on a couple of evenings. Jerk baits and lipless or square-billed crank baits were lures to toss to them. The bass wanted “moving baits,” and he hooked the fish at drop-offs. The bass were active around 4 p.m. lately. Many customers talked about good striped bass fishing in saltwater from Raritan Bay to the ocean, south to about Long Beach Island, both from boats and, along the ocean, the surf. Boaters trolled or jigged the bass or hooked them on bunker snagged and then livelined for bait. Surf anglers whacked the stripers including on swimming lures like Daiwa SP Minnows.

A handful of anglers still fished the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Lots of yellow perch were hooked on small jigs. Walleyes and hybrid striped bass were sometimes boated off any points where water was deeper on Rapala ice-fishing jigs. Chain pickerel pounced on shiners or large, cast Mepps spinners along weed lines. Darren Ackerson nailed a 45-inch musky on the troll. The shop will remain open through this month sometime, depending on weather. It’s then closed a moment each year for a break and reopened for ice-fishing.

Some action was copped on Passaic River, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. A couple of anglers who frequently fish the river lit into a bunch of yellow perch and two carp there this week. Joe from the shop told her northern pike fishing was picking up in the river. He also told her largemouth bass were angled from Lake Hopatcong. Striped bass were hit on Hackensack River on any white soft baits like rubber shads or swim baits, especially Keitech 3.8-inch and 4.8-inch Fat Swing Impact swim baits in the white color named Sight Flash. The stripers loved those. Not much was heard about trout catches, though fall trout stocking took place recently. A few were nabbed from Ramapo River, and a couple of customers sounded frustrated at trying to catch trout. They kept buying different baits like worms when others failed to connect.

Waters included in the fall trout stocking locally still held some of the fish to pick at, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. The water included the Toms River at Riverwood Park and, in Jackson, at Bowman Road and near the tree farm. A few catches were heard about from each of those areas, and big trout were seen still, but maybe they needed to spawn to bite better.  Farther downstream on the Toms, chain pickerel turned out some good catches at Trilco. That’s a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building, but locals know the stretch by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Largemouth bass fishing was good at Forge Pond. At Lake Riviera, not catching something was almost impossible. Sunnies bit near the dock. Crappies gave up good catches in the lower lake. Chain pickerel fishing was okay at the lake. For largemouth bass at Riviera, top-water lures connected.

Decent largemouth bass fishing was rounded up from Mercer Lake and Stone Tavern Lake, often on crank baits, said Matt from <b>Harry’s Army Navy</b> in Robbinsville. Stone Tavern is in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, home to several lakes. Any other lake fishing heard about, like for crappies? Matt was asked.  Crappies and yellow perch could be found at pretty much all the Assunpink lakes and Mercer, he said. Little was reported about trout fishing after the recent fall trout stocking. Water was low, and that might’ve inhibited the angling. But he knew that some anglers locked into decent trout fishing. Trout anglers probably fished spinners, PowerBait and usual tackle and bait like that. Delaware River’s smallmouth bass fishing slowed. He fished for them often, catching not as well as before. The fishing was in transition with the seasons and always slows after the warmer months. Rain was also needed, and the river ran low and clear. The catches would probably pick up if more rain fell. Walleyes are landed from the river year-round, and he hooked none in a while. But when weather becomes colder, the walleye fishing usually improves. In saltwater, striped bass fishing was turned on in the northern half of the state’s coast. Boating for the bass was super. Surf-fishing for them could be good. He fished the surf Monday at Island Beach State Park and hooked no stripers. But he saw many that were banked, including a 40-pounder next to him. Surf anglers caught on plugs and livelined bunker. The stripers were keyed-in on bunker, so anglers mostly waited for bunker pods to be seen to find the bass.

Trout were reeled from Swedesboro and Grenloch lakes from the fall trout stocking, said Brian from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Yellow PowerBait was best bait, so far. Yellow perch and crappies were lit up at Mantua Creek at Crown Point Road on Trout Magnets and minnows. Michal Farmer cranked a 4-1/2-pound largemouth bass from Logan Pond in Logan Township on a Terminator spinner bait in Hot Shad. He reeled the lure slowly, because water temperatures were dropping, making largemouths lethargic. Throwback striped bass 16 to 20 inches were played from Delaware River from shore at places like off the DOD and at Pennsville, and bloodworms for bait for them could hardly be kept stocked. Bloods that were stocked Friday were already sold by Saturday afternoon, because so many of the fish bit, sometimes two on one rig. Nobody reported catching snakeheads, the invasive species, and bowfins recently along the tidal waters off the Delaware. Maybe cooling weather slowed the fishing, but that was unknown.

Customers still tied into largemouth bass at lakes, and they reeled some big, breeder trout from lakes included in the recent fall trout stocking, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. Dennis Pino from Philly clocked a 3-1/2-pound largemouth. Chris Strekis from Williamstown subdued three 2-pound largemouths at Iona Lake on red Senko rubber worms from Yamamoto. Mike Giovanniti took a 2-pound largemouth on a 5-inch Senko. Yamamotos and minnows claimed most largemouths known about. Frank Moore from Gloucester Township bagged a 5-pound 21-inch rainbow trout from Grenloch Lake on PowerBait. Mike knew anglers who socked smallmouth bass at Union Lake.

Fishing became slightly better in freshwater, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Some decent largemouth bass catches began to be made. Okay reports rolled in from Elmer Lake about that. Largemouths were hung from South Vineland Park. Union Lake tossed up a very good mix of largemouths and smallmouth bass. For largemouths, square-billed crank baits often worked, and spinner baits caught pretty well. Largemouths hit top-water lures a little. For Union’s smallmouths, jerk baits and Rat-L-Traps hooked up, and some anglers fished drop-shots for them. Trout from the recent fall trout stocking bit at Maurice River and Iona Lake on PowerBait. Chain pickerel chomped heavily at lakes, and spinners and minnows will grab them. In saltwater, sea bass, plenty, were bailed on the ocean, the hot ticket for South Jersey salt. Reports about blackfish were coming in from bridge pilings. Good striped bass fishing was underway in the northern state, and local anglers waited for the migration to slide south. Small stripers were active in South Jersey’s back bays. Those are younger, resident stripers, yet to migrate, that live there year-round, becoming active in cooler water.

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