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

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 12-21-16

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

In the Adirondacks, weather was cold, all the smaller lakes and all the ponds were frozen, much ice-fish was happening, and life was good, said Jeff from <b></b> in Lake George. The season’s first fishable ice formed this past week, earlier than during some years. Last winter was unusually warm, creating a short ice-fishing season. Fishable ice usually begins to form on bigger lakes, including Lake George, in January’s third or fourth week. If the cold weather continues, maybe that will happen in the first or second week this winter. Weather currently looked like that would happen. Maybe, Jeff added.  South Bay on Lake Champlain, a big lake, was already frozen. Long-range forecasts looked good. One day this week was supposed to reach the 30 degrees. But weather was supposed to become colder afterward. Anglers mostly plucked yellow perch through the ice. Jeff did see a 36-inch northern pike yesterday morning from Glen Lake through the ice. The morning was 2 degrees. “Yay,” Jeff said. Not all ice-fishing baits were even available from suppliers yet. But baits stocked include fathead minnows, medium shiners, large “pike” shiners and mousies. Hunts and icicles will probably be available in two weeks. is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop. The full supply of ice tackle and gear is stocked at both, and the physical shop carries a large supply of baits for ice hounds.

Seven to 8 inches of ice covered the bays in Great Sacandaga Lake, and 4 inches covered the main lake, said Lou from <b>Fuel-n-Food</b> in Mayfield, near the lake and other ice-fishing waters in the southern Adirondacks. Sacandaga was completely frozen over, and northern pike bit in the shallows through the ice there. A few walleyes were hung through the hard water, but no walleyes and yellow perch turned on so much, yet. Mostly northerns hit. So ice-fishing was underway, and daytimes reached about 25 degrees. Baits stocked for the angling include large “pike” shiners, fatheads and small suckers. The shop, a convenience store, gas station and café, stocks the area’s largest selection of ice-fishing bait and tackle. The full supply of tackle is sold, including tip-ups, jigging rods, jigs, lures, hooks, terminal tackle, power and hand augers and shanties. The store’s crew can point you in the right direction for the fishing.

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

Some cold weather arrived last week, but Salmon River is fishing well for steelheads upstream to downstream, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Rivers and creeks farther west in New York, around Rochester, were now frozen that he fished for big trout in late fall. Therefore that angling was finished for now.  But he’d already been concentrating on the steelheads lately. The Salmon is a larger river that never completely freezes. Twelve to 15 inches of snow now covered the ground at most areas from the Salmon to the western New York waters. But that was good, because the region had been in a drought. Nothing like a good snow pack in winter to put moisture back into the ground, he said. The moisture can raise the rivers and creeks that had been low for fishing. Salmon River was back up to 750 cubic feet per second, a healthy level for its steelheading. The river had been lower a moment during the weekend, just after especially cold weather. On some days, temperatures only reached single digits. Anglers on the river currently could expect to hook and fight two to four fish in a trip. Landing the steelheads is always another matter. The river sometimes held slush, so fishing 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the warmer part of the day, was best. A healthy flow in the river will keep the slush and shelf ice “under control.” Stoneflies are the workhorse to catch steelheads on Jay’s trips this time of year. Egg flies will probably work, but the stones are a more reliable pattern. On the lower river, his trips this time of season swing streamers like Intruders and Zonkers. White and other light colors, including pink, were working, but so were black and blue. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


One customer said a couple of anglers began ice-fishing on smaller lakes, said John from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Another reported jigging landlocked salmon last week on Tilcon Lake on small Kastmasters. Trout streams ran well, after precipitation recently. They had been running extremely low in the drought. This should be a good time to begin fishing them again. For anglers fishing conventional rods, spinners usually hook the trout this season. Trout Magnets also caught recently. PowerBait that’s popular earlier in the year isn’t popular this time of year. Fly anglers fishing for trout often connect on midges now, when only the smallest bugs are common in the cold. Nothing was heard about Delaware River, including about walleye fishing that happens there in winter.

Spotty ice, said John from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington when he was asked whether anybody began to ice-fish after last week’s cold Thursday and Friday. One customer reported 3 inches of ice someplace. But nothing was heard about catches through ice locally. Delaware River turned out some good walleye catches during the weekend. That was heard about. Shiners, nightcrawlers and crank baits caught.

Some skim ice currently covered some of the lake, said Joe from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Three or four customers bought mousies Sunday and then ventured out and tried to find a place to ice fish on the lake. They knew 3 or 3 ½ inches had formed then, here or there. But they were yet to return and report results. Weather became warmer on Saturday and Sunday, after colder weather the previous couple of days. The warmer weather continued since, and fishing seemed “stuck in the middle.” Skim ice prevented shore angling and boating, and ice was yet to be thick enough for ice-fishing. But maybe the colder weather recently meant a substantial ice-fishing season would happen this winter. The store is usually open 6 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m. daily currently.

Anglers bought tip-ups and all the other ice-fishing tackle, anticipating ice-fishing, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. A couple of reports rolled around saying a couple of inches formed at some spots. That became thicker since, he guessed. But whether any fishable ice formed seemed unlikely. Maybe the colder weather boded well for ice-fishing this winter, though. He and Cheryl from the shop took a ride to Lake Hopatcong. They saw ice at Landing, but how thick was unknown. They saw no ice, wide-open water, at the state park, and the main lake was open water everywhere. Anglers still fought northern pike from Passaic River, on live bait: shiners. The river’s water level was fine or not low and not high. Precipitation helped recently, after the Passaic had been low in the drought. Rain fell locally throughout Saturday. To the northwest, snow fell during the day, until turning to rain late in the afternoon.  

From <b>Harry’s Army Navy</b> in Robbinsville, Matt did no freshwater fishing in more than two weeks, he said. He last fished freshwater on Delaware River for smallmouth bass, and the fishing was very slow. Currently, the river was in the low 30 degrees, pretty much no good for angling. The fish won’t bite in the cold. If the water warms back up to 36 or 37 degrees, he’ll fish for the smallmouths again. In those temps and the lower 40s, the fishing will be slow but, for him, do-able. He fishes the river frequently and has the experience to catch, even when the angling is slow. Not much might be caught, but a fish or two might be. Most lakes this week were on the verge of forming ice on top.  This was an in-between time when weather either needed to become colder for ice-fishing or warmer to warm waters to like 40 degrees. Fish become a little more active a moment once water surfaces freeze. A couple of anglers had been clocking crappies and yellow perch from lakes. Chain pickerel could be angled at some lakes, maybe. Some customers trout fished on streams in the northern state, like at Musconetcong and Pequest rivers. The fishing was nothing crazy, but trout were picked now and then. Lures including spinners and Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows usually hook trout this time of year. PowerBait could work. Fly anglers usually fish midges, small flies, in winter for trout. In saltwater, blackfishing’s been best, fairly consistent. Striped bass fishing was mostly finished for the year in saltwater. But schoolie stripers could still be beached from the surf. The angling was nowhere as good as earlier this year, and the water was becoming colder. Saltwater anglers also fished farther from shore for catches like sea bass and cod at wrecks sometimes. They had to sail far off. Bluefin tuna were reported boated relatively close to shore, like 20 miles out, like on trips from Manasquan Inlet. That angling’s always hit and miss, but this year seemed better than during some years.

The cold set in last week, and that was it, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Anglers became scarce locally. But better weather was forecast for some days this week, and anglers could probably still hook a few largemouth bass from lakes, if they fished the days with fair weather and slowed down presentations. Anglers could always give fishing minnows a shot for bass, chain pickerel or crappies. Even saltwater anglers seemed to become scarce. Striped bass fishing in saltwater seemed to “back off.” But a couple of good blackfishing trips were heard about from the ocean. Weather and seas weren’t the best for boating saltwater in the past week.

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