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

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 12-7-16

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Salmon River’s steelheading might’ve been improving, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Rain fell last week, especially on Thursday, melting snow, and all of that raised the river. Eight steelheads, a good number, were landed from the river that day on a trip with Jay, and conditions weren’t even ideal. The water was cold, because of the melting snow, and the river began to be “big” that day. Eventually, the rain caused the river to rise to 2,800 cubic feet per second during the weekend. That’s high water, and the river had dropped back down to 1,600 on Monday. The Salmon by this weekend might drop to 750, a good level for fishing. Creeks were dropping promptly, and that might’ve indicated that the Salmon should drop well. The river had been low earlier this season because of a drought. Higher water triggers steelheads to migrate to the river from Lake Ontario to spend winter. A good migration seemed underway on Thursday’s trip, and that might continue. The trip caught on nymph flies and a few egg flies. The nymphs, bug flies, are a winter pattern. Eggs work earlier in the season, when salmon eggs fill the water, because of salmon spawning. Steelheads will spawn in the river in spring, but spend winter in the river, because forage is more abundant there than in the lake during the cold months. Jay previously concentrated on huge brown trout that migrate to creeks and rivers farther west in New York, around Rochester, this season, and he’ll likely still fish for them. Those waters had been low because of the drought, and were probably about average now. Salmon River receives more lake-effect precipitation. Oak Orchard in that western New York area held mostly rainbow trout and steelheads. The rainbows are also sizable, because, like the browns, they migrate from the lake to spend winter in rivers and creeks, because of the forage. Not a lot of trout migrated yet, because of the drought. Trips worked for them, covering much water. But anglers fish for the trout to catch trophies. Trips with Jay currently fished for the trout with egg flies and streamer flies, mixing it up. He specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Whether Big Flatbrook rose in last week’s rainstorm was unknown, said Dean from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Customers trout fish there, and the stream had been low in the drought. But the Flatbrook might’ve come up, considering that the Delaware River rose. The time of year was coming when walleye fishing becomes especially popular on the Delaware. Anglers fish for them with artificial worms like Gulps on jigheads.

Trout streams rose in the past week’s rain, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. So that was good, he said, and the waters had been way low, difficult to fish, in the drought. Midges, egg flies and San Juan worms should catch. Delaware River’s flow was in good shape from the rain, after the river had been low. Smallmouth bass are usually angled from the river until Christmas. Walleyes are usually fought from the river when weather chills for the season. Gulp artificial worms on ¼- or 1/8-ounce jigheads are bounced along bottom for them. Suspending crank baits are also tossed to them.  This was a time of year for chain pickerel fishing at lakes. Big spinners or suspending crank baits should clock them. Pickerel are aggressive in chilly water, unlike some species that go dormant in low temps. Anglers usually jig for walleyes on Lake Hopatcong about now. They often fish with Rapala ice-fishing jigs at drop-offs. Not much was heard about that yet.

A few anglers trout fished, and trout streams remained somewhat low, but the rain raised them, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. The water level was definitely better than before. The shop is nearest Pequest and Musconetcong rivers, so customers fish those. But they also fish other streams including Pohatcong Creek and South Branch of the Raritan River. He’d probably fish salmon eggs for the trout, namely Mike’s pink salmon eggs, because of the abundance of rainbow trout. The state’s been stocking rainbows exclusively since the virus that affected trout at the hatchery last year. Rainbows are less susceptible to the virus. Eggs can work because of trout spawning in fall, but rainbows just love eggs. If ice forms on lakes this winter, the shop is a source for ice-fishing reports, including from Oxford Furnace Lake and Mountain Lake, but also anywhere that ice-anglers fish, including on Lake Hopatcong.

A couple of customers fished Lake Hopatcong for largemouth bass this past week, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Results and what they fished were unknown. Passaic River ran fast and “up” because of the rain. He’d imagine fish including smallmouth bass and northern pike could be hooked from the river, if anglers found the right holes. In saltwater, striped bass fishing from boats and the surf began to slow, but the fish were still around. Blackfishing was decent. Many saltwater boaters began to pull the vessels for the season, including because soon many marinas begin to close for winter.

The higher water at lakes and Delaware River should help fishing, said Matt from <b>Harry’s Army Navy</b> in Robbinsville. Delaware River ran about average now, but waters like reservoirs in the northern state have been seriously low. The hope is that rain continues, because if the drought continues, waters could be quite low in summer. Not a lot was heard about angling. Many anglers this time of year will jump on a boat for striped bass or blackfish in saltwater, while those catches are peaking, instead of fishing for a few catches in freshwater. From lakes, just panfish like crappies and yellow perch were heard about, mostly. Anglers fish baits like small minnows, meal worms or artificial grubs for them. Many anglers fish the bait on a small jighead under a bobber. Matt still fishes Delaware River this time of year for smallmouth bass, and did on Sunday. The bass can be picked up all year, and bigger tend to bite now. But for the average angler, the fishing can be tough this time of season. The river’s anglers need to know exactly where to fish, and what to toss, and might only land one or two smallmouths all day. Though rain fell and raised the river, the water wasn’t so cold. It was 40 degrees where he fishes, and he’s caught the smallmouths until the water was 35 or 36 degrees. That’s cold. Matt’s been saltwater fishing quite often. In saltwater, striped bass were still picked from boats on the ocean and in the surf. The migration remained from Shark River to the south. But the catches were sometimes heard about from the Raritan Bay area still, farther north. Many of the fish now were throwbacks, but a couple were keepers. The ocean was 53 degrees, and the fish might stick around into January. Bait including herring schooled. Stripers seemed to have no reason to depart. He blackfished on a boat Monday on the ocean, decking a couple of keepers, throwing back a bunch of shorts, not great fishing, but okay. Anglers on the trip said about the same.

Some really good fishing happened, actually, at least for largemouth bass, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Good largemouthing was reported from Parvin and Rainbow lakes. Not much seemed to be doing at Union Lake. Jerk baits whacked the bass well. Spinner baits and chatter baits still took them. Swim baits picked up the fish, too, actually, he said. Chain pickerel will cooperate in the season’s cool water. Fishing for them was good at lakes. Anglers began to stop in for supplies for crappie fishing at lakes. Crappies also thrive in cool water, and minnows have been what to fish for them. Participation in trout fishing seemed to slow, though the state’s fall and winter trout stockings took place the past two months. Striped bass in saltwater was the biggest word. Boaters began to find them on the ocean off South Jersey, trolling the fish on Mojos, sometimes hooking them on bunker snagged for bait and then livelined. Nothing was heard about catches of the bass from the surf in the southern state yet this season. A few customers had been boating for blackfish on the ocean, scoring well. But most saltwater boaters jumped on the stripers since.  

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