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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 10-11-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

Salmon were spawning throughout the river, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Some days fished better than others for them, but the angling generally was still very good. This has been a great run of the fish this year. The salmon migration currently slowed in the river. Some of the fish still trickled in, and that will probably last another week or two. But most salmon already arrived. Fishing for them will last a moment longer in the river. Salmon, mostly Chinooks or kings, and a few Cohos, migrate to the river from Lake Ontario to spawn, and then die in the river. That ends fishing for them in the river, obviously. This current peak of the spawning was on schedule. It usually begins in the first week of October, and the run usually lasts six weeks, like it looks like it’ll last this year. Rain, 1 ¾ inches, fell in the past week, after weather was dry for some weeks. The rain was welcomed. If rain continues, water will be released from the dam, raising the river. The river currently flowed at 335 cubic feet per second, autumn’s minimum level. That flow fished well for salmon, but a higher level could be good. Steelheads will migrate to the river next from the lake, and if the river rises, that will probably encourage steelheads to migrate in. A few steelheads and brown trout already arrived in the river, and the season was a little early for the migrations of those fish. Jay’s cautiously optimistic that the steelhead migration will be good, because the salmon migration was. A wet, cool summer seemed to cause the healthy salmon run. Currently, the river was a little warm for salmon, at 59 to 62 degrees. Jay would like to see the mid-50 degrees. His trips hooked the salmon on flies including black, olive or occasionally brown wooly buggers, crystal wooly buggers in pink or purple, size-8 egg flies in orange or chartreuse, and egg-sucking leaches in orange or chartreuse. Egg patterns become important during spawning. A few salmon began to migrate to the Genesee and Oak Orchard rivers farther east in New York, around Rochester. But Jay will keep fishing Salmon River until Thanksgiving, including because his steelhead clients will want to fish the river. After Thanksgiving, Jay fishes for a moment for huge brown trout that migrate to the rivers and creeks around Rochester. Afterward, he resumes steelheading on Salmon River throughout winter. Steelheads remain in the river throughout winter, offering a world-class fishery. They swim the river during that season because forage is more abundant there than in the lake during colder weather. 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. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


On Delaware River, upstream fished best, Bill Brinkman from Philadelphia’s <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> wrote in a report on the shop’s website. Still, fishing for small striped bass seemed to be improving on the lower river. More on that in a moment. First, on the upper river, smallmouth bass, small stripers and catfish were drilled. Anglers who fished the upper from Stockton to Lambertville totaled 25 to 40 fish apiece in a day. Just downstream, at the New Hope wing dam, fishing for all three species was great. Farther upstream, an angler at Delaware Water Gap on the river was pulling in 20 to 35 smallmouths per trip. The report also mentioned other locations giving up the fish between all these areas on the river. On the lower Delaware, near the shop, small stripers swiped Rat-L-Traps and deep-diving crank baits in early mornings. Once the day became sunny, the fish retreated deeper and got hooked on bait. In evenings, the stripers hit lures again: Rat-L-Traps, shallow-running crank baits, popper lures and Zara Spooks. This was at bridge abutments and sandbars. The lower river’s largemouth bass fishing was slow. Several anglers reported managing one to three per trip, and the fish were mostly small. Also on the lower river, catfish 1 to 4 pounds nibbled nearly any bait along bottom, like chicken liver, shrimp, chunked eels, nightcrawlers, bloodworms and bunker. Sometimes 4- to 8-pounders were taken on live eels or bunker heads. A few anglers talked about cranking in 3 to 8-pound cats and 15- to 24-inch stripers around Commodore Barry Bridge on the river. A 37-inch striper was eeled in Raccoon Creek, a tributary of the river. Fall trout stocking was underway in Pennsylvania, including at Pennypack Creek yesterday. More locations and details about different fishing were included in the report.


Fall trout stocking began yesterday, and Paulinskill River was included that day, said Dean from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Big Flatbrook is scheduled for stocking tomorrow. On the Paulinskill, trout were banked that day, but the fish seemed not to bite well. Sometimes they seem to bite better after becoming acclimated. Most customers fish the Flatbrook when trying for trout. The Flatbrook is nearer to the shop, and flowed at about a normal level, better than low water previously. Rain helped. For bait, fish salmon eggs, butter worms or PowerBait. If fly-fishing, throw bead-headed Prince or hare’s-ear nymphs or egg flies. Nothing was heard about Delaware River, but smallmouth bass could be tied into from the river this time of season, guaranteed. Anglers fish many different things for them, from different lures like soft-plastics and Rapalas to live bait, but in the rapids. The smallmouths are in the rapids.

Fall trout stocking kicked off yesterday, and trout streams ran at okay levels, not great, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Rain fell, and that helped. More rain could be used. Cooler weather to cool the water could help, too. Still, water levels were better than during some years, and anglers could fish for the trout with meal worms, salmon eggs, egg flies, San Juan worms and terrestrials. See the <a href=" http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/flstk17.htm" target="_blank">trout stocking schedule</a> online. Kevin fished Lake Hopatcong on a trip this past week, tackling plenty of chain pickerel and largemouth bass on white-and-blue chatter baits over weeds in open water. The water was 70 degrees or warm. Cooler weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday, but warm weather is supposed to return afterward. A friend fished Delaware River, reeling in lots of smallmouth bass on Keitechs and Senkos. Customers headed to upstate New York to fish for salmon on rivers like Salmon River. That angling was outstanding, the best in some years.

Pete Cusick won the Knee Deep Club’s walleye tournament this weekend on the lake with a 5-pound 8-ouncer, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Kirra Gilfillan took second place with a 5-pound 1-ouncer, and Hunter Good claimed third with a 4-pound 11-ouncer. They won $388, $235 and $156, respectively, and each was “in the bonus plan,” Laurie said. Anglers who won fourth through sixth places were, respectively, Alex Stockton for a 3-pound 13-ouncer, Alex Stockton for a 3-pound 13-ouncer and Tom Facciola for a 3-pound 5-ouncer. Those three won a $20 gift certificate to Dow’s apiece. Lots of crappies, yellow perch and white perch bit in the lake. Catches from the lake also included Cusick’s 2-pound 4-ounce smallmouth bass and Bob Smith’s 4-pound 3-ounce chain pickerel. Take advantage: Saturday, Oct. 21, will be a free New Jersey fishing day, when no fishing license is required.

Good fishing for northern pike, yellow perch and a few largemouth bass was socked from Passaic River, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. He heard about a couple of smallmouth bass from the river. For the pike, “moving” baits were fished, like spinners and swim baits. An angler and grandson also fought a large carp from the river, running up and down the banks to land the fish on light tackle. Lake Hopatcong’s largemouth bass fishing was good. Joe assumed that was on soft-plastic baits, like flipping and pitching them to weeds. He and Cheryl from the store hooked the bass well on chatter baits last week on the lake. Not much was heard about Greenwood Lake, except that a 15-pound, five-fish bag won a tournament there recently. So the fishing sounded productive.

The Toms River was included yesterday in the fall trout stocking that began that day, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in the town of Toms River. She and daughter actually fished the river before the stocking that day, banking four in the conservation area. The water ran low, but the fishing seemed good for the river’s trout. The fish were stocked near the tree farm at 11:45 a.m. that day. She knew a couple of anglers who limited out on the fish after stocking on the river there. One landed a couple of big hook-jaws. That was on Trout Magnets and spinners. Dough balls were popular to fish on the river, and PowerBait seemed to fail to catch as much. Some fished the river at Riverwood Park, scoring okay. Virginia and two anglers fished Lester’s Lake this week, and the lake was super-low. But they yanked in chain pickerel, sunnies and a couple of small largemouth bass on killies and nightcrawlers. Anglers picked away at chain pickerel on the Toms River at Trilco. Some big swim there. Trilco’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 fishing went alright at Forge Pond on shiners, surface lures and Senko rubber worms for boaters with electric motors. Crappie fishing was pretty good on Manasquan Reservoir on small jigs with rubber grubs or killies. Fishing for sunnies was solid at nearly every lake that held them. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Snakeheads seemed to start becoming aggressive, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. One customer landed four of the invasive species off High Hill Road in Logan Township at the spillway on the feeder creek off Raccoon Creek on a crank bait while he targeted largemouth bass. Peanut bunker still schooled Delaware River and tributaries, attracting schoolie striped bass that were angled. Catfishing was steady, nothing great, but steady on the river. If anglers fish cut bait like bunker, they should turn up decent catches. Reports sounded like crappies bit at lakes. Customer Tom D.’s trip with more than one angler – Bryan wasn’t asked how many – bloodwormed 40 white perch to 14 inches at Mannington Meadow. No details were heard about largemouth bass fishing. But customers bought minnows who headed for largemouths.

From <b>Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle</b> in Blackwood, Ed and wife smashed 19 largemouth bass at Stewart Lake in Woodbury on shiners last week, he said. That was during sunset for 1 ½ hours. A customer whipped chain pickerel at New Brooklyn Lake on minnows. Another was worming yellow perch at Grenloch Lake near the dam. Grenloch will be included in the fall trout stocking on Tuesday. Fewer anglers fish the fall stocking than fish the spring stocking, but some get after the fall fish. In saltwater, snapper blues ran the surf, like at Brigantine and Sea Isle City. No kingfish were heard about from the surf. Maybe some remained, but that angling might’ve slowed for the year.

Largemouth bass were in a summer pattern still, not a fall pattern at all, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. The water was warm, because of warm weather, and the fish still jumped on rubber frogs and drop-shots. Senko rubber worms sold well for the angling. Decent fishing for largemouths was reported from Malaga Lake, actually. South Vineland Park produced the bass fairly consistently. Good catches of the bass were made at Rainbow Lake, like happens often. The fishing there will probably hold up for some time. Crappie fishing was good at lakes, not great, but lots of rubber twister tails, tubes and minnows were sold for them. Plenty of white perch were hung from tidal rivers and creeks. In the fall trout stocking, local waters will be included next week. Those will include Giampetro Park Pond, Maurice River, Iona Lake, Swedesboro Lake and Mary Elmer Lake.

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