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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 11-29-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Fishing was similar to previously for steelheads on Salmon River and big brown trout on western, upstate New York’s rivers and streams, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. And that was good news, because the fishing was good previously. This has been a good season for the angling. Salmon River rose to 500 cubic feet per second from 335 previously, one of the only changes for the angling. The upper river held lots of steelheads, really good fishing for them. Five-hundred is a terrific flow for the angling. Egg patterns caught them best for fly anglers. Maybe fly anglers cast nymphs on occasion, but this was an egg bite. The brown trout rivers and streams or creeks farther west, about 2 hours west, around Rochester, ran somewhat lower than previously. That was good, because previously they ran high, some of them too high to fish. Jay would say the Oak Orchard River there currently ran moderately to moderately high. Some people might say the creeks currently ran high, but Jay would say they flowed moderately. People seemed used to low water in recent years, and therefore considered the creeks high. The water was stained, but not in a way that would affect the trout fishing. Probably three-quarters of the browns were finished spawning, and that was about on schedule. These western New York waters also held rainbow trout and steelheads, and a few more of the rainbows seemed to arrive than before, and that’s normal. All the fish migrate to the rivers and creeks from Lake Ontario to spawn, and they remain in the rivers and creeks through winter, because forage is more abundant there than in the lake in the cold months. The trout spawn in the rivers and creeks in autumn, and the steelheads spawn there in spring. All the fish return to the lake for summer. The trout are huge because they summer in the lake. Jay’s trips are fishing egg flies for the browns.  Once in a while he breaks out nymphs, if the browns are crabby. He hasn’t tried fishing streamers for them yet, only because he hasn’t been carrying those flies on trips. The fish key-in on eggs during spawning. Afterward, streamers become a go-to fly, and are fun. Jay is concentrating on the browns while they’re available, and his guides are fishing for the steelheads on Salmon River. Eventually, ice will cover the brown trout waters, preventing angling for them. Then Jay will target steelheads on the Salmon through winter. The Salmon, a larger river, never completely freezes. Weather’s been fluctuating. “Welcome to November,” he said. Monday reached the mid-30 degrees, Tuesday was supposed to reach the 60’s and today was supposed to drop to the 30’s again. No lakes or ponds held ice yet. On some days, rivers and creeks were cold, making fish crabby. A mix of cloudy and clear days happened. Not much rain or snow fell this past week, but the ground was plenty damp, holding standing water at some places. That was welcomed after dry weather in recent autumns. All of this fishing’s been about as consistent as can be this season. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

<b>PENNSYLVANIA</b>

Several reports talked about good fishing for smallmouth bass and walleyes last week on upper Delaware River, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the shop’s website. The catches were crushed from Stockton to Bull’s Island, and the number of smallmouths hooked was dropping off, but they were good-sized or 14 to 19 inches. The lower river near the store gave up plenty of 1- to 4-pound catfish. A few largemouth bass were angled from Dredge Harbor along the river on minnows, Senko rubber worms and Zoom rubber lizards. An angler who fished Schuylkill River lit into great fishing for carp to 20 pounds at Gray’s Ferry last week. Catfish and yellow perch also bit there. Upstream from the dam, catfishing substantially slowed because of cold nights. Plenty of other details and locations were mentioned in the report.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Delaware River and Big Flatbrook ran low, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. He heard about no consistent walleye fishing on the Delaware yet, but fishing for them usually begins to pick up beginning this time of year. Anglers often fish for them with a shiner on a jighead or a plastic worm on the jig. Customers who trout fish mostly fish the Flatbrook. Andy this time of season would probably fish the Flatbrook with a wooly bugger or a bead-headed nymph like a Prince or a pheasant-tail. Lake Ocquittunk was included last week on Monday in the winter trout stocking, and fishing for the trout seemed fair for 15- to 17-inch rainbows. Customers fish for them with a variety of tackle from PowerBait to Trout Magnets. Nothing seemed a favorite currently.

Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna saw anglers fishing for trout on Rockaway River at Denville, but didn’t know how they fared, he said. He lives near the Rockaway, and the river at Denville was at a much better level than when it was low in late summer or early fall. The river farther downstream, toward Boonton, was pretty low. But Don heard nothing about trout fishing there or anywhere. He fished for panfish at reservoirs at Kinnelon, catching yellow perch and crappies alright on baby minnows, golden fatheads and garden worms. Both species are active or aggressive in cool water. Don fishes for catches to eat, and the reservoirs seem to hold clean water. The reservoirs were a little low, so he could walk on gravel along the edges, instead of fighting to walk through woods or growth. Any vegetation was gone from the water that grew in summer. The reservoirs were a pleasant place to be, with wildlife including eagles. Most talk about fishing was about saltwater at the store. Customers fishing salt found striped bass mostly in New York waters, and most of the fish were throwbacks at the moment, he heard yesterday.

Trout fishing was good on Pequest and Musconetcong rivers, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Most customers who fished, trout fished, and pink salmon eggs, baby nightcrawlers and meal worms caught. A few customers fished for walleyes on Delaware River, buying shiners from the shop for that. “I don’t know that they’re killing them,” he said. “Maybe I shouldn’t say that.” But they caught, and the shiners could be fished with a couple of split shots on the line above or on a lead jighead. Hook the baitfish through the lips, and fish along bottom. A nightcrawler on a jighead will even work in winter. In the cold, live bait seems necessary. The colder the water, the less that plastic baits catch. Nobody mentioned fishing at Round Valley Reservoir or waters like that. Previously, the shop reported that rainbow trout were banked from shore at Round Valley. The fish had moved into shallows in the cooling season.

Crappies and yellow perch were yanked from the lake during the weekend, said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. That was about all the news, and weather was windy until calmer weather this week. A group headed to fish the lake yesterday morning, but results were yet to be heard. The rental boats will probably be pulled from the water after this weekend. Then Laurie will probably be at the shop in mornings at least, until longer hours during ice-fishing. She hopes for fishable ice this winter!

A few customers were looking to fish for trout on local lakes and ponds, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. New Jersey’s winter trout stocking that took place last week stocks lakes and ponds. The fall stocking in October stocks mostly streams. Nothing was reported about fishing Passaic River. Anglers might find holes with northern pike willing to bite in the river. Pike are a cold-water fish. Yellow perch that also thrive in cold might be able to be plucked from the river, “if you can find them,” he said. Fishing for carp, a warm-water fish, is finished on the river for the season. The river ran somewhat high. Some anglers seemed to be switching to freshwater fishing from saltwater, because of the season becoming colder. But in saltwater, blackfishing seemed decent, and most striped bass seemed to be trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons. Little was heard about stripers from the surf, except about schoolies landed here and there. Larry fished the surf but hooked nothing.

Rainbow trout were tugged from Spring Lake from the winter stocking, said Jeff from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. Garlic PowerBait nabbed them, but he and his brother hooked none on a trip. They reeled in a bunch of yellow perch, one white perch and a 1-1/2-pound largemouth bass from the lake on nightcrawlers. The lake was stocked last week on Monday, and Lake Shenandoah was stocked with the fish the next day. An angler Jeff knows kept pasting a few largemouth bass at Lester’s Lake at night on a big, plastic, jointed swimming lure. That was mentioned in last week’s report, and that report mistakenly said the lure was metal-lipped. But it was plastic-lipped. Jeff in last week’s report said the lure looked like a saltwater one. Jeff eased a couple of chain pickerel from Winding River. Pickerel were angled from the Toms River. That’s always a place for them. A few pickerel were all that were heard about from Lake Riviera. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Tournament anglers still talked about tying into largemouth bass at places like Salem Canal, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. They fished jigs in black and blue. Nobody mentioned fishing for schoolie striped bass that were angled from Delaware River previously. New Jersey stocked trout last week at different lakes in the winter stocking. Windy, cold weather seemed to keep some anglers from fishing last week. But fish are around to be caught, and maybe more will fish in better weather this week. Today was supposed to reach 61 degrees.

Freshwater fishing was pretty good, and catches were heating up, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Rainbow Lake sounded like a hot spot for largemouth bass. Decent reports rolled in from Parvin Lake about the bass. The Menantico Ponds also seemed to produce the fish. Jerk baits really smoked largemouths currently. A few customers were out hitting trout from last week’s winter stocking, including at South Vineland Park Pond. The fishing seemed good, and PowerBait clocked the fish well. In saltwater, the striped bass migration began to arrive in the ocean. The stripers were especially trolled on Mojos. Trips for sea bass mugged catches on the ocean.

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