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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 12-13-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Winter conditions began for fishing for steelheads and brown trout in upstate New York’s rivers and streams, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. The high temperature reached about freezing yesterday and was supposed to reach only 20 degrees today. Weather is supposed to be warmer next week. The year’s first lake-effect snow was forecast to slam the area last week, and snow fell, but less than predicted. In western, upstate New York around Rochester, where Jay is fishing for the browns, snow on the ground ranged from a dusting to 16 inches. A bunch of the trout, huge fish because they summer in Lake Ontario, swam the area’s creeks, and fishing for them will be day-to-day, creek-to-creek, he said, in the wintry weather. That’s typical for December, and Oak Orchard River, a larger river in the area, is always good for a few catches of the trout. Streamers including Zonkers and wooly buggers caught them well, but egg flies also hooked up. A mix of both worked. Jay fished eggs in natural color because the water was clear. A scattering of steelheads swam these western New York waters. About two hours east in upstate New York, Salmon River was raised to 1,500 cubic feet per second Monday, and officials were saying that would last to Friday. That’s high water, but was good, because it’ll pull more steelheads into the river from Lake Ontario, and will also “freshen up” the river. Anglers had been pressuring the fish pretty well. Six inches of snow covered ground along the river at Pulaski, and 24 inches did on the upper Salmon. No real slush held in the river. Egg flies will probably catch steelheads in the Salmon more than nymphs will, because of the high water. Eggs in Oregon Cheese color and pink should work. Fishing with streamers will be tough for the steelheads in the high water. The high water will prevent the streamers from being fished low in the water column and slow like is necessary this time of year in lower temperatures. So winter conditions were definitely here for all of this fishing. But these are winter fisheries and world-class. Fishable ice was yet to form on lakes and ponds. Some of the ponds held skim ice and maybe would be fishable by the end of the week. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

<b>PENNSYLVANIA</b>

Walleye fishing picked up on upper Delaware River from Point Pleasant to New Hope, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the shop’s website. Minnows or shiners on jigs pasted them. One angler totaled 11, including three larger than 20 inches apiece, in a trip. Another at the New Hope wing dam pulled in two walleyes and a smallmouth bass at slack water. An angler scored good fishing for flathead catfish on the river this summer from the Water Gap to Trenton, the person told Bill recently. The angler caught more than 150. Closer to the store, the angler’s buddy smashed flatheads to 40 pounds well this summer near Philadelphia airport on the river. Currently, the lower river near the store gave up 1- to 4-pound channel catfish, a bunch. Largemouth bass, yellow perch and crappies nibbled at Dredge Harbor off the river at rocks and pilings. Plenty of other details and locations were included in the report.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

If any fishing was getting the most attention, trout fishing on streams probably was, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Not a lot of customers did the fishing, but if you’re going to try for the trout, small flies including midges and emergers are probably best. If a warm, sunny day happens, maybe small blue-winged olive dry flies will hatch. But no sizable flies will come off until late February or March, when early black stoneflies will appear. Brian was unsure whether trout streams ran somewhat low like previously. He only saw Musconetcong River, and that wasn’t low, because Lake Hopatcong was being drained into the river. The lake is being lowered for dock repairs. South Branch of Raritan River might be running a little low, he said. A customer two weeks ago reeled a couple of rainbow trout from Pequest River near the hatchery, saying small flies like midges were the patterns to fish there. One customer was going to fish for landlocked salmon at Tilcon Lake. Tilcon and a couple of other lakes were recently stocked with them. News from saltwater was beginning to dry up. The last news about striped bass that Brian heard from saltwater was that a pod of the fish was migrating south from Fire Island, N.Y. But that was a week ago, and those fish could be gone now. Saltwater anglers boated for blackfish, and that angling didn’t sound great.

Trout fishing was great on streams, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Customers mostly fished salmon eggs and meal worms for them. Some good catches of trout were yanked from shore at Round Valley Reservoir. Those were rainbow trout taken on PowerBait or suspending minnow-like lures like jerk baits, and lake trout whipped on blade baits that were cast. Sometimes blade baits are more known for jigging from boats. Both species of trout push into shallows when weather becomes cold at the reservoir. Some other fishing from lakes, including for largemouth bass, will be probably be slow until ice-fishing begins. Largemouths become sluggish in colder water but willing to bite when ice forms atop lakes, for whatever reason. A few customers headed to Delaware River to fish for walleyes, but Keith heard about none caught. Whether those anglers did something wrong, like fishing at the wrong place, was unknown. But walleyes should bite in the river this time of year.

Northern pike should be able to be fought from Passaic River this time of season, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook, when she was asked for this report. Not much was heard about fishing for them at all this year. Maybe just nobody talked about them. The river, located near the shop, currently ran a little slow and is one of a few places stocked with pike in New Jersey. In saltwater, surf anglers were still hopeful about landing striped bass. A few blackfish were around that boaters could angle in saltwater.

Anglers had been tugging trout from Spring Lake from New Jersey’s winter trout stocking, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. The fish were hooked on PowerBait, and Dennis was unsure about what kind. But Virginia from the shop in last week’s report said that was the dough type of Power Bait that anglers can form into a small ball to fish on a hook. The PowerBait in garlic, yellow or the pinkish color named sherbet caught. Jeff from the store was supposed to fish at Spring Lake on Monday, Dennis knew. Dennis was yet to hear results. Something can always be hooked from the Toms River at Trilco. That water never freezes, and chain pickerel should be able to be clocked, and anglers should have a chance at crappies there. Minnows or spinners will fish best for the picks. Worms were the only live bait stocked currently, and Dennis was trying to stock minnows. Minnows don’t always pot this time of year. Striped bass no longer swam the river at Trilco that did earlier this year. Trilco is a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building. But locals know the stretch by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Chain pickerel never stop biting in lakes, no matter the cold, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. Lots of anglers target them once other fishing slows because of low temperatures. Nothing was reported about largemouth bass that become sluggish in the cold. A few trout were tackled from the winter trout stocking, including at South Vineland Park Pond. In saltwater, striped bass were boated on the ocean on trolled Mojos and Stretch 30 lures. He heard a couple of reports about the fishing Sunday. He also heard about a few striped bass from the surf, including keepers, from Sea Isle City, Ocean City and Long Beach Island, and saw photos of the fish. Bunker and clam caught in the surf, but lures often did. Lures that were reported to catch included Heddon One Knocker Spooks, Daiwa SP Minnows and Rapala Skitter Pops.

Chain pickerel were super cooperative, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Swim minnows for them at lakes. Largemouth bass fishing was pretty good at usual places including Davis Mill Pond and Parvin Lake. Union Lake fished fairly steady for them. Most largemouths were whacked on suspending jerk baits and drop-shots. Pretty good crappie fishing was happening at lakes on minnows and small jigs. Some were reported from Union and Alloway lakes. Malaga Lake is always a place for steady crappie catches when the fish are biting. In saltwater, striped bass fishing was terrific in the ocean from Cape May to considerably farther north in New Jersey. Lots of customers sailed for tautog and sea bass on the ocean. Those catches were fairly solid.

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