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Upstate N.Y.
Salmon, Steelhead &
Trout Fishing

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 12-20-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

Fishable ice began to form on smaller lakes and ponds in the central to northern Adirondacks, said Jeff from <b>FISH307.com</b> in Lake George. Lakes fished from the ice included Eaton, Eagle, Durant and Colby. Smelt, yellow perch, crappies and sometime trout were reeled in. Weather was supposed to warm to above freezing a couple of days in the middle of this week. But during the previous few days temperatures were in the single digits in mornings, and weather is supposed to become cold again. “The weather’s in our favor right now,” he said. Weather seemed cold enough to begin building ice and was more like normal than in recent warm years. All ice-fishing bait will be stocked by the end of the week. FISH307.com is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop. All ice-fishing bait, tackle and gear is stocked during ice-fishing season.

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

“It’s winter fishing,” said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Fishing for steelheads on Salmon River and big brown and rainbow trout settled into a predictable winter pattern, right where it should be, he said, for trips with him and his guides. Trips for the browns and rainbows are in western upstate New York, around Rochester. Salmon River is two hours east of there. All these waters are tributaries of Lake Ontario. Weather was cold – dropping to zero degrees one morning – but became warmer this week. Snow covered much of the ground. After warmer days this week, weather is supposed to become cold again. Salmon River had been running high at 1,500 cubic feet per second, but now dropped to 335, low but very fishable. The river is expected to remain at 335 for some time. Fishing for steelheads was decent for the time of year on the Salmon. The high water caused a new slug of steelheads to migrate to the river from the lake. Two feet of snow covered the river’s banks, but warmer weather this week would melt some of that. The melting snow would make the river cold. Liquid ice, Jay said. That would probably slow the steelheading a moment. Egg flies and a few nymphs caught the steelheads on a careful presentation. In the western New York rivers and streams or creeks, a typical mix of browns and rainbows swam. The fish are large because they summer in Lake Ontario. Fishing for the trout was “creek by creek,” Jay said. Some creeks were frozen, and some were open water. A trip with a group Monday with Jay landed seven of the trout, a mix of browns and rainbows, on one of the rivers, the Oak Orchard, on egg flies. The water was a little high and was chilly. In that area, rain was supposed to fall the next day, and 6 to 10 inches of snow had covered the ground, but a few patches of open ground began to appear in the week’s warmth. For fishing on the Salmon and in the western New York waters, the fly box was a typical winter one: different colored eggs, a few nymphs including small stoneflies, some small brown or black wooly buggers and some Zonkers. The browns like to smack the Zonker streamers, because the browns are foraging on baitfish. In other news, a little ice formed on lakes and ponds but was yet to be thick enough for ice-fishing. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Skim ice had formed on lakes, but probably melted in the week’s warmer weather, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Customers usually ice-fish once 3 or 4 inches cover lakes or ponds. Maybe that’ll happen by mid-January or in February. Trout fishing on streams was about the only angling customers seemed to do in freshwater. Midges, tricos and small blue-winged olives caught.  Customers who fished saltwater mostly blackfished.

Some ice-fished a day or two at Budd Lake when weather was cold this past week, but that seemed unsafe, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Maybe 3 inches held there a moment. Weather became warmer since but is supposed to become cold again next week. Trout fishing was good on streams. Customers fished for them on Pequest River and on Musconetcong River at Asbury near the graphite mill. They caught on baby nightcrawlers and salmon eggs. One customer left to fish for walleyes on Delaware River, but Keith was yet to see the angler again, so didn’t know results. Walleyes can always be hooked from the river this time of year, so long as the river is fishable or not full of ice. The customer bought minnows from the store for the angling. A nightcrawler or a minnow on a jighead is the best bet for the walleyes. Fish the jighead along bottom. Nobody mentioned fishing at places like Merrill Creek Reservoir or Round Valley Reservoir. Trout could probably be nabbed from shore at Round Valley. They move into shallows in fall and winter. Or maybe the fishing was slow, because nobody mentioned fishing there.

A few people ventured onto ice on the lake to fish off the state park during the recent cold, but shouldn’t have, because the ice was only 2 inches or something, said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Now all ice is melted in warmer weather. Temperatures are supposed to drop again. Boaters removed all boats from the lake during the cold. The shop is open for no set hours until ice-fishing kicks in. But Laurie is usually there in mornings until noon or so, and anglers can telephone to make arrangements to get gear or supplies if the store is closed. When ice-fishing begins, the doors are open full-time.

 Anglers were looking to go ice-fishing, scoping out lakes and ponds, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. They were itching to begin the angling, but only skim ice, no fishable ice, was around. When ice covers waters but is too thin to fish, that can limit fishing options. The thin ice prevents casting a lure or bait to fish. Anglers headed for saltwater fishing, including for striped bass in the surf. That was spotty, and boaters sometimes trolled stripers, on Mojos. Saltwater anglers also blackfished, and that was spotty. Customers mostly fish the salt in the Sandy Hook area.

Trout were landed from Spring Lake and the Trout Conservation Area on the Toms River, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in the town of Toms River. At Spring Lake, when anglers fished PowerBait for trout, sometimes they also hooked yellow perch. Chain pickerel were also fought from the lake. Trout fishing seemed most “lucrative,” she said. Mostly bait hooked them, and the water seemed chilly for trout to chase spinners. She and family tried spinners on many casts. Trout Magnets under bobbers could hook trout, though. Twitch the line like every 15 seconds. Pickerel fishing was good on the Toms at Trilco off Route 9 on nightcrawlers. No stores seemed to stock killies or shiners this late in the season that could be fished for them. Trilco is a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building, but locals know the stretch by the name. Crappies were plucked from Ocean County College Pond on 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jigheads. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Skim ice on lakes probably melted by yesterday, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. But the ice prevented fishing on lakes previously this past week. If anglers try for largemouth bass while the water is open, jerk baits or drop shots should connect. Or maybe cast a jig or a Rat-L-Trap. Chain pickerel should be able to be wrestled from lakes, without a doubt. Minnows will attract those best and are stocked. The store will stock minnows as long as they’re available. The baitfish can become difficult for suppliers to catch in the cold. In saltwater, fishing was good for striped bass and tautog on the ocean. The stripers were mostly trolled on Mojos. Nothing was heard about stripers from Delaware Bay.  

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