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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 4-12-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

After flooding from rain, the creeks and rivers began to drop that Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b> has been fishing for steelheads in western, upstate New York around Rochester, he said.  Four inches of snow even fell Thursday and Friday in the area. But he expected to fish the waters throughout this week. Anglers would need to be careful in high water, and the water would be muddy. But the water temperature was 50 degrees, ideal for spawning for steelheads. That meant plenty of the fish swam the waters. High water is typical for spring, even if this spring’s been one of the Top 5 wettest Jay’s ever seen. That’s after a long, severe drought this past year. Mother Nature seemed to balance out, though the replenishing water was coming all at once this season. Jay would fish bright-colored, good-sized streamers, the fun stuff, he said, in the dirtied water. The creeks were coming down, but the rivers like the Oak Orchard and the Genesee would take a while to do that. A couple of hours to the East, the Salmon River flowed high, probably 2,200 cubic feet per second at Pineville. That’s too high to fish, but the level should drop. The Salmon was cold or 36 or 37 degrees. But the water should warm, and Jay expects to switch to steelheading on the Salmon next week, like he predicted in the last report here. Ninety-percent of steelheads will be finished spawning this weekend in the western New York creeks and streams. Then they’ll return to Lake Ontario to spend summer. Spawning might begin to seriously kick in on the Salmon this weekend. The hatchery each spring releases a slew of steelheads into the Salmon, once the hatchery collects enough eggs from the fish. The hatchery currently had enough, and the steelheads were free to return to the river. The fish always pause before doing so, and they should return to the river in a week or two. That’s a large slug of steelheads that’s great for fishing on the river each spring. The Salmon’s been so high that many steelheads held in the fly-fishing zones that are upstream. Once the Salmon’s steelheads spawn and return to Lake Ontario, Jay begins trout fishing on streams. Trout streams also ran high, but if they settle within 10 or 15 days, that’ll be in time to fish the Hendrickson dry-fly hatch for the trout. Trout in spring creeks currently would bite nymphs and scuds. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Delaware River’s striped bass fishing began to heat up last week near <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia, a report said on the shop’s website. Bill from the store boated 11 stripers 6 to 18 inches that Tuesday on the river on bloodworms. He spoke with several anglers who tugged in 10 to 25 stripers apiece that were 16 to 27 inches. One big striper, a 20-pound 38-incher, was known to be angled downstream from Ben Franklin Bridge that week. That was the first hooked on bunker this season that Bill heard about. Farther downstream, some monster stripers to 40 inches were mostly bloodwormed near Salem last week. But some were clocked on bunker and clams. One weighed almost 40 pounds and was 44 inches, landed there the previous weekend. The upper river, like at Yardley, was flooded, so fishing the shad migration was dead.


High water made trout fishing difficult during this opening weekend of trout season, said Dean from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Big Flatbrook, where most customers target trout, was fishable but cold – 45 degrees – and Paulinskill River was unfishable. But the Flatbrook’s level now was in very good shape, and the Paulinskill was coming down, though not much was reported about trout yet. Streams like these should be in good shape for the weekend. Weather’s not been good and has been cold for angling this season. Forecasts look warmer now. Delaware River’s been flooded for two weeks, and was currently too high to fish. The shad migration in the local river is usually fished beginning in the second and third week of April. This week could be slightly early for the shad, but look for the run soon.  

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> released a couple of big, slab crappies and a bunch of smaller on a trip to a lake Monday, he wrote in an email. “Big roe laden females,” he wrote, and he also landed a few perch and pickerel on the outing. “Lots of bass up in the coves,” he wrote, and the water was 46 degrees in the main lake and up to 50 in the coves. Be careful in the chilly water. Dave on Saturday on Monksville Reservoir picked up a kayaker from shore who had flipped the kayak and was in the water 10 minutes before managing to get to shore. Dave boated him to the ramp, where police and an ambulance were waiting. The kayaker apparently was going to be fine, but was becoming dizzy, a sign of low blood pressure. Doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. Dave’s buddy on Tuesday nailed a 43-inch musky, every bit of 25 pounds, surprisingly on a Bass Pro XCalibur Rattle Bait, similar to a Rat-L-Trap, that he was yo-yo’ing for bass on 10-pound line in 18 feet of water. The egg-laden female was a gorgeous gold color and incredibly thick across the back. “I’d say at least 10 inches,” Dave wrote. Another buddy Paul Schmidt’s club the Northeast Bassmasters held its year’s first tournament on Lake Hopatcong on Saturday.  The winning bag weighed 20.3 pounds, and <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a> for all results.

Trout streams ran high when trout season opened Saturday, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. But the water was coming down this week or beginning to really improve. A little rain was forecast for today, but forecasts looked favorable in the near future. He expects that to be great for the angling in the next days. Customers are fishing Phoebes, small spinners and butter worms for the trout, if they can find the butters. The worms are stocked at the shop. Fly anglers are finding soft-hackled hares ear nymphs to be catching. For lake anglers, crappies, tons, big slabs, are “blowing up” Lake Hopatcong. They’re swiping small jigs, small Keitechs, jointed Rapalas and “you name it,” he said. A few largemouth bass and trout were reported from Hopatcong. But mostly crappies and also perch were. The trout were trolled on jointed Rapalas. Delaware River probably ran extremely high, almost unfishable. Nothing was heard about fishing from there, like for the impending shad migration. High water should begin to mellow there this week.

Anglers complained about high, dirty streams on Saturday’s opening of trout season, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. But anglers in the know still whacked some of the fish. That included taxidermist Sam McCall from Fintastic Reproductions’ 5-1/2-pound rainbow. Waters were coming down since, and Musconetcong and Pequest rivers and Pohatcong Creek fished great for trout. Customers often caught on PowerBait, Mike’s Shrimp Eggs and meal worms. They also scored on spinners, but most fished bait. All fishing was picking up because of warmth this week. Some sizable largemouth bass and smallmouth bass came from Merrill Creek Reservoir. More customers were headed there yesterday. A buddy connected with largemouths well at Cranberry Lake in a tournament. Spruce Run Reservoir was low, and no customers talked about fishing there. But anglers hoped for catches of northern pike and hybrid striped bass there soon. Delaware River was high, muddy and pretty much unfishable. Maybe that would change by today. Surely shad migrated the river locally. A customer tied into some during the snowstorm.

Plenty of crappies 10 to 15 inches and perch were nabbed from all the shallows and off the bridges, said Joe from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Trout were trolled, and chain pickerel were often hooked during the trolling. A couple of sizable largemouth bass were brought in: Eddie Mackin’s 5-pound 3-ouncer and Stan Culp’s 4-pound 13-ouncer. Walleyes are limited to catch-and-release in March and April but were landed.

Big brown trout were reported from Round Valley Reservoir – a few anglers cranked in 26- and 28-inchers – and the impoundment fished very well this past week, said James from <b>Behre Bait & Tackle</b> in Lebanon. Lots of rainbow trout and lake trout were clubbed Sunday during the Round Valley Trout Association’s year’s first tournament. The reservoir’s fishing’s been picking up, and that day fished especially well. Trolling the water worked well lately, including with Warrior spoons and Sutton spoons. Both boaters and shore anglers also caught on shiners along bottom. Shore casters banked rainbows and occasional lakers, and also caught on PowerBait and small Krocodiles like ½ ounce. Merrill Creek Reservoir seemed dead, according to reports about two trips that hooked nothing there. Spruce Run Reservoir’s water was like chocolate milk.

Passaic River flowed exceptionally high, almost flooded, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Customers fish the river for catches including northern pike that are stocked there, when conditions are fishable. High water also made trout fishing difficult on streams, since trout season opened Saturday. Anglers there had to hunt trout. But many of the stocked ponds fished well for trout, because the fish “had nowhere to get washed out,” he said. Anglers did fish lately. Lots of bait was sold, including meal worms, red wigglers and baby nightcrawlers for trout. PowerBait was also sold for trout. Thirty-two boats fished in a largemouth bass tournament Sunday on Lake Hopatcong, and the fishing was tough. A tournament was also held Saturday at the lake, and no results were heard. In saltwater, striped bass fishing was okay. The back of Raritan Bay seemed to give up good catches of them, and Joe joined a trip that boated five keepers there on Tsunami swim shads. Newark Bay, Hackensack River and the lower Passaic all reportedly turned out good striper fishing.

Lots of good catches of trout were made at Spring Lake on Saturday’s opening of trout season, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. The lake is known for that, including because of trout that Shark River Surf Anglers stock for the club’s annual kids’ trout tournament at the lake on the opener. Virginia fished the lake during this year’s event, and a 10-pound 2-ounce trout won. She saw lots of brown trout reeled in, mostly on spinners. Rainbow trout and brook trout were frequently taken on PowerBait during the contest. Catfish, not big, 2 pounds, were sometimes yanked from the lake, and Virginia hadn’t realized the cats swam the water. Rivers ran high for trout fishing, and the Toms River fished better for trout than other local rivers did. The cedar water fared better than the other waters including Manasquan River that was reportedly filthy, like near Route 195.  Largemouth bass fishing was good on shiners at lakes. Sizable were picked from Lake Shenandoah. Chain pickerel hit in the Toms at Trilco. Pickerel were angled from Lake Riviera on killies, shiners or, under a float, nightcrawlers. Crappies, including hefty, bit at Ocean County College Pond later in the day, toward dark, on small killies or small bits of worms. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Catching big striped bass became slower on Delaware River, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Many small were hooked, sometimes as many as an angler wanted. But anglers were disappointed about the big, and hoped the larger bass would reappear. The season seemed early for this to be the end of the big ones. Bloodworms, a favorite bait for the river’s stripers, were scarce throughout the local area from suppliers, and that didn’t help. The river’s anglers compensated by using clams along with pieces of worms on the hooks. Striper fishing is closed on the local river this time of year, and certain types of circle hooks are required to be fished. Anglers release the bass. Be aware about regulations. Trout fishing was excellent during this opening weekend of trout season at local lakes. Jake M. limited out at Harrisonville Lake on opening day.  Matt M. pulled two trout and a 3-1/2-pound largemouth bass from Swedesboro Lake in a trip. He lit into the largemouth while casting a black Senko while his trout rods were set in holders to wait for a bite. White perch fishing seemed to keep picking up in brackish waters in Salem County, especially at Mannington Meadow. Numerous reports talked about bailing them.

A ton of throwback striped bass were played on Delaware River, including near the DOD and in the Salem area, said Ed Jr. from <b>Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle</b> in Blackwood. Loads of bloodworms were sold for the fishing. Largemouth bass and trout were pasted from Grenloch Lake. The trout were nipped on PowerBait, wax worms and meal worms since trout season opened Saturday. A couple of big, breeder trout were PowerBaited at Rowan’s Pond.

Lakes were a little muddy from rain this past week, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. But they were cleaning up this week, and largemouth bass fishing was decent at lakes. Good things kept being heard from Rainbow Lake and Parvin Lake. Trout fishing was good “in spots,” he said, since trout season opened Saturday. Certain areas on Maurice River gave them up. The fishing sounded good from Iona Lake during the weekend. Many anglers chased white perch on brackish rivers or creeks, seeming to catch alright. Striped bass were consistently landed on Delaware River. Be aware that striper fishing is closed on the local river this time of year for spawning, and certain circle hooks are required to be fished. Anglers release the bass. A few customers sailed for blackfish on the ocean. That angling seemed okay, and sometimes produced big ones. Smaller were pumped in along jetties and bridges.

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