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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 5-31-17


Bill Brinkman from Philadelphia’s <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> scored a couple of good trips of fishing on Delaware River last week, he wrote in a report on the shop’s website. One trip tugged in eight catfish including a 13-pounder, an 8-pounder and a 6-pounder, moved because eels showed up, and reeled up a bunch more cats and a small striper. The other trip pasted eight cats, including six that weighed 5 to 8 pounds, and three stripers including a 21-incher. Farther downstream that week, upstream from Salem, other anglers on a trip landed 40 stripers 22 to 27 inches on bloodworms and bunker. Bill heard about no big stripers from the river, but wrote about plenty of other small, from up and down the river, including at Trenton and farther up, in the report. Fishing was great for catfish and small stripers on Schuylkill River, a customer said. Shad fishing dried up in Delaware River upstream at Black Eddy last week. A few shad remained, but weren’t worth targeting there. Shad were angled farther upstream, though, including at Hankins, N.Y. Fishing for smallmouth bass and walleyes picked up in some of the river. A few anglers averaged three to five smallies and an occasional walleye apiece at the New Hope wing dam. Another angler mugged 25 smallmouths 12 to 15 inches at Bull’s Island on a trip in the rain. Plenty of other fishing and locations were covered in the report.


Rain fell, but anglers still trout fished on streams, and caught, said Dean from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Big Flatbrook, where most customers go who trout fish, was still fishable. He didn’t know whether Delaware River was still fishable for shad, because he hadn’t been at the shop in a day. When he last heard, the shad were still angled, though the season was late. The fish often bite in mornings and evenings late in the season.

Weather was windy and cold, but eight walleyes to 6 ½ pounds were smashed Friday night on a lake on the year’s first trip for them aboard, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b>. The two anglers on the charter, casting stick baits for all the catches, also missed quite a few blow-ups. The fishing can be slow in windy weather, but not this night. This was one of the trips aboard that plug for walleyes in the dark at lakes. Walleyes push into shallows, where they can be plugged, at night this time of year to forage on spawning herring. Not a lot of the baitfish were seen. The lake was 61 to 64 degrees during the trip. The trip fished 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Dave had been thinking about musky fishing on the lake on his own in the morning after the anglers left. But he was wiped out when they left. Still, conditions are good for musky fishing currently. The water’s neither warm nor cold for the fish, and muskies are in post-spawn and should be feeding. Dave will set up a table and exhibit at the Pequest Trout Hatchery’s Open House and Sportsmen’s Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and say hello, and talk fishing.  

Good fishing for hybrid striped bass and walleyes was cracked at Lake Hopatcong on livelined herring in evenings, sometimes on top-water lures, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. The top-water fishing for walleyes was pretty consistent, and the hybrids were yet to really turn on. The water was cold, but fish bit. Kevin landed a 7-pound hybrid at Lake Musconetcong that must’ve come from Hopatcong. The fish bit a Keitech that he tossed for dink largemouth bass 10 or 12 inches. Most of the bigger largemouths were on spawning beds, and largemouths must be released through June 15 because of spawning. Trout fishing was good on streams and will be outstanding in June, because of plenty of water from rain. The streams ran a little high, and the angling should last another three or four weeks. Sulfur spinners and caddis hatched. Yellow soft-hackles imitated the sulfurs. Nothing was heard about shad from Delaware River, and Kevin imagined the river was in tough shape, maybe unfishable, because of rain that must’ve caused the river to run high.  

Lots of hybrid striped bass 5 to 8 pounds were seen from the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. The fish smacked livelined herring off any points in 20 feet of water. Nighttime fishing was excellent for mostly walleyes and some hybrids, mostly on Bomber lures. Ziggy Bak’s biggest walleye from the fishing weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces. Several sizable rainbow trout were weighed from the lake including John O’Neill’s 3-pound 9-ouncer and Tom Facciola’s 2-pound 7-ouncer. A mess of good-sized yellow perch and crappies schooled the lake. Lou Marcucci reeled in a 5-pound white catfish, breaking the record for the fish for the Knee Deep Club. 

Rain that fell every other day kept news scarce, but lake trout were hooked along bottom at Round Valley Reservoir in 80 to 100 feet of water, said James from <b>Behre Bait & Tackle</b> in Lebanon. Rainbow trout were grabbed 15 to 35 feet down in that area, swimming deeper than before. Few fished the reservoir’s shore in the weather, but rainbow trout banked from shore were occasionally heard about. So were a few yellow perch and smallmouth bass. Release smallmouths through June 15 by law. The scarce catches from shore seemed only because of the weather. Good reports about shore angling came from Merrill Creek Reservoir. Crappies, yellow perch and rainbows, great catches, were banked. Boaters at Merrill connected with lakers and some rainbows in 90 feet of water. Spruce Run Reservoir’s fishing was excellent, including for largemouth bass. Largemouths must also be released through June 15. Lots of channel catfish turned on at Spruce. Hybrid striped bass bit during daytime and nighttime there. A few northern pike, not a ton, were also wrestled from the impoundment.

Few anglers were around in the weather, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. She hadn’t seen Passaic River recently, didn’t know how the river was flowing. The river’s been high but typical for the season and not extreme. Customers fish the river for catches including northern pike that are stocked, largemouth and smallmouth bass and carp at different times of year. A customer yesterday reported heaving a 10-pound fluke from Raritan Bay. No striped bass fishing was heard about from the bay anymore this season.

Waters including the Toms River were scheduled to be stocked with trout for the last time this season last week, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in the town of Toms River. Few reports rolled in about trout fishing. Customers began to fish Manasquan Reservoir in evenings for largemouth bass and crappies. Largemouths are required to be released through June 15, and top-water lures like rubber frogs could be fished for the bass to avoid hooking lily pads and grass that began to grow thick at lakes including the reservoir. The lures could be skipped across the surface. Chain pickerel fishing’s been great. Virginia fought them at lakes at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. Lily pads began to be abundant there. But if open water could be found, plenty of pickerel swam the water. Largemouth bass were seen on spawning beds at Colliers Mills. Spawning is the reason largemouths are required to be released. If a minnow or other fish like that was tossed into the bed, the bass “were right on them,” she said. Anglers fish for spawning largemouths like that: casting something that seems a threat to the spawning bed. The bass usually eat nothing while on a bed, but seem to hit anything that seems threatening to it. Pickerel and crappies chewed at Lake Riviera near Brick Boulevard. Forge Pond fished well for largemouths and panfish in evenings. Tons of sunnies could be found at many lakes, willing to hit worms or dough balls. That could be terrific fishing for kids, and the Ocean County College Pond was a place for lots of the fish. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

At Grenloch Lake, largemouth bass were socked on shiners, and yellow perch were yanked in on nightcrawlers, said Ed from <b>Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle</b>. Let largemouths go through June 15 according to law. Catfish were hooked on nightcrawlers from Blackwood Lake’s spillway. At Glen Lake in Woodbury Heights, crappies and largemouths swiped shiners. In saltwater, Charlie Hertzog nailed a 49-pound 51-inch striped bass at Brigantine from the surf on clam. A couple of other stripers were heard about from the water.

Many species were willing to bite at lakes and ponds, and fishing was very good, <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page said. Weedless hooks helped anglers deal with vegetation. “Now with the lily pads growing in, carp have been very active,” it said. A customer banked carp to 14 pounds at Cooper River on Magic Carp Bait. Other catches included one angler’s six largemouth bass to 5 pounds from Victory Lakes on Zoom lizards. Toss largemouths back by law through June 15. Another clocked largemouths, crappies and sunnies at Collings Lakes on nightcrawlers. Wilson Lake dished up catfish to 4 pounds on nights for another customer. Another totaled nine cats to 6 pounds from Delaware River on Catfish Charlie dip baits.

Not much fishing happened in windy, wet weather, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Largemouth bass were sluggish. But if hooked, be sure to release them through June 15, according to law. Plenty of panfish including bluegills could be played at local lakes, including on nightcrawlers. Surf-fishing in saltwater made up much of the news in the weather. A few striped bass were beached from the surf. Bluefish were fought from shore at Atlantic City, not as many as a couple of weeks ago. Boaters headed for summer flounder on bays during this opening weekend of flounder season. Delaware Bay turned out a few black drum. Sea bass season also opened during the weekend, and trips began to sail for them on the ocean. The east wind that builds seas on the ocean was tough on boaters, though.

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