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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 8-9-17


Bill Brinkman from Philadelphia’s <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> ran a trip on Delaware River from Stockton to Lambertville that boated 21 smallmouth bass in 6 hours, he wrote in a report on the shop’s website. An angler who fished farther upstream said smallmouth fishing picked up but striped bass fishing became slower at Delaware Water Gap last week. The striper fishing seemed to slow in clear, summer skies that week. A few sizable stripers were reeled from the river from the New Hope wing dam to Trenton at night. Farther downstream, a few large channel catfish and flathead cats were eased from the river from Betsy Ross Bridge to Petty’s Island. Farther yet, lots of small catfish and small stripers bit in the river at Gray’s Ferry in Philadelphia. Photos of carp 20 to 36 pounds were seen from Schuylkill River from the art museum upstream to Norristown. Cats 2 to 25 pounds gave up great fishing on the Schuylkill at Gladwyn. Plenty of other details, locations and fishing were covered in the report.

<b>New Jersey</b>

Rain kept Big Flatbrook’s level okay for trout fishing, “not low-low,” said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sports Shop</b> in Sandyston. Participation slowed, and maybe the angling did, too. But the fish were hooked, including on blue-winged olives, terrestrials and some caddis. Most customers who trout fish work the Flatbrook. Nobody mentioned fishing for smallmouth bass that bite in Delaware River this time of year. Not a lot of traffic from anglers came through the shop this time of season, for whatever reasons, like maybe summer vacations. But smallmouths surely swam the river. The Delaware became muddy last week because of rain farther north. But the river never became “blown out” this season. Currently the flow was somewhat higher than usual for this time in summer.

An angler landed a 45-inch musky that was trolled Thursday from a lake aboard, Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale wrote in an email.  The fish chomped a deep-diving crank bait and was released, and Dave was on vacation afterward.

Rivers and streams rose because of rain, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Rockaway River, near where he lives, was almost “puddling” a week ago, but now was “where it should be,” he said. He imagined that if anglers wanted to trout fish on waters like that, catches could be good. Some anglers avoid trout fishing this season, because summer’s warm water could kill the fish during the fight. Most customers were parents with kids buying supplies for panfishing at lakes or ponds. Garden worms and nightcrawlers were popular sellers for that. For largemouth bass at lakes, top-water lures were popular, like Jitterbugs or Hula Poppers. Soft-plastics were hot for largemouths, too, and Senko worms were the top-selling. Most who were successful on largemouths caught after dark. Don’s always had his best largemouthing 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. this time of year. Savage Gear’s 3D Suicide Ducks are a top-water that’s stocked, and they actually catch. He landed a small largemouth on a black version, and the ducks are basically buzz baits, because the feet spin and kick up commotion on the water when retrieved. Two different Savage rats are stocked and are another top-water for largemouths. The shop is waiting for Savage’s new 3D Bat that’s a top-water that looks like a bat that can be fished for largemouths. So the shop will see how that works. Don thought the duck he fished was “pretty cool,” he said, and he likes different lures like that and the bat, instead of the “same old thing.” Largemouths seemed keyed in on baitfish or followed the bait, and that was where to look for them, like how anglers search for baitfish to find hybrid striped bass and walleyes at waters like Lake Hopatcong. Not a lot of saltwater business stopped in lately. Mixed reports were heard about saltwater success. Like fluke fishing seemed better to the south than from the ocean off Monmouth Beach to Raritan Bay, for unknown reasons. Maybe the water was warmer to the south, but the reasons the southern fluking might’ve been better were unknown. Everybody had theories, like some said migrations changed since Hurricane Sandy.

Been a good summer, tremendous, for largemouth bass fishing at lakes, said John from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Most lakes were “weeding,” so weedless surface lures fished well for the bass. Hybrid striped bass fishing was very good at Spruce Run Reservoir on shiners. Walleyes caught were heard about from Delaware River. Few anglers trout fished this time of year, but those who did seemed to score well. Rain this week surely helped trout stream levels. Most trout angling was reported from Pequest and Musconetcong rivers. The fishing was good there.

 Spruce Run Reservoir fished better than Round Valley Reservoir, said James from <b>Behre Bait & Tackle</b> in Lebanon. At Spruce, hybrid striped bass were slow-trolled on herring, shiners “or whatever,” or were hooked on the bait 5 to 15 feet under a bobber while the boat was drifted. The fish chased bait at different depths, and anglers don’t need herring to catch, James emphasized. Or top-water lures could be cast to hook the stripers at night. A variety of catches including catfish and white perch also chewed at Spruce, another reason the fishing was better than at Round Valley. Round Valley’s fishing was a “crap shoot,” and the lake rolled over, “leveling out” water temperatures, like happens this time of year. Rainbow trout were trolled at Round Valley on leadcore at three to eight colors, or 15 to 40 feet down, on Warrior, Spoonman or Sutton spoons. Lake trout were angled at Round Valley along bottom in 80 to 100 feet of water on dodgers, flashers, live bait, meatheads and occasionally glow-in-the-dark Warrior spoons.

Some reports about big northern pike rolled in from Passaic River, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. One customer showed photos of the fish from Little Falls along the river. Big catfish to 10 and 12 pounds were heaved from the river. Hybrid striped bass and walleyes were pulled from Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake, mostly in evenings on top-water lures like Zara Spooks or other walk-the-dog plugs. In saltwater, fluke fishing improved in the past week or so. Better late than never, he said, and good catches of porgies were axed. Some boats ran night trips for them. Catches in saltwater also included sea bass, blackfish – lots of small blackfish, but some keepers – and triggerfish.

Fishing for chain pickerel, sunnies and crappies was better than largemouth bass fishing, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. Largemouthing slowed a little, for unknown reasons. But shiners ran out of stock, and most customers fish shiners for the bass currently. Maybe that was a reason less was heard about largemouth catches. Shiners, plenty, are back in stock, though. A customer bought six dozen of the baitfish, and strictly fishes shiners for largemouths. Customers who targeted largemouths caught best at Manasquan Reservoir. Live bait – shiners or nightcrawlers – hooked them best there. Lester’s Lake was a notable place for the other catches like pickerel. The Toms River at Trilco fished great for pickerel. Different bogs and ponds also served up pickerel. Lake Shenandoah was probably one of the best lakes for angling a mixed bag of fish, including pickerel, sunnies, yellow perch and catfish. The cats bit salted clams “believe it or not,” she said, and nightcrawlers with scent like shedder-crab oil. The lakes at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area were another place for a mix of catches including pickerel and yellow perch. Virginia fishes there, and nightcrawlers are all the bait that’s needed to connect at Colliers. Carp and catfish hit at Spring Lake. For the carp, anglers usually chummed corn. Yellow Powerbait attracted the carp for a couple of anglers. The cats could be clocked on nearly any usual catfish bait. Powerbait worms attracted them.

Most customers fishing for Delaware River’s small striped bass landed double-digits, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Sometimes shore anglers also fished for them, like at Railroad Bridges at night on tributaries. Both the boaters and shore anglers mostly fished 4-inch, chartreuse Sassy Shads that imitated baitfish the stripers foraged on. Find the bait, and you’ll find the fish. Peanut bunker schooled, and even arrived deep into tributaries, including Raccoon, Oldmans and Mantua creeks. The shads were often fished on ½-ounce jigheads. Chartreuse also seemed to help stripers see the bait when the river was dirty or murky, and held lots of debris, because of rain. Bob March hauled a 4-pound largemouth bass from Greenwich Lake on a KVD crank bait in Citrus Shad color. Swedesboro Lake fished terrific for largemouths on minnows. Customers kept buying the baitfish. Snakeheads, the invasive species, kept biting in tributaries and ditches off Delaware River, especially off Crown Point Road, including on top-water lures, especially rubber frogs. Bowfins also lurked waters like that. Anglers bought frozen bunker to fish for bowfins or used other bait, including livelined.   

Largemouth bass catches seemed to slow last week, probably because of heat and rain, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> from Williamstown’s Facebook page. Early mornings and evenings fished best, and one customer drilled an 8-pound largemouth at Daretown Lake on a Rat-L-Trap. Another slugged a 5-pounder at Wilson Lake on a Senko worm in watermelon color. A customer who fished Oak Pond totaled three largemouths to a 4-1/2-pounder on a Senko in smoke color. Two youngsters picked up a dozen or more bluegills at Washington Lake Park on trout worms and nightcrawlers. Saltwater anglers lit up summer flounder, good catches, at ocean reefs. Many limited out, and flounder still swam back bays. Many were throwbacks, and a few were keepers. Offshore canyons gave up yellowfin tuna, white marlin and mahi mahi. Crabbing was very good for good numbers and some sizable.  

Lakes were high and muddy because of rain that hammered the area, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. A few anglers still hooked largemouth bass, and chatter baits seemed to catch well. A few good reports came from Union Lake and Menantico Ponds. Panfish like sunnies and bluegills usually bite well in summer’s heat. A few dry days should make fishing pick up again. Most business was about saltwater fishing. Good catches of summer flounder were boated on Delaware Bay and the ocean.

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