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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 9-13-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

Salmon fishing was very good on the river for early September, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. A cool, rainy summer currently made the river cool and a good level, ideal for salmon. The river was in the high 50 degrees to low 60s, excellent for the fish. Weather was cool, even cold for the time of year, this past week. That kept the water cool. Weather recently never reached higher than 70 degrees, usually. Slugs of salmon migrated to the river from Lake Ontario at times. They were a good mix of Chinooks and cohos. Although the population of Chinooks – Jay uses that name for the fish, and some anglers call them king salmon – is always largest, an equal mix of Chinooks and cohos seemed to migrate the river the past couple of days. Jay takes advantage of the cohos while they’re in. His trips landed up to a 14-pound coho and a 32-pound Chinook. The cohos were bright, beautiful and chrome-colored. The migrations of salmon were either good or quiet. When the migration was quiet, Jay’s trips just worked harder to catch. Nearly 2 inches of rain fell early last week. The lower river rose to probably 1,200 cubic feet per second from that. The water was murky one day from the rain. The river flowed at 500 early this week, and would probably drop to 335 afterward, and that’s a normal level. The salmon fishing looks like it’ll be good to Columbus Day, Oct. 9. Afterward Jay fishes for steelheads that migrate to the river. A few steelheads were landed from the water so far. Jay’s trips hooked the salmon on usual streamer flies and wooly buggers but also unusual, bright-colored flies like Comets. A mix worked, and trips just cast different flies to determine what caught at the moment. Jay fished the lower river, where most salmon swam. Few anglers pressured the upper river. So the fish there were less harassed or probably more willing to bite. Salmon will probably be spread from the lower to upper river in a week. Salmon migrate to the river from the lake to spawn this time of year, and die in the river after spawning. Steelheads migrate to the river next from the lake, spend winter in the river, because forage is most abundant there that season, spawn in the river in spring, and return to the lake for summer. Steelheads don’t die after spawning. Fishing for them is world-class from fall to spring. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Plenty of smallmouth bass were clobbered on upper Delaware River, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the shop’s website. The catches included one angler’s 20 to 30 smallmouths per trip at Delaware Water Gap. He would fish 4 hours per trip, late in the day. Farther downstream, three anglers totaled 120 smallmouths while drift-boating the river from Frenchtown to Bull’s Island on a trip. Farther downstream yet, most anglers who reported smallmouth fishing at Lambertville lit up 20 to 30 apiece. Bait and tackle that claimed smallmouths from the river included minnows, rubber grubs including from Zoom, Senko rubber worms, Fin-S Fish rubber lures and Tiny Torpedo and Zara Spook hard lures. The store also stocked up on Ned rigs that caught the river’s smallmouths and largemouth bass. On the lower river, near the shop, catfishing slowed a little but gave up five to 10 for most anglers on a trip. Baits that caught best were shrimp, chunked eels, bunker chunks and nightcrawlers. Plenty of 15- to 20-inch striped bass hit along bridges on the lower river. Bloodworms and chicken livers took them.  Plenty of white perch were mixed in. Other fishing and locations were also covered in the report.


Rain often fell lately, and trout streams ran a little high because of that, but formed good pools that harbored the fish, said John from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Anglers plucked productive catches from the holes. A few walleyes and hybrid striped bass were top-water plugged from Lake Hopatcong in evenings and at night. John heard nothing about fishing for largemouth bass at lakes and smallmouth bass on Delaware River. But largemouths might’ve bitten, and this is a time of year for smallmouth fishing on the river.

As summer ends, you can look forward to fishing picking up in fall, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Less boat traffic, too. The Knee Deep Club will hold a hybrid striped bass tournament during the first weekend of fall, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24, on the lake. Hybrids that time of year can be hooked from the lake on livelined herring, chicken livers and maybe Rapala ice-fishing jigs. Fall’s a great time of year, Laurie added. That includes because of the scenery. Jim Welsh last week reeled in hybrids 5 to 7 pounds, several sizable walleyes and a 12-pound 6-ounce channel catfish from the lake. Boat rentals will be available until early November, and the store will remain open in winter.

Round Valley Reservoir’s lake trout fishing will become limited to catch-and-release beginning Saturday, said James from <b>Behre Bait & Tackle</b> in Lebanon. That lasts through Nov. 30 and is for spawning. Lakers bit along bottom, but the impoundment’s anglers will turn attention to rainbow trout, because of that. The rainbow fishing should pick up soon, and a few could be trolled 20 to 30 feet below water surface on Warrior and Spoonman spoons and jointed Rapala lures in sizes 5 and 7. A few rainbows began to be banked from shore at Round Valley. A few 23-inchers were last weekend. Anglers look forward to the shore fishing picking up, too. Shore anglers fished for the rainbows with Powerbait on Carolina rigs and shiners on slip-bobbers. James hopes rainbow fishing begins to go nuts in a week or so at the reservoir. A few hybrid striped bass, not a lot, but a few chomped at Spruce Run Reservoir. A few crappies nibbled at Spruce and were suspended in 20 to 25 feet of water. A few northern pike began to hit at Spruce because of cooling water.

Northern pike began to be more active than before in Passaic River, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Anglers mostly fish spinners for them but also soft-plastic lures. The toothy pike tear up plastics, though. Smallmouth bass were also pasted from the river. Senko worms were tossed to them, but anglers also really liked Ned-rigged Z-Man TRD worms for the smallies. In saltwater, lots of porgies and some false albacore and bonito were beaten.

Catfish 10 to 12 pounds were some of the notable catches this week, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. The cats were heaved from Ocean County College Pond on nightcrawlers, dead killies or dead shiners cast 30 yards toward the sign or monument in the middle of the water. Lots of carp milled around Spring Lake, biting almost any bait. Fishing for yellow perch and big, slammer chain pickerel was productive on the Toms River at Trilco. That’s a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building, but locals know the stretch by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Largemouth bass were mostly angled at private lakes, including lakes at Holiday City. Fishing is catch-and-release at Holiday City, so the bass thrive and are big. But largemouths could be nabbed at public waters including Lake Riviera and the lakes in Jackson. No reports were heard about Manasquan Reservoir. Mostly sunnies were beaned at other lakes. Panfish were played at Lake Shenandoah. A trout was even reported caught from there. A few trout were reported from the Toms River at the conservation stretch, where only artificials can be fished. Spinners and trout magnets hooked them.  Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Swedesboro Lake was productive for largemouth bass fishing, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. So was Greenwich Lake, and minnows seemed popular for catching largemouths lately, including at Greenwich. Snakeheads, the invasive species, were fought on the ditches off Delaware River. They mostly smacked rubber frogs but seemed to prefer buzz baits second-best. Colors of the lures seemed to make no difference. Small striped bass were consistently socked at creeks like Oldman’s and Raccoon. The stripers fed on peanut bunker that filled the waters. So lures that imitated the peanuts caught, like white crank baits with a dot on the side, like the dot on a bunker. Companies make lures that look like bunker. The stripers were also nailed on Delaware River from boats and from shore on lures and also bloodworms. The bloods also tied into catfish. Crabbing was good on the Delaware and feeder creeks up to about Commodore Barry Bridge.

Customer Bernie Cologne from Williamstown landed three largemouth bass to 3 pounds at Oak Pond on a Live Target lure, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in the town. Another customer who fished Oak hung three largemouths to 4 pounds on minnows. Sue Allen from Williamstown fished Elmer Lake, totaling five largemouths to 3 pounds on nightcrawlers. At Clark’s Pond, Andrew Schemp from Pitman clocked six largemouths to 4 pounds. Jason Forest from Cherry Hill fished Iona Lake, pulling in two largemouths to 4 pounds on a black Senko rubber worm.

Largemouth bass fishing seemed to be “trying to turn around” at lakes said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. A “little better quality bass” were whipped. Ned rigs fished hot for largemouths. Jigs caught them well, and chatter baits began to attract strikes again from the fish. This was after rain that dirtied the water made largemouth fishing slower. Before that, summer’s heat did. But Rainbow Lake’s largemouth fishing was turning back on. Pretty good reports were heard about Sunset Lake’s largemouthing. Actually, anglers who fished Malaga Lake talked about scoring well on the bass. Some decent crappie fishing was axed at lakes on minnows and twister tails. Good white perch fishing was bailed at Maurice River and Fortescue Creek. News from saltwater became scarcer since summer flounder season closed Wednesday. Other fishing is also closed or restricted to small bag limits like one fish in saltwater. Anglers waited for the fall migration of striped bass in saltwater. Currently in the salt, plenty of small bluefish schooled back bays and inlets, and sometimes spots were beached from the surf.

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