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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 9-27-17

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

Weather was hot, and for the past three weeks was dry, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. But the river’s salmon fishing was good, considering. The river, flowing at 335 cubic feet per second, the minimum level for autumn, reached 68 degrees Monday, when he gave this report. That temperature, on a 90-degree day, was high for salmon. The river was 60 to 62 degrees on most mornings. Weather was supposed to begin cooling today. Despite the warmth, very consistent trickles of salmon migrated to the river from Lake Ontario. No matter the high temperature, the fish were “grabby” or willing to bite, and were powerful. Salmon are usually aggressive when hooked when they first enter the river, and they were now. The peak of the run was beginning, and the bite was strong. The salmon will probably spawn in two weeks. The fish, mostly kings or Chinooks, swam throughout the river. A few cohos migrated in. Big Chinooks swam the river, and on one day this past week, a trip with Jay hooked a mess of 26- to 28-pounders. A trip with one angler with Jay on Monday, the day Jay gave this report, landed seven or eight Chinooks. Lots of the salmon filled the river. A steelhead was landed on the river during the weekend with Jay, and a few were around. Steelheads will migrate to the river next, and seeing them this early seemed good. On bright, sunny days, Jay’s trips fished with flies like olive or black wooly buggers with a little flash. Early in mornings while skies were gray, the trips fished with bright-colored flies like hot pink or chartreuse that seemed more visible to the fish. Sometimes when days were hot, the trips slowed the presentation of the fly, or dead-drifted the fly, on a swing quartered across the river’s flow. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides. Some days of the fishing were on, and some were off, but the angling kept getting better. A cool, wet summer might’ve helped the fishing now. The river flowed cool and at a healthy level at the beginning of the salmon migration this year, and in recent years flowed low and warm then, because of dry, hot summers. Maybe the heat wave and dry weather these past weeks meant the river will become low. But in fishing, predictions like that prove difficult to make. Anglers might’ve thought the cool, wet weather this summer would’ve continued currently, for example.     


Delaware River fished hot for smallmouth bass last week, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the shop’s website. He and another angler boated 51 of the smallies on a trip from Stockton to New Hope. Most were 12 to 14 inches, but two were 18 and 19 inches. Six catfish to 6 pounds and five small striped bass were also reeled in. Several customers yanked in smallies, stripers and cats from the river at New Hope. An angler fishing farther upstream at Delaware Water Gap said leaves began to float the river, fouling top-water lures. But he totaled 20 to 30 smallies per afternoon on rubber grubs, Senko worms and jerk shads. On the lower river near the store, plenty of catfish bit. On Schuylkill River, great fishing for smallmouths, cats and carp was clubbed. Small stripers, yellow perch, white perch and walleyes also came from the Schuylkill. Plenty of other details and locations were written about in the report.


A trip Saturday boated and released this musky aboard a 74-degree lake, Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> wrote in an email. The trip also scored four follows, and another trip Sunday aboard with another angler released a small musky, 25 inches, but a musky nonetheless. Even small muskies are tough to catch. “(Muskies) are evolutionary programmed to be elusive,” Dave wrote. The fish chomped a Bagley Big Game Spinnerbait. That trip also missed a musky and had four follows. The trip first fished Mountain Lake, where the missed musky chased a cast lure during a figure-eight at the boat. Musky anglers sometimes swim lures in a figure-eight at the end of a cast, because sometimes that draws strikes. But lots of boats motored Mountain Lake, so Dave moved the trip to Oxford Furnace Lake, where the rest of the action with muskies happened on the outing. Weather was hot.

A customer and son won a bass tournament at Lake Hopatcong two weekends ago with a five-fish bag heavier than 17 pounds, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. The customer wouldn’t say what they fished. Don and crew from the store are supposed to fish for bass at the lake next week with Pure Fishing, so the tackle distributor can demonstrate tackle. Don knew that hybrid striped bass were landed at Hopatcong, because a participant in an overnight tournament for the fish there last weekend talked about results. The angler said only an 8-pounder won. Much news at the shop came from kids fishing for largemouth bass at local ponds. They were catching, usually on lures including top-waters. Whopper Popper’s have been popular top-waters in the past six months, and the lure’s been stocked since the past year. About four telephone calls per day are asking if the lures are stocked. At first, people kept asking if the lures were stocked in the color black. Lately, all different colors have been popular. Not much was heard about trout, but the fall trout stocking will begin Oct. 10. That should draw interest. In saltwater, John from the store, a surf angler, fished the beach at Sandy Hook last Wednesday, John said. Six-inch bluefish seemed the only catches. False albacore could storm into the surf this time of year, but none did while John fished. Stormy weather had “beaten up” the beach, John saw. Larger bluefish to 15 pounds seemed around lately, at least for boaters on the ocean. The fish were reported from vessels like the party boat Golden Eagle from Belmar.

Forty-seven anglers signed up for the Knee Deep Club’s hybrid striped bass tournament on the lake Saturday to Sunday, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. But they struggled to catch hybrids big enough to enter. Only six legal-sized were checked-in, and lots of smaller were hooked. Jack Dziduch came in first place with a 7-pound 12-ounce hybrid, winning $375. Robert Smith took second with a 6-pound 7-ouncer, winning $282, and Brandon Wood claimed third with 5-pound 14-ouncer, winning $151. Michael Matriscanno won a $20 gift certificate for the fourth-largest, and Derrick Henches won the junior-member division and was awarded a rod-and-reel combo. The club’s final tournament this year will be for walleyes Oct. 7 and 8. “Hopefully the weather cools off some!” Laurie wrote. Boat traffic should be light, “so make your plans,” she said. Lots of crappies and white perch nibbled in the lake on small, live herring, small, rubber jigs and size-2 Rapala ice-fishing jigs. Boat rentals will be available until November sometime. The shop will remain open for bait and tackle afterward. Here’s hoping for a great ice-fishing season on the lake! Laurie said.

Weather was hot and is supposed to cool beginning tomorrow, said James from <b>Behre Bait & Tackle</b> in Lebanon. Whatever happened with fishing in the heat might not be what happens in the cooler weather. Anglers had begun to bank trout from shore at Round Valley Reservoir. The heat pushed the trout back to deeper water, drying up those catches. Then only largemouth and smallmouth bass were banked, on shiners along bottom. Boaters trolled rainbow trout at the reservoir in the heat with no problem. They connected 15 to 30 feet down in 60 to 80 feet of water on Warrior, Spoonman and Challenger spoons. At Spruce Run Reservoir, hybrid striped bass fishing had slowed when weather cooled. Weather heated up, and a few of the hybrids bit again, on shiners. A few crappies chewed at Spruce.

Passaic River fished well for northern pike and smallmouth bass, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Kayakers cleaned up on them. They also angled a number of yellow perch from the river. For the pike, “moving” baits were fished. That included spinner baits. Some anglers threw top-waters like small Hula Poppers. “Old school,” he said. Largemouth bass fishing was okay on Lake Hopatcong. The fish were hooked, also on “moving” baits. That included chatter baits. Swim jigs were also fished, and so were plastic baits, flipped to the grass. Ned rigs caught. Boat racing at Hopatcong this past week was tough on fishing. Largemouths were winged at local ponds. So were lots of panfish.

Many customers fished the Toms River at Trilco, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in the town of Toms River. That’s a closed building supply, and the anglers fought chain pickerel and largemouth bass, pretty good catches, fishing mostly killies and nightcrawlers. Some big yellow perch bit there this past week, too. No sign identifies the Trilco building, but locals know the stretch of river by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Big yellow perch also hit at the water off Lakehurst Road in the past week. That body of water has no name that Virginia was award about, but locals would know where she meant. The perch were also reeled from Lester’s Lake across from Ocean County Mall. Nightcrawlers fished with a split shot underneath a bobber nabbed the perch. Before the heat spell, some customers picked largemouth bass at Manasquan Reservoir. Spinner baits and Senko rubber worms connected. Sometimes crappies were copped from the reservoir on Mister Twisters on small jigs and spinner baits. Lots of panfish still bit, including at Winding River. Winding River was pressured little this year. Virginia’s looking forward to fall trout stocking. Locally, the Toms, Metedeconk and Manasquan rivers will be included Oct. 10 in the stocking. Weather should be cooler then, and she hopes for rain for the water levels. Murphy's, located on Rouge 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Customer Craig M. pulled a 4-pound largemouth bass from Salem Canal on a 5-inch, black-and-blue Senko worm, said Bryan from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Swedesboro Lake produced largemouths, not big, but action for shore anglers, especially near the dam, on minnows. Catfishing gave up steady catches on Delaware River from the shore nearly everywhere. Or location didn’t matter much. Cut bunker was the bait of choice.  Catches of schoolie striped bass slowed somewhat on the river and creeks feeding the river. Still, a dozen of the bass hooked in a trip was normal. Sassy Shads and crank baits tied into them and could imitate peanut bunker. Plenty of peanuts schooled the creeks. Stripers in the creeks were angled as far upstream as 3 or 4 miles. At the bridge near Vesuvio’s restaurant in Swedesboro tossed up the bass. Bryan saw a photo of a fish from a creek that looked like a hybrid striper. The stripes looked “broken” like a hybrid. The fish was suspected to be one. Nobody talked about snakeheads, the invasive species, lately that Bryan in recent reports here reported biting in the Delaware’s tributaries. Speaking of peanut bunker, customer Jake Jr. castnetted the baitfish at Raccoon Creek, took a dozen to Mullica River near the coast, and hooked a 16-inch, out-of-season fluke on one. That was a crabbing trip that trapped a half-bushel of keepers on the river.

Anglers reported hit or miss fishing, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. But a handful of catches were reported. One angler and two grandchildren whaled 21 chain pickerel and five largemouth bass to 4 pounds at Malaga Lake on minnows. Another angler honked six largemouths to 4 pounds at Franklinville Lake on Senko rubber worms. At Parvin Lake, a customer eased in two largemouths on a Booyah jig. At Rainbow Lake, another kayaked a 20-inch pickerel on a minnow. A customer who fished the DOD Ponds took three largemouths to 5 pounds on minnows. From saltwater, a few reports began to trickle in about small striped bass beached from South Jersey’s surf. Schoolie stripers could be angled along sod banks, bridges and docks on clams or soft-plastic or top-water lures. A kayaker trolled six stripers to 22 inches behind Stone Harbor on Storm Swim Shads. Plenty of snapper blues schooled back bays and the surf. 

Fishing seemed slow, at least for largemouth bass, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Something made them sluggish. Maybe the cool weather in late August followed by the recent heat spell was the cause. That said, good catches of largemouths were occasionally reported. They seemed to bite slowly-fished tackle, like Senko rubber worms that were drop-shotted. Crappies were occasionally reported tugged from Union and Parvin lakes on minnows. The fishing was alright. Good white perch fishing was talked about from Maurice River. Not so much success on schoolie striped bass was reported from rivers like that and creeks that are also brackish. Perch anglers seemed to catch more of the schoolies than anglers did who targeted the stripers. In saltwater, not much was doing, because of regulations. Summer flounder and sea bass seasons closed. Blackfish definitely held in numbers at places like bridges and jetties. But not a lot of anglers will make the trip for blackfish in the one-fish bag limit for the tautog. Small bluefish tumbled around waters including back bays.   

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