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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 1-17-18

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

A good amount of ice, roughly 8 inches, covered Lake George’s bays, said Anthony from <b>FISH307.com</b> in the village of Lake George. The last he heard, some of the middle was open water. Cold nights in past days might’ve locked that up. Fishing was great from the ice on some bays, like off Hulett’s Landing. Lots of limits of yellow perch were axed. He nailed a 6-pound landlocked salmon from the lake on a rosy red fished 3 feet down in 40 feet of water. He creamed a lake trout on the trip in 57 feet of water on a jigged bucktail spoon. On the trip, the place where he usually catches yellow perch was slow to give up the fish. That seemed because weeds were matted down. He drilled a bunch of holes elsewhere until finding tall weeds. Then he reeled in a few perch, bass and bluegills. Ice-fishing was heard about from the bays from Million Dollar Beach to Long Island on the lake. George is a big, deep lake that’s always the final to freeze in the Adirondacks. All other lakes were also frozen in the mountains. Anthony planned to fish Loon Lake soon. Ice-fishing was pretty good on Schroon Lake, he noted. Anglers there targeted catches including northern pike and a few landlocked salmon and lakers. Weather warmed for a moment last week, melting snow on top of ice on lakes, “which was nice,” he said. The warmth probably made ice a half-inch to an inch thinner. But colder weather returned, and snow fell again sometimes. A post from the store on the shop’s Facebook page yesterday listed current ice thicknesses including 11 inches on Loon Lake, 8 on southern Schroon, 10 on northern Schroon, 11 on Lake Champlain’s South Bay, 12 on Brant, Eaton, Durant and Paradise lakes, 8 on Saratoga, and more. There is no such thing as safe ice, the post said. Use caution, it warned. Check back Friday for an updated report on the page about the thickness, the post said. Ice-fishing baits stocked include three sizes of shiners, two sizes of hunts, two sizes of suckers and more.  <a href="http://www.fish307.com" target="_blank">FISH307.com</a> is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop, carrying a large selection of ice-fishing supplies.

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

Salmon River and other streams thawed a bit late last week, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Air temperature reached as high as 60 degrees, and the melt raised rivers and streams. The Salmon rose to 2,000 cubic feet per second, from 335 previously. Two-thousand is tough to fish, and Jay will wait until the river drops to 750 to resume angling. He fished the upper Salmon for steelheads before the thaw, and the fishing was actually pretty good.  Nymphs caught well in sizes 6 to 12, mostly 8. Those were variations of stoneflies from Zug Bugs to Prince nymphs and actual stonefly patterns. Nymphs will be the choice to fish more and more as winter goes on. A few egg flies will catch currently, but soon, nymphs will be the only flies to fish. The high water has an advantage, though: It triggers more steelheads to migrate into the river from Lake Ontario. The river already held the fish, and will be “re-charged” when Jay resumes fishing. During a storm because of the warm front, fourteen inches of snow fell everywhere from the Salmon to rivers and streams two hours west, around Rochester, that Jay fishes. Jay suspects that Oak Orchard River, in that western area, will lower enough to fish by the end of the week. Mostly steelheads swim there, but a few brown trout swim the Oak until spring. Those are huge, because they summer in Lake Ontario. Ice was frozen along edges of rivers, and anglers needed to be careful. The warm spell broke up ice that choked the lower Salmon. Weather was sometimes quite cold early this week. Daytime air temperatures now were supposed to reach the mid to upper 20 degrees, a good temperature for the steelheading. Because of the thaw, ice-anglers said people needed to be cautious when ice-fishing. Cold weather refroze some ice that thawed on lakes, but ice anglers still warned people to be careful. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides. Stop by and say hey to Jay when he’ll exhibit at The Fly Fishing Show on Jan. 26 through 28 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Ice was still fished in New Jersey, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. This has become a long ice season compared with recent years. Not much open water was available to fish. But some customers seemed to live for ice-fishing. Weather warmed toward the end of last week but became cold again. All usual places were ice-fished, including Lake Hopatcong, Lake Musconetcong, Budd Lake and Mt. Hope Pond. Mostly yellow perch and chain pickerel were reported pasted. A few walleyes were tackled at Swartswood Lake. For open-water anglers, Pequest River could be worked for trout near the hatchery. Brian assumed flies like midges, small wooly buggers and small blue-winged olives could catch. Ice made fishing difficult on most trout streams.

Ice-fishing was awesome at Lake Hopatcong for yellow perch, like at Henderson Cove, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. A few fished Spruce Run Reservoir on the ice, nabbing a few yellow perch and crappies. A few northern pike were bombed from Budd Lake’s ice. A couple of big muskies were smashed at Oxford Lake on tip-ups. Ice-anglers fished tip-ups with medium or large shiners and ice-fishing rods with wax worms or mousies on jigs. Edges of lakes became a little sloppy during the warm spell but froze again by Saturday. But be cautious. Keith fished a pond the other day on 10 inches of ice, landing about 50 fish: bluegills, perch, crappies and lots of largemouth bass. He jigged Swedish Pimples with wax worms. A few trout were yanked from Pequest River and South Branch of the Raritan River in open water. But those waters were iced over like every other day.

Several muskies 43 to 47 inches were hammered and released through the lake’s ice on tip-ups, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Lots of yellow perch and chain pickerel and several walleyes were cleaned up. Even some smallmouth bass, she said, were reported toggled through the lake’s ice. The ice averaged 8 to 10 inches thick, and shorelines somewhat opened during the rain late last week. But colder weather froze them again. The Knee Deep Club will hold an ice-fishing tournament on the lake 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The store will be open at 5:30 a.m. that day for the contest.

Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook said 4 inches of snow fell where she lives near Lake Hopatcong this morning. But the ground was free of snow at the store. She exhibited at last weekend’s Garden State Outdoor Show, so heard only a little about local fishing. Anglers ice-fished at Budd Lake. Some said Hopatcong was fished on the ice, but she heard little first-hand about that. At Lake Musconetcong near where she lives, she saw open water at the thruway.

Lakes were frozen over, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Ice-fishing is unpopular this far south in New Jersey, because the ice usually never freezes long enough to create interest. Maybe a line could be cast to open water at spillways. Otherwise, fishing was at a standstill in this part of the state until a thaw. Anglers might’ve hoped the water would open because of last week’s warm spell. But the ice was uncommonly thick, never completely thawed, and began to build again in cold weather that returned.

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