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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 1-24-18

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

Ice-fishing was great, said Renee from <b>FISH307.com</b> in the village of Lake George. Weather warmed, but the fishing got off to a terrific start this winter because of the cold snap at the beginning of the year, and the angling was still good. Most customers fished Lake George itself, located near the store, including because the lake had fishable ice since December. In recent years, fishable ice failed to form until January’s third week on George, a big, deep lake that’s always the final to freeze in the Adirondacks. The middle of the lake was open water currently, but ice was fished on all sides of the lake. Mostly yellow perch and sometimes lake trout and landlocked salmon were reeled in. If George was fished from the ice, so were all other usual lakes in the mountains. Ten to 12 inches covered some of George last weekend, a post said that reported thicknesses on the shop’s Facebook page. Thickness then, according to the post, also included 10 inches on southern Lake Champlain, 12 on northern Champlain, 13 on Brant Lake, 12 on Loon, Eaton and Durant lakes and 11 on Saratoga Lake. The post also listed thicknesses for other lakes, and reminded anglers that no ice is safe, and be cautious. Pretty much all ice-fishing baits are stocked, including icicles, hunts, medium, heavy and pike shiners, medium and large suckers, rosy reds, fathead minnows 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>

A thaw was underway, and some of the small creeks began to fish last weekend, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. They were frozen previously, preventing fishing. Located around Rochester in western, upstate New York, the creeks are fished for huge trout, mostly browns, that spend winter there, after migrating from Lake Ontario, where they spend summer. The creeks hold more forage during the cold, attracting the trout. Two hours to the east, Salmon River was “raging,” flowing high at 2,000 cubic feet per second at the reservoir dam, probably 3,000 farther downstream, because of runoff from melting snow. The Salmon could be fished for steelheads with conventional tackle, and a bunch of the fish swam the river. But the strong flow was impractical to fly-fish. The river will probably be high until early next week, Jay thought. The creeks also ran high from snow melt, and so did Oak Orchard River, also located near Rochester, that Jay also fishes for steelheads. But the Oak didn’t run so high that it prevented fly-fishing, and a trip with Jay on Monday hooked four of the fish in four hours on flies. He thought that was pretty good, he said.  Two grabbed white Zonkers, and two pounced on Squirmy Wormys, like a fly version of a PowerBait artificial worm. Runoff from snow is cold, so the fish bit softly. They were sluggish. The takes were like, I think that’s a fish, he said. In other news, for ice anglers on lakes and ponds, some of the ice became “rotten” in the warmer weather, and anglers needed to evaluate the ice daily, as always. But ice-fishing’s actually been pretty decent, including for yellow perch on bays and ponds. Jay would think the ice will improve again in colder weather that’s bound to return. Colder weather will also stop snow from melting and end the high water on rivers and streams. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides. Watch a video of winter steelheading with Jay. Stop and say hello to Jay at his booth at the Fly Fishing Show at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison from Friday through Sunday.


Last weekend might’ve been the final for ice-fishing locally for the moment, a report said on <b>Brinkman Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia’s website. The angling smoked perch, crappies, pickerel and pike at the lakes at the private Penn Warner Club. Levittown Lake and Lake Nockamixon were a couple of other lakes fished from the ice. Farther north, lakes in the Pocono Mountains also produced the angling, including White Deer Lake, where one angler creamed bluegills and perch, a good catch. Shohola Lake was a great spot for panfish and pickerel from the ice. In South Jersey, chain pickerel tore up minnows and spinners below the mill at Batsto in fast water, and plenty of pickerel and white perch hit below Lake Lenape’s dam on minnows, spinners and twister tails. That was in open water at those two spots. More locations and details were also included in the report.


Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> scored a double-header of lake trout, landing one, losing the other, on Round Valley Reservoir, he wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. That was apparently during trolling. The water was 34 degrees during the angling, and when he arrived, the cove at the boat launch was frozen over. He almost left, but he “went in from the park entrance by Ranger Cove and it was open so I launched (the boat) there,” he wrote. Wind blew strongly.

Ice-fishing had been really good, but how the ice was going to fare after warmth and rain yesterday was unknown, Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna said. Previously, all usual lakes were fished from the ice. The angling was dynamite a while. Lots of yellow perch were pulled in. A few hybrid striped bass were reported from Lake Hopatcong from the ice. Small landlocked salmon were clocked from the ice at Lake Aeroflex and Tilcon Lake. Few talked about trout fishing on streams in open water, and much ice formed along the streams last week. Some mentioned fishing Musconetcong River for trout. Catch the Ramsey Outdoor booths at The Fly Fishing Show at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison from Friday through Sunday. Check out fishing kayaks and some sales on rods and reels. See lots of new products. 

Some customers nailed good trout fishing on streams during the weekend, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. They fished Pequest and Musconetcong rivers and the South Branch of the Raritan. Keith would mostly fish Mike’s pink salmon eggs. PowerBait can catch, but the eggs seem best. Weather had warmed enough for the fishing, after ice made fishing rivers difficult previously. But ice-fishing was still terrific during the weekend. All usual lakes and ponds were fished from the ice, including Lake Hopatcong. Hopatcong was hot and probably the best. Hopatcong can give up a mixed bag of fish, but big yellow perch, lots, were jigged there. A bunch of fish were eased from the ice on Round Valley Reservoir. Keith wasn’t asked what species, but maybe meant trout. Cranberry Lake fished well for perch and pike from the ice.  Plenty of pickerel and occasionally landlocked salmon were pasted at Tilcon Lake through the ice. The landlockeds were mostly jigged, like on Swedish Pimples. Weather was sometimes warm since, and rain fell yesterday. Anglers will see how much of the ice remains fishable. But if cold weather returns, prospects should be good again.

Was a beautiful day for the Knee Deep Club’s ice-fishing tournament Sunday on the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. That was the year’s first tournament for the club, and 120 anglers and five junior members of the club competed. In the chain pickerel category, first through third places were Yang Davie’s 4-pound 9-ouncer, Vincent Canfield’s 4-pound 5-ouncer and Dylan Cole’s 4-pound 5-ouncer. In the largemouth bass category, first through third were Janine Depula’s 3-pound 7-ouncer, Gary Bruzaud’s 3-pound 3-ouncer and Gary Sherman’s 3-pound 1-ouncer. In the perch and crappie division, first through third were Mike Kolodziej’s 1-pound 15-ounce crappie, Tom Nelson’s 1-pound 9-ounce crappie and Pablo Nieves’s 1-pound 2-ounce yellow perch. The first-place anglers won $320 apiece. The second-place won $192 apiece, and the third-place scored $128 apiece. Junior members who won were Gerard DelVescovo for a 4-pound 12-ounce pickerel and Carly Poggio for a 3-pound 12-ounce largemouth. They won a jigging rod-and-reel apiece. Notable pickerel in the contest also included John Fernandez’s 4-pound 4-ouncer, Will Rowe’s 4-pound 3-ouncer and 3-pound 8-ouncer, Rocco Farina’s 4-pound 1-ouncer, Lou Marcucci’s 3-pound 10-ouncer, William Smith’s 3-ound 9-ouncer and Mike Novak’s 3-pound 5-ouncer. Lots and lots of 1-pound yellow perch were also tugged in during the event. Muskies in the 43- or 44-inch range were sometimes reported clobbered from the ice on the lake this past week. The club is slated to hold an ice tournament Sunday, Feb. 11, on the lake. “Hopefully the ice will hang on!!!” Laurie wrote. Telephone the shop for up-to-date ice conditions:  973-663-3826.

Rain poured sideways yesterday, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Anglers will see how that affected ice-fishing. But previously, ice was fished including on Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake, Budd Lake and Lake Aeroflex. A couple of customers fished Rockaway River in open water, and one banked a trout. This was no longer the deep freeze, at least, and open-water anglers began to try fishing. From saltwater, not much was reported, except some anglers planned to fish for cod off Connecticut this weekend.

At <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River, Dennis knew about six anglers who fished from ice at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area last week, he said. But they hooked nothing. An outdoor writer told him the writer fished ice at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area last week, saying the fishing was slow. He nabbed mostly sunnies and occasionally largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Ice melted last week that previously covered the Toms River at Island Heights. Ice still covered the river upstream during the weekend. The store is open for no set hours but is open when Dennis is there. He’s been popping in almost every day, checking messages, helping anglers who want something. The store is doing rod and reel repairs. Take advantage of deals at the shop’s booth at the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association’s fishing flea market Saturday at Toms River South High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Lakes were “trying” to thaw, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. He hopes they’ll be thawed this weekend, and anglers will resume fishing them. Ice-fishing’s uncommon this far south in New Jersey, where fishable ice usually fails to form long enough to draw interest. If anglers get open water to cast a line, some will fish for largemouth bass at lakes, no doubt. Will largemouths bite in the cold water? Yes, Steve said, and he’d think that Rat-L-Traps, suspending jerk baits or drop-shots, all fished slowly, would work. Chain pickerel and yellow perch should be able to be socked from open water. Live bait, namely minnows or nightcrawlers, will be the best bet for them in the cool water, if anglers can find the bait at stores. Nightcrawlers were ordered and expected to arrive soon at Blackwater, and the shop is trying to obtain minnows that are scarce in winter from suppliers. 

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