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It's Cold:
Upstate N.Y.
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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 12-12-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Weather might’ve been cold in Jersey. But in upstate New York, weather was seasonable, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. That affects his angling and was not bad news. On the rivers and streams or creeks where he’s fishing for big, trophy brown trout and a few steelheads, these were some of the conditions: Oak Orchard River flowed at a decent water level, and the creeks were relatively free of ice, slushy on some days. The browns grabbed egg flies but often streamers. Browns are predators, and chase minnows and streamers that imitate them. And that’s fun fishing. Any steelheads in the mix favored egg flies. Jay will fish for the browns until the creeks freeze over, then will concentrate on steelheads 2 hours to the east on Salmon River through winter. That’s a larger river that never completely freezes. The browns are huge because they summer in Lake Ontario, moving to rivers and streams for more abundant forage in winter. The rivers and streams are located near Rochester that Jay fishes for the trout. Jay’s guides are currently fishing the Salmon for steelheads. The angling was fairly decent for the time of year, and the river flowed at 750 cubic feet per second, a good flow for fishing. Egg flies socked the steelheads, and stoneflies tied into them pretty well. Stones will be the go-to pattern in winter, when not much other forage is around. All of these waters were 34 to 36 degrees. All of this fishing was a normal pace for December. Daytime highs reached the mid-30 degrees, and nighttime lows were in the mid-20s. No real ice-fishing developed on ponds and lakes yet. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale trolled two lake trout and a rainbow trout Sunday at Round Valley Reservoir, he said. He usually lands three to five trout on these cold-season trips to the impoundment. Ten of the fish was his best catch on a trip. He had to bundle up on Sunday’s outing, and had bought a new ice-fishing suit from Striker that kept him toasty. Though weather was cold, probably only reaching 30 degrees, fishing for the trout, cold-water fish, usually only improves as weather becomes even colder. He’s willing to guide anglers at the fishing. Two of the trout, a laker and the rainbow, were hooked on a Rapala Husky Jerk. The other laker was taken on a Berkley Flicker Minnow. He trolled the lures on leadcore line, down 20 feet in pretty shallow water. The trout are moving to the shallows for warmer water, and shore anglers even paste some. The water was 41 degrees on the trip, and many other lakes were beginning to have skim ice. But Round Valley only freezes in serious cold. Maybe that’s because it’s deep, or because it’s wide and wind chops up the water, Dave guessed. Sometimes parts of the reservoir do freeze and are ice-fished. Most boaters jigged for the trout, Dave saw. He wants to try jigging for them sometime. But the trolling works, and is interesting to him. He’s actually supposed to have an article in the April issue of On the Water magazine that argues that anglers should include trolling in the fishing they do, for certain reasons. Some anglers prefer not to troll. Boaters who jig for Round Valley’s trout will look for the fish on the fish-finder and then stop and jig for them. Every time Dave fishes Round Valley, he marks really big trout along bottom, 120 feet to 130 down. They must be large lakers, and he’s always trolling, and trolling won’t reach that far down, of course. He’d like to try jigging for them. Dave hasn’t caught many rainbow trout from the reservoir this time of year, and wondered if they were spawning. Milt leaked out of the rainbow on Sunday’s trip. Plenty of rainbows swim the water. Dave will keep fishing as long as ice or crazy weather fails to prevent that.

Anglers waited for ice to fish, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Skim ice formed, and previously, boaters jigged walleyes at some lakes. Walleyes were also reeled from Delaware River on jigs like Binsky Blade Baits and Rapala ice-fishing jigs. Trout streams were in good shape for fishing, the best in many autumns. The water was often high from abundant rain, and is usually low in fall. When the water-level was fishable lately, that was good for the angling, and this should be a good winter of the levels for fishing. Trout were picked on Squirmy Wormies and, in afternoons on relatively warm days, midges.  

Passaic River near the store remained flooded over the banks like recently, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. It couldn’t be fished, really, and when the level is better, customers pluck catches from the river including northern pike and smallmouth bass. Skim ice formed on some of the lakes or ponds on a couple of mornings. No ice was “holding” yet. But this all made fishing impractical at these locations. In saltwater, throwback striped bass were angled here and there, and the bulk of the migration seemed to be farther south than before. Blackfishing was picking up on the ocean. Sea bass catches offshore went well.

Ponds began to skim over with ice, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Even the saltwater lagoon behind his house had skim ice in past mornings. The ice rather prevented fishing on lakes or ponds. Spring Lake was probably open, and trout could be fished for there that were stocked in the winter stocking in November. Rivers including the Toms and Metedeconk were all open, of course, and held trout from the fall stocking in October. Killies, nightcrawlers and garden worms are stocked. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Trout were still pulled in from the winter stocking in November, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. Customers mostly hit them at Shaw’s Mill Pond and South Vineland Park Pond. Some sizable breeders were tapped into. Roostertails, PowerBait and, believe it or not, he said, nightcrawlers caught trout. Chain pickerel were clocked at lakes. New Brooklyn Lake was fished for them, often with large, ¼-ounce Roostertails. Crappies and yellow perch were nabbed at Greenwich Lake on Berkley grubs on small jigs.

The skim ice on some lakes prevented some fishing, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. A few customers bought minnows to fish for crappies and pickerel they angled here and there. In saltwater, decent fishing for striped bass was boated on the ocean off South Jersey. Most seemed to be trolled. Some customers blackfished on the ocean, catching alright.    

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