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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 3-14-18

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

If fishable ice remained in the Adirondack Mountains, that was probably to the north, like maybe at Saranac Lake or Lake Colby, said Logan from <b>FISH307.com</b> in Lake George. Maybe anglers ventured onto ice closer to the store in the southern Adirondacks, but he wouldn’t recommend that. A few ice-fishing baits are still stocked at the shop, including three sizes of shiners, icicles and cup baits. Tackle for spring fishing is pretty much replacing tackle for ice fishing at the store. As soon as ice clears enough for anglers to boat waters like Lake George for landlocked salmon, that fishing is usually great soon after ice-out. The fish become active and feed, and that will be one of the most popular fisheries first this spring. New York’s trout season will open beginning April 1, and that will be popular fishing in early spring, too. Some waters are closed to fishing because of stocking in the weeks before opening day. But plenty of waters are open during those weeks, and anglers will also hunt trout there. Look for close-out sales on ice-fishing tackle at the store. <a href="http://www.fish307.com" target="_blank">FISH307.com</a> is both an online shop and a brick-and-mortar one, carrying a large selection of ice-fishing supplies and supplies for whatever angling is in season.

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

It’s cold, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. After a moment of warm weather, cold returned lately. Days ranged from the low to mid 20 degrees to the low to mid 30s. But Salmon River’s steelhead fishing was good. Stoneflies were abundant on the upper river, and a good number of steelheads swam there. The stones hooked the fish. But streamer flies caught steelheads okay on the lower river. The fish held in pools and soft seams, a winter pattern. The river ran at 500 cubic feet per second, excellent for Jay’s fishing. Fourteen inches of snow probably fell along the river last week, and more snow was supposed to smack the area this week. Two hours to the west in upstate New York, around Rochester, a little snow fell last week. Near Lake Ontario, most was gone by early this week. Farther inland in that area, up to 6 inches covered land. Water levels were dropping at rivers and streams or creeks in that area, and the water was becoming clear. Rain could be used to replenish them. Fish, mostly steelheads and occasional brown trout, were scattered about those places. They had to be hunted but were there, and Jay would call the fishing moderate. Some nice steelheads and sometimes a brown came from those waters, he said. Many were hooked on egg flies. Sometimes the fish became “stubborn,” and then streamers caught them, if anglers worked for the fish. So fishing settled into a late winter pattern in the past week. Steelheading in rivers and streams will only last into early April. The fish will migrate to Lake Ontario to spend summer afterward, after they spawn in early spring in the rivers and streams. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides. Jay was going to try to post an update about fishing on his <a href="http://blog.jaypeckguides.com/" target="_blank"><b>blog</b></a> soon. Keep an eye on that to check out the latest news.

<b>PENNSYLVANIA</b>

Snowstorms lately and 24 inches of snow upstate will keep Delaware River cold for now, Bill Brinkman wrote in a report last Wednesday on <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia’s website. Bill sold the store to a new owner recently but is still helping out at the shop. No matter the cold water, a few anglers are working the river for striped bass. They’re not setting the world on fire, but are catching from Salem to Marcus hook. Bloodworms are hooking all so far. The stripers Bill saw in photos were 18 to 24 inches. One angler fished farther upstream at the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge but only winged a catfish and a couple of white perch. Customers are waiting for the arrival of the spawning migration of large stripers in the river soon. Several anglers were known to fish for largemouth bass on the river, scoring fair for the time of year. They fished including at Tullytown Cove, Neshaminy Marina and Dredge Harbor with minnows, hair jigs, 3- and 4-inch Senko rubber worms, 4-inch rubber lizards and bucktails. Farther upstream at Falls Township, just south of Trenton, one angler kayaked 11 walleyes from the river so far this year on drifted worms. On Schuylkill River, several anglers were known to catch carp 10 to 20 pounds great. Catfish anglers managed a few smaller cats from the Schuylkill. One big flathead cat was heard about that was heaved from the river at Reading. The lakes at the private Penn Warner Club fished terrific for perch, and the deep water gave up a few smallmouth bass. More details and locations were featured in the report.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Voicemail answered a telephone call to <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston for a report yesterday, saying the store was closed for a while because of snow. The voicemail said the message would be changed as soon as the shop was back open. A number of tackle shops seemed closed because of snow in northwestern New Jersey when phone calls to them were unanswered in the past day.

Thin ice returned to many of the smaller lakes, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. That prevented some fishing, because the ice was too thin for ice fishing, but kept a line from being cast in the waters. Plus, weather was rough. Cold, windy. And three nor’easters within two weeks. Few anglers fished, and news was scarce. Three inches of snow fell in yesterday’s nor’easter at the store. Trout streams ran high because of rain and snow. The water levels will probably be good this spring, because of high water lately. Many trout waters will be closed for stocking from March 19 until April 7, opening day of trout season. When weather warmed previously, some big largemouth bass were eased from lakes. Water temperatures dropped 15 degrees since. When water warms a couple of degrees, landlocked salmon should be landed from Lake Aeroflex and Tilcon Lake from shore on spoons like Phoebes and Kastmasters, especially Phoebes, or live bait like herring. Lake trout should then also be caught from shore at Round Valley Reservoir.   

Things were dead, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Another snowstorm rolled in yesterday, but only a couple of inches fell at the store, and that melted. Passaic River ran very high near the shop, and nothing much was heard about fishing there. A couple of reports were heard about anglers reeling in walleyes and smallmouth bass from Delaware River. That might’ve been upstream from the Water Gap, but Joe didn’t know. Skim ice covered Lake Hopatcong’s coves. The main lake was open water, but nobody was known who fished there or at places like Greenwood Lake. Catch the shop’s exhibit of Do-It Molds, do-it-yourself molds including for jigs and soft baits, at the Saltwater Fishing Expo from Friday through Sunday at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison.

Fishing was pretty good the past couple of weeks, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. She and family smoked good crappie fishing at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area 1 ½ weeks ago. One weighed 1 ½ pounds. Lots of chain pickerel are attacking at cranberry bogs, Ocean County College Pond and Lake Riviera. Spring Lake is fishing phenomenally for trout. Those were holdovers that were stocked last year or something. White perch were angled at Forge Pond. If anglers fish lakes with worms or killies, they’ll catch something. Shallows are fishing best, because deep water is colder. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Some white perch and throwback striped bass were nabbed from Delaware River, said Jason from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. None of the big striped bass showed up in the river yet that will arrive for spawning. But March 15 is the traditional date when they can begin to arrive. Many customers will fish for them from shore. Bloodworms are popular bait for that and will be stocked this week. Lugworms are beginning to be stocked at the shop that are similar, last longer and catch well. Waters that will be stocked with trout will be closed to fishing for stocking from March 19 until April 7, opening day of trout season. Not much lake fishing happened because of the storms and chilly, windy weather. The weekend is supposed to be somewhat warmer. That and the impending striper migration could get more anglers on the water.

Basically chain pickerel were biting, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. They’re a fish that will hit well in cold water, and recently were taken mostly on Johnson silver spoons and Roostertails. Nothing was heard about striped bass yet, like from Delaware River. Anything else happening? Not yet. “(Anglers are) all getting ready, though,” he said.

A few diehards fished for white perch on Maurice River when they had the weather to go, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b>. But weather kept anglers indoors, hardly cut them a break. A dusting of snow, not much, and rain fell in the nor’easter from Monday night to Tuesday in this southern New Jersey area. A few anglers fished for largemouth bass, catching including at Union, Rainbow and Parvin lakes. A few smallmouth bass were also socked from Union. Suspending jerk baits were often bought for largemouths. Drop-shot baits sold pretty well for the fishing. A few customers picked up chatter baits to toss to the bass. The only striped bass heard about were smaller, resident stripers that white perch anglers ran into on brackish rivers like the Maurice. The migration of large stripers could arrive soon in Delaware River.

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