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Upstate N.Y.
Salmon, Steelhead &
Trout Fishing

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 3-28-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Weather water had been cold, and steelheads had been crabby in the consistently low temperatures, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. But this week, weather was supposed to become warmer, and rain was supposed to fall. That should pick up steelheading. It’ll raise rivers and streams. Salmon River dropped to 500 cubic feet per second this past week, and, Jay thought, was supposed to be raised to 750 last night. It could be raised to 1,200 or more when the rain falls this week. That’s high water, and will be cold, probably 33 or 36 degrees. But high, cold water is normal for spring. The Salmon’s steelheads will be crabby in the cold. But lots are holding in the upper river. Stoneflies will catch them there. Two hours to the west in New York, around Rochester, rivers like the Oak Orchard and streams or creeks had been low and clear. The rain will raise and dirty them. Jay this week will probably focus on steelheads in this western New York area, including because he’ll be helping a new fishing guide practice drift-boating, but also because those waters will be warmer, probably 40 or 42 degrees. Steelheads there will probably be spawning by the end of the week. Steelheads in Salmon River won’t spawn until the water hits 40 degrees. The fish will be glued to bottom in holes until the water warms and makes them move to shallow spawning habitat. Then the fishing will pick up on Salmon River. On the western waters, stoneflies will catch, but streamers like small Intruders – “the fun stuff,” Jay said – will probably be fished a lot. The color of the streamers will depend on how high and dirty the water becomes. In dirtier water, brighter colors will fish best. When spawning happens, it’ll probably take place quickly, Jay thinks. When steelheads finish spawning, they depart rivers and streams to spend summer in Lake Ontario. Get after them now. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

<b>PENNSYLVANIA</b>

The folks at <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia usually post a fishing report about every Thursday on the store’s website. But last Wednesday, the shop’s Facebook page said the store was going to be closed at 12 noon. That was because of the nor’easter that dumped snow. Wasn’t much to report in the weather, apparently, and no report was posted that week. A meet and greet was held Sunday for customers to meet the store’s new owner, the stores’ website and Facebook page said. Reports about Delaware River’s spawning migrations of striped bass and shad is some of the main news that anglers look forward to from the shop each spring. Small stripers, not the large, mature, breeding migrators, were reported from the river so far this season. Shad seemed to arrive throughout much of the river but seemed reluctant to bite because of cold water. Both fisheries are impending.

<b>NEW JERSEY</b>

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale trolled two rainbow trout at 37-degree Round Valley Reservoir on Sunday, he wrote on his Facebook page. The fishing was tough, and a friend hooked none from the impoundment that day. But Dave caught his 10 to 15 feet down on a tiny Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow and a hot-orange Rapala Jointed Minnow in size 11 that were fished on planer boards. He tried for lake trout with big spoons trolled deep but scored none on the trip. When trout season opens April 7, Dave usually guides trout fishing on streams. The trips wade and cast lures, usually Rapala Countdowns, a fun, effective way to catch. The lures sometimes attract larger trout.

Crappies and yellow perch were plucked from Lake Hopatcong near Landing and Jefferson, probably in the shallows, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. The cold-water fish are typical early-season catches at lakes. Most trout streams were closed to fish for stocking until opening day of trout season on April 7. But some trout waters were open to fishing, including Trout Conservation Areas that were open to catch-and-release. Midges, small early black or brown stoneflies and small blue-winged olives nabbed trout there. Customers headed to Delaware River to try for shad. But the water might’ve been too cold except farther downstream like at Lambertville. The migrating shad might’ve begun to bite there.

Fishing for walleyes was great on Delaware River on shiners on ¼- to ½-ounce jigheads bounced along bottom, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. The fish swam all over the local Delaware, and good catches of smallmouth bass were also made on the river. But the anglers were targeting walleyes. Most waters on trout streams were closed to fishing for stocking until opening day of trout season on April 7. Trout Conservation Areas were open to catch-and-release, like on Pequest River near the hatchery. Anglers mostly fished nymphs like bead-heads, pheasant-tails and Zug Bugs for the trout. The shop carries a limited supply of fly gear but does stock those flies and a few other supplies for the angling. Shore anglers and boaters grabbed trout at Round Valley Reservoir that the Round Valley Trout Anglers recently stocked. One customer’s been angling them from shore on nightcrawlers that he blew air into with a Lindy Worm Blower that the store stocks. That makes the worm float up off bottom a little from a weight like an egg sinker with a hole in the middle for the line to pass through. A couple of nearby, small ponds on state land gave up good fishing for crappies and a few chain pickerel. Keith in last week’s report mentioned hybrid striped bass that bit in shallows, like they do this time of year, at Spruce Run Reservoir. But nobody mentioned the hybrids recently. Whether that was because weather kept anglers from fishing for them or the fish failed to bite was unknown. Keith in last week’s report also mentioned muskies caught at places including Mountain Lake. He heard about none recently.

Customers fought a few shad from Delaware River around Lambertville, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Other customers plucked smallmouth bass and walleyes from the river farther upstream at Delaware Water Gap. Carp and catfish were angled from Passaic River near the store, and he heard about no northern pike from the river. But most customers who chase the pike fish from kayaks, and most were yet to kayak this season. Bass were hung from Lake Hopatcong, and some bass tournament will be held this weekend including one there. Saltwater anglers reported boating striped bass from Raritan Bay and Newark Bay. Joe heard no specific locations.

A few largemouth bass were eased from lakes on Senko rubber worms and on jerk shads or swim baits on jigheads, said Virginia from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. Those were fished slowly because the bass were sluggish in cold water. Crappie fishing was pretty good at Turn Mill Pond at Colliers Mill Wildlife Management Area. Crappies tugged from Ocean County College Pond in early evenings on small killies or bits of nightcrawlers. Yellow perch were grabbed from Lester’s Lake and Lake Shenandoah. Lots of chain pickerel, lots of small, hit at ponds and lakes including Ocean County College Pond and Lester’s. Sometimes bigger were tackled from the Toms River at Trilco. That’s a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building, but locals know the stretch by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Sunfish seemed yet to bite in cold water at lakes and ponds. Trout season will open beginning April 7, and Virginia, who fishes for trout, has high hopes for the fishing, because trouting was great at Spring Lake before most trout waters, including there, were closed to fishing for stocking. She often fishes for trout on the Toms River, too.  Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

A few shad, not many, began to be landed from Delaware River including at Yardley, according to online reports like from the <a href=" http://www.drsfa.org/fishing-log " target="_blank"> Delaware River Shad Fisherman’s Association</a>. The consensus was that shad migrated to the river as far upstream as Easton at least, but the water needed to warm to make more bite. Water temperatures were reported from the high 30 degrees to low 40s. Some reports were hopeful that warmer weather this week would help. See other sources for shad reports on the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife’s Delaware River shad reports webpage.

A customer reported seeing two sizable striped bass banked on Monday from Delaware River from shore at Salem, said Jason from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. The customer told no further details, like exactly where, and the catches were unconfirmed. But if the stripers were caught, those seemed to be the first migrating stripers reported from the river this year at the store. The spawning migration of big, mature stripers up the river is overdue, and usually begins about March 15. “But the weather hasn’t backed off,” Jason said. Bloodworms are a bait for the bass, and he was stocking the worms in machines outside the store Tuesday. Two outside machines vend bait and tackle like hooks and swivels 24/7. That was about the only news about fishing when Jason gave this report Tuesday, because the shop is closed Mondays, and weather was cold during the weekend. 

Anything to report? “I wish,” said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Chain pickerel hooked from lakes on minnows were about the only catches talked about. Was a slow past week for news because of cold and wind. Thursday and Friday are supposed to reach the 60 degrees in Vineland, though. Afterward, weather’s supposed to be somewhat warmer than before, in the 50s, during most of the next week. Bloodworms were re-stocked, and the hope was that anglers would get back to fishing for white perch on brackish rivers with the worms, and for striped bass on Delaware River with them. No big stripers were reported caught yet from the river that will arrive for spawning. This is time for them to show up.

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