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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 4-8-09

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

The river ran extremely high, making fishing impossible, said Simon at <b>All Seasons Sports</b> in Pulaski. The dam was scheduled to maintain a flow of 2,800 CFS through Friday, but if the level is lowered afterward, steelheads will be willing to strike, chasing down offerings such as egg sacks and stoneflies.

High waters and poor weather forced trips on the river to be cancelled, said Paul Auguscinski from <b>SAS Guide Service</b> from Pulaski. The river’s controlled flow ripped at 3,800 CFS, and runoff from rains and melting snow made fishing tough. In some areas to the east of Pulaski, 5 to 6 inches of snow fell, and winds blew 20 to 30 m.p.h. But the river’s flow was expected to decrease through the week, and as soon as things improve and water temps rise, steelhead fishing will be outstanding again, the best time of the year. SAS Guide Service spin fishes for salmon, steelheads and trophy trout on wade and drift-boat trips, and enjoys teaching anglers the techniques that will help them learn how to hook up themselves, so they can even return to catch on their own. 

The river was a blowout with the 3,800 CFS flow, and anglers were warned to keep away because of the danger, and the larger tributaries were also impossible to fish in high waters, said Bill Ferman from <b>High Hook Guide Service</b> from Pulaski. But a few steelheads were landed in smaller creeks during the weekend with him. Egg sacks, nightcrawlers and flies like estaz patterns and stoneflies are producers in spring, and that doesn’t really change. High waters aren’t uncommon in spring if lots of rains fall and plenty of snow melts, and that’s what happened. But plenty of steelheads swam the waters, and catches should certainly rebound when the flows drop. Sometimes flows can get back to normal quickly. Once all the snow melts, the river can recover soon after rainfalls.  High Hook both wades and drift-boats for salmon, steelheads and trophy brown and rainbow trout with both spinning gear and fly rods.


Striped bass made a spirited push up the Delaware River, said Bill from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia. Off Station Avenue anglers hooked keepers to 33 inches, averaging two to three apiece. One customer fished the National Park area, fighting a 38-inch 23-pound linesider and several others from 20 to 25 inches. Be sure to follow the striper regulations for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, different for each state. Near the Arsenal lots of catfish sucked up stink baits, and near the New Hope wing dam anglers tangled with a mix of shad and walleyes in the fast waters, and smaller smallmouth bass were grabbed in the back waters. The shad hit chartreuse, pink or orange spoons, and most anglers fished the spoons behind a ¼-ounce weight. Better shad fishing was scored from boats at the Washington's Crossing Bridge, the Yardley wing dam and the bridges at Trenton. Walleyes smacked minnows, jigs, bucktails, twister tails and Rapalas at Byram at the wall and bridge abutments. Smallmouths also inhaled minnows or grubs in the same area.


</b>North Jersey</b>

Smallmouth bass began to get very active in the Delaware River in the local area, said Bill from <b>Bill’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Phillipsburg.  Quite a few big channel catfish and carp were also pulled from the river. Paul McClure hung a 5-pound 10-ounce channel, and Chris Bogoly nearly matched it with a 5.9-pounder. At Merrill Creek Reservoir pickerel and brown trout were on a tear. Angee Ramos landed a 4-pound pickerel, and Mike Troxell drilled two picks 4.9 and 5.5 pounds. Look to Spruce Run Reservoir for hybrid striped bass that started to get aggressive.

Split Rock Reservoir dished out crappies, largemouth bass and bluegills, and rainbow-colored Husky Jerks claimed them all, said Dom from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Paramus. Lake Hopatcong was getting filled back up. Trout anglers on opening day of the season Saturday will head to the Rockaway River and the Musconetcong River to find their first fish of the season.

The dam was closed on the lake, so the water level was rising, slowly but surely, said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Meantime, crappies and yellow perch were fooled with minnows at Brady Bridge. First-day trouters will troll the shoreline shallows with small Rapalas and Phoebes to catch some of the 2,200 trout the Knee Deep Club stocked this past week.

A few respectable largemouth bass were taken from Pompton Lakes, said Al from <b>Meltzer’s Sporting Goods</b> in Garfield. During a tournament there a 5-1/2-pound bucketmouth was the largest entered, and a five-fish total of 15 pounds was a winner for one angler. If  streams are muddy from predicted rains this weekend, head on over to Verona Park or Barber’s Pond, where waters will be cleaner. Fifty big, breeder trout were stocked in each.

Top-notch trout catches were made on Round Valley Reservoir, said Steve from <b>Lebanon Bait & Sport Shop</b>. Shoreline anglers pummeled 17- to 19-inch rainbows, and boat anglers banged up lake trout on shiners dropped to the bottom. Spruce Run Reservoir shoveled up a healthy show of crappies, mostly on small shiners. Northern pike fishing was slow but should pick up any day. Trout anglers will focus on the South Branch of the Raritan River and the Musconetcong River on the opener.

Northern pike were rounded up on flies on a reservoir with <b>Skylands Angler</b> from Clinton during the weekend, Bill Hoffman said. He kept the name of the waters to himself, because the area could easily be overfished. But the water wolves cooperated, and a larger number of big ones seemed to start cruising, coming off the spawn.  Black <a href="
" target="_blank">toad flies</a>, a tarpon pattern, got strikes, and so did Dahlberg Divers. Bill during the previous week fished chartreuse toads. He ties on a short shot of wire leader to prevent bite-offs from the toothy critters, but if the pike are spooky, he’ll use a piece of 20-pound fluorocarbon instead. Not only pike but also different fish including carp and largemouth bass seemed to get more active as springtime continued. Skylands will keep chasing the northerns but will also fly rod for carp and hybrid striped bass. To get on the fish with the long rod, or to learn how, give a call. But Bill was also eager to return to guiding trips for trout fly fishing with the start of the season. On opening weekend he avoids fly rodding, because crowds make casting impossible. He’ll spin fish for trout instead. But afterward he’ll resume fly fishing, probably working nymphs at first. But streamers should begin to be effective, as the metabolism of the fish quickens in warming waters. Dry-fly fishing for trout will probably launch in three to four weeks, when enormous caddis hatches will take place. He’ll match different types of caddis, like crippled ones to fully-formed dries, because the trout can get picky. Later in the season lots of different types of dry flies will hatch and get matched.  Skylands Angler guides fly-fishing trips for trout on the Musconetcong and Pequest rivers and Ken Lockwood Gorge. Bill aims to teach anglers, whether beginners or advanced, how to fish the rivers, even so they can come back and catch on their own. That includes fly selection, how to fish the flies, casting lessons and all aspects. But he also offers trips for other fish, like pike, hybrids, carp and largemouth bass, if anglers want to fly rod for them.
<b>Central Jersey</b>

If rains pour this weekend, trout fishers should target the rocky-bottomed streams, where waters should be cleaner, such as the upper South Branch and the Flatbrook, said Mark from <b>Efinger Sporting Goods</b> in Bound Brook. The Pequest River and the Musconetcong will hold plenty of trout as well. The shop is well-stocked with loads of meal worms, nightcrawlers, fathead minnows and garden worms for opening weekend.

White and yellow perch at Forge Pond were claimed with consistency on frozen grass shrimp and bloodworms, said Dennis at <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. Pine Lake Park was a hotbed for chain pickerel and catfish near the dam area. Fishing from the dirt road at Lake Riviera provided crappies, pickerel and occasional largemouth bass that attacked shiners. Opening-day trout fishers on Saturday will angle on the Toms River, Metedeconk River, Spring Lake and Lake Shenandoah to load the stringers.

The Delaware River was starting to flourish, said Frank from <b>Harry’s Army and Navy</b> in Robbinsville. Muskies were hammered on large swimming plugs at the Scudder’s Falls Bridge. Shad were moving into the Lambertville and New Hope section, where Mickey and Mikey Melchiondo and outdoor writer Nick Honachefsky fished with Capt. Deiter Scheel, going 14 for 23 on buck shad to 4 pounds while back-trolling dipsy divers with orange and pink flutter spoons. Lake Assunpink was home to plenty of crappies, and its largemouth bass were also on take. But the bass were sluggish, so fish very slowly with small crank baits or Senko worms.

Striped bass were on the move up the Delaware River, said Carl from the <b>Sportsmen’s Center</b> in Bordentown. The Burlington area produced the linesiders to 15 pounds on chunked herring. Shad were sometimes caught in the river at Lambertville, and flutter spoons got most attention. The Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Lakes all put out crappies and sometimes largemouth bass that both chased down 4-inch Power Worms and shiners. Trout anglers this weekend will hit the D&R Canal and Spring Lake for a strike.

<b>South Jersey</b>

The Delaware River’s striped bass run was under way, said Rick from <b>Big Timber Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn. The Salem, DOD and National Park areas all held bass willing to chew bloodworms. White and yellow perch could be creeled on the Maurice River near Union Lake and on the Great Egg Harbor River at Mays Landing. Crappie anglers tossed small, curly-tailed grubs at Wilson Lake and Malaga Lake to connect.

Rains took a bite out of most participation, said Ed from <b>Creek Keepers</b> in Blackwood. But the opening of trout season will get anglers on Hammonton Lake, Grenloch Lake and Oak Pond.

Herring migrated up to the Mays Landing section of the Great Egg Harbor River and also reached the Route 49 Bridge on the Maurice River, said Lou from the <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. Short stripers were found in the baitfish schools. Trout-stocked lakes in the area include Oak Pond, Iona Lake and Grenloch Lake: options for the season’s opening.

Smaller striped bass had already gotten tackled on the Delaware River at Elsinboro Point by last week’s report from <b>Shag’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Pennsville. But now larger stripers were showing up, Matt said. A 42-inch 34-pounder and a 37-inch 24-pounder were lambasted on bloodworms at the point. Another 15 keepers were reported taken there in the past days. Remember that Jersey anglers can keep bass from Elsinboro, because it’s below the cutoff line at Salem. Check the striper regs for the river.

Smallmouth bass fishing was exceptional, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Union Lake’s  bronzebacks to 4 ½ pounds bit steadily on crank baits, Senkos and plastic lizards. Crappies were active in Union Lake and the Salem Canal, and fathead minnows worked well to trick them up. A pretty decent shot of striped bass moved up the Maurice River, and bloodworms and small, yellow Bomber plugs hooked a few. Mary Elmer Lake and Iona Lake will be excellent spots to try for the first days of trout season.

More herring showed up daily in the Maurice River, said Ki from <b>Huck’s Place</b> in Millville. Short striped bass began to be caught in the river on herring chunks, and more stripers should show up by the day.

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