Trips aboard were now trolling Lake Ontario’s deep waters for king salmon with steelheads, brown trout and lake trout mixed in, said Capt. Shane Thomas from <b>Salmon River Guide</b> from Pulaski. Big kings were the target, and the fish ranged from 15 to 30 pounds, and a few in the mid 30s were boated aboard so far. The fishing was okay all summer, but began to pick up in the past week. That’s because salmon were migrating toward the rivers, including the Salmon River, to spawn. They were gathering on this side of the lake. By the end of the month, usually 90 percent of the fish will swim this area of the lake, before they shoot up the rivers for some weeks. Shane’s fishing for salmon on the rivers usually begins around September 20. The river’s fishing can become good before then, but the lake’s angling usually stays good until then, so Shane’s trips usually keep fishing the lake until that time. Trips currently fished for the kings and the other fish in 130- to 150-foot depths on the lake, about 10 miles from shore, and the fish hit 110 to 130 feet down, on flasher/fly combos. Trips on both the lake and river are pretty booked up, and anglers should call to ensure a spot.
King salmon started to show up better than before in Lake Ontario for local anglers, and boating for brown trout was already going well on the lake for them, said Eric from <b>All Seasons Sports</b> in Pulaski. The browns held in 60 to 100 feet, and the kings hovered in 150 feet or deeper. Flasher/fly combos or Stinger spoons trolled them up. Salmon fishing usually begins in the Salmon River by the first or second week of September, depending on weather, as the fish head up to spawn. In other waters, lots of walleyes swam Oneida Lake, and fishing for them slowed, but will pick up again, usually in September, when waters cool.
Fishing focused on muskies at the lakes with <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale, Capt. Dave Vollenweider said, and he was pleased, because he was starting to see success. That was in contrast to unusually slow fishing for them last summer. But Dave’s trips normally connect with muskies in August, and they did this past week, and recently. A 45-inch musky was clobbered and released on a trip aboard Saturday at Echo Lake. At first on the outing, two follows from great muskies were scored, on a Mag Dawg lure. In musky fishing, the angling of 10,000 casts, a follow is half the success. But the fish never committed, and the trip was almost finished, sailing toward the boat ramp, reaching shallow waters. Then the 45-incher shot up and clobbered a Custom Canadian bucktail, and was landed and released. Goes to show that musky fishing is about windows of opportunity. The fish had an unusual appearance, was missing splotches of color, and that almost looked like fungus, but wasn’t. The musky was totally healthy. On a charter with Roy Ostrum last Wednesday, a musky at least 50 inches, well over 30 pounds, bigger than Dave probably saw in a couple of years, followed a lure, gliding in, but didn’t hit. Musky anglers lots of times have to read the fish. When a musky charges in, the fish is usually willing to hit, and a technique like doing a figure-eight with a lure at the end of a cast, will usually draw a strike. If a musky glides in, the fish might not attack. Just seeing a musky glide in, looking like a 2 by 4, is awe inspiring. During the week before, Al Martinez, who authored musky articles featuring Dave in The Fisherman magazine this season, climbed aboard, and two follows swam in. Though a catch by far is never a guarantee in musky fishing, anglers target them, because a musky can be the biggest fish the angler ever landed. Dave’s trips in the past weeks landed muskies 49 inches, 45 inches, 40 inches and 34 inches. Two of the fish were hooked at Greenwood Lake, and two were picked up at Echo Lake. The angling seemed to be going well, and if anglers want a shot at muskies, this was a time to go. Waters were warm, 79 or 80 degrees, so deeper waters were fished, but muskies also remained in the shallows. When waters are warm like that, anglers should be exceptionally careful. A catch should be reeled in, and the hook removed, and the fish released, without delay. Or lactic acid could build up in the fish, killing the musky quickly. Dave focused on muskies lately, but soon will probably also resume walleye fishing that he previously did. Live to Fish Guide Service guides trips for trout, muskies, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleyes, crappies, chain pickerel, panfish, yellow perch, white perch, carp and more. Lakes fished include Greenwood Lake, Lake Hopatcong, Monksville Reservoir, Echo Lake, Mountain Lake and Furnace Lake. Rivers fished include the Flatbrook, Pequest, Paulinskill and Ramapo.
Little was doing the past several days because of flooding rains at the beginning of the week, said Burt from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Ledgewood. Prior to the rains, one customer was bailing smallmouth bass, lots, on the Delaware River at Lackawaxan, though that’s far north. Another customer before the rains talked about drilling chain pickerel at Budd Lake.
Hybrid striped bass, lots of them 4 to 9 pounds, were burned on the lake, mostly on livelined herring, said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Jim Welsh plopped some bigger hybrids on the scale, including a 9-pound 4-ouncer and an 8-pound 14-ouncer. He also walloped several walleyes, including a 7-pound 12-ouncer and some 3- and 4-pounders. Kevin Scanlon pulled from the lake smallmouth bass to a 3-pound 6-ouncer. The Knee Deep Club’s catfish tournament took place on the lake during the weekend, despite heavy downpours. Winners, with 56 entries, were: 1st place, Mike Campagna, 5-pound 11-ounce channel cat, $446; 2nd place, Eddie Mackin, 1-pound 10-ounce channel, $267; and 3rd place, William Smith, 1-pound 9-ounce white catfish, $179. Winners of a $20 gift certificate apiece to the Windlass Restaurant were: Mike Bentley, 1-pound 6-ounce bullhead catfish; Jim Archambault, 1-pound 5-ounce channel cat; and Artie Huttemeyer, 1-pound 5-ounce white cat. Congratulations to them! Laurie said.
A buddy scored well at Lake Hopatcong in a largemouth bass tournament, jigging the fish at the deeper docks, said Nick from <b>Meltzer’s Sporting Goods</b> in Garfield. The buddy and his partner won fifth place, and Nick thought their five-bass total weighed 14 pounds. Nick will compete in a bass tournament this weekend at Hopatcong, and expects to be able to report next week how the fishing’s going first-hand. He’ll complete at Greenwood Lake in a bass tournament the following week, and heard nothing about Greenwood. Nick fished Pompton Lake a couple of hours, when he sold his boat to someone and wanted to show the person the boat. But Pompton was in bad shape, discolored apparently from weed killer, and piles of stuff floating. A dock and another area, where boats are launched, were covered in goose droppings. Nick walked around Barber Pond, searching, without a rod, for a 12-pound largemouth bass that anglers this year reported seeing there. He didn’t see the fish, but will return, and did see an angler land two largemouths on the pound. One customer kept pounding lots of trout on the Pequannock River. One of the catches, a brown trout, Nick thought, weighed 8 pounds. A few anglers landed northern pike on the Passaic River at the deeper holes on live shiners. The fishing was happening farther upstream toward Wallington instead of Garfield.
The rains earlier in the week kept news from rolling in about catches, said Burt from <b>Efinger Sporting Goods</b> in Bound Brook. Eight or nine inches probably poured in some areas, and Burt imagined waters like the Raritan River were flooded. Matt Ludzinski checked in an 8-pound flathead catfish he angled from the Delaware River at the Riegelsville Bridge. From saltwater, Kevin Cichon weighed in an 8-pound 14-ounce 28-inch fluke that pounced at the Scotland Grounds on a Spro jig.
Grandparents with grandkids fished for bluegills at the ponds at the retirement villages, like Leisure Village, along Route 37, said Dennis from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. Crappies, small ones, but catches, chewed in the pond at the JCP&L industrial park on Route 37 on jigs under bobbers. A few customers tried trolling at Manasquan Reservoir for hybrid striped bass, but no results were heard. The Toms River at Trilco, the building supply that closed down near the Parkway, was a place to punch chain pickerel, as always. Killies and nightcrawlers are stocked, and shiners will be carried starting in September.
“Mud and more mud,” said Eric at <b>Harry’s Army and Navy</b> in Robbinsville. Four inches of rains fell Sunday, and the Delaware River was flooded, and the lakes were muddy. Before the rains, the river’s smallmouth bass fishing was “halfway decent,” Eric said, and the lakes served up largemouth bass, in conditions like early mornings and late in the day, on lures like top-waters and rubber worms. Waters probably won’t clear until next week.
Lots of rains fell, and waters were high, so few people fished toward the end of the week and early this week, said Dom from <b>Barracuda’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Riverside. Anglers just started returning to the shop Tuesday, when a bunch showed up, probably planning to fish for largemouth bass on the lakes and catfish on the Delaware River.
Lakes were all flooded at least Sunday to Tuesday, from the rains, said Tim from <b>Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle</b> in Blackwood. Nobody really fished, and a few anglers showed up at the shop, but not many.
Customers began to return to the shop Tuesday, after the stormy weather early this week, said Jim at <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. Fishing was washed out until then. Customers bought bait like nightcrawlers, but no results were heard, because they were only preparing to head back out.
The lakes were washed out from the stormy weather, so not much was happening with fishing, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Sunset Lake and Seeley Lake might’ve been lost, because the dams washed out. All the other lakes were at least high and muddy. Usual waters fished like Parvin’s Lake and Rainbow Lake were flooded and yet to recede. Ponds at the sand pits will probably be the clearest. In saltwater, summer flounder fishing sounded good before the weather, and nobody mentioned sailing for the fish since. Boaters hooked the flounder at the reefs like Cape May Reef, Reef 11 and the Old Grounds.