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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 1-31-18

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

Probably a foot of ice covered the bays on Lake George, said Luke from <b>FISH307.com</b> in the village of Lake George. Ice-fishing was great for yellow perch there. Those who fished for lake trout on “laker water,” he said, on the bays caught fairly well. Probably more than a foot covered all other lakes in the Adirondacks. George is the largest and deepest in the mountains. Other lakes fished from the ice included Brant Lake, where fishing for crappies was okay, not stellar, not bad, he said, and yellow perch fishing was pretty good. A few brown trout and rainbow trout were hooked just under the ice at Brant. A 25-pound 44-inch northern pike was heaved through the ice at Great Sacandaga Lake. Ice-fishing baits stocked, according to a post on the store’s Facebook page yesterday, include icicles, medium, heavy and pike shiners, medium suckers, small hunts, mousies, grubs, wax worms, nightcrawlers and cup or perch bait. <a href="http://www.fish307.com" target="_blank">FISH307.com</a> is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop, carrying a large selection of ice-fishing supplies. The physical store is near the New York State Thruway in the southern Adirondacks, on the way to fishing for anglers traveling north.

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

Water levels dropped on Salmon River and the rest of the rivers and streams locally, after high water last week, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Five-hundred cubic feet of water was being released at the dam on the Salmon, and runoff probably added 300, so the rest of the river probably flowed at 700 to 800, a good flow for fishing for steelheads on the river. Weather became colder, after a warm spell that melted snow last week, raising water levels. Rivers and streams were mostly blown out from high water last week. But they were in good shape now. They were also all open water, none covered with ice. Jay did no fishing during the weekend, because he was exhibiting at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison, New Jersey. He expected to resume fishing today. One of his guides fished the Salmon for steelheads while Jay was at the show, and caught great, on nymph flies. Lots of steelheads are swimming the upper river. When Jay fishes today, he was probably going to work Oak Orchard River and Sandy Creek. The Oak is mostly holding steelheads. A few brown trout are swimming the estuary on the Oak. The estuary is what anglers call the lower portions of rivers, where rivers can be broken up into different branches among islands. Sandy Creek is holding mostly browns, a few steelheads. Jay wanted to see just how many browns are there, and Sandy is a place he looks for browns this time of year. The browns are huge, because they summer in Lake Ontario, spending winter in the creek, where forage is more abundant this season. Creeks were all open water because of last week’s warmth, after they were mostly frozen over previously. Six to eight inches of snow fell Monday. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


The best ice-fishing was in the Poconos, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the store’s website. Warm weather softened ice in South Jersey on lakes last week. In the Poconos, lakes where customers reported catching from the ice included Shohola, Belmont and Brady’s. At Shohola, chain pickerel, yellow perch and bluegills, great catches, were nabbed. Belmont fished well for pickerel and northern pike. At Brady’s, one angler landed more than a hundred panfish two weekends ago. Closer to Brinkman’s, the private lakes at the Penn Warner Club fished terrific two weekends ago from the ice, including for perch, crappies, pickerel and pike. The report didn’t say whether the perch were yellow, white or both. The only reports from South Jersey were about fishing open water at rivers and spillways. Those catches included a bunch of pickerel from Mullica River at Sweetwater Casino, small pickerel from spillways around Batsto and white perch and throwback, 12- to 14-inch striped bass at the spillway below Lake Lenape, at the head waters of Great Egg Harbor River. Note that striper fishing is closed in inland waters, including here, until reopening beginning March 1. Those fish would need to be released even if they weren’t throwback-sized. More details and locations were included in the report.


Ice was still fished, said Dean from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. He hesitated to say how much was fishable, or how thick the ice was, because weather kept fluctuating between warm and cold. Soft ice along shorelines had been dicey. Maybe that froze back up in colder weather since. Lakes fished from the ice included Stony, Owassa, Culver, Swartswood and more. Nobody reported fishing streams for trout, but the streams could probably be fished. Days were sometimes warm, thawing some of the ice that might’ve made fishing some of the streams difficult previously. Currently, some days were warm, and some were cold, freezing the water back up. Most customers who fish streams for trout work Big Flatbrook, located near the store.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> trolled three lake trout and a rainbow trout at Round Valley Reservoir on Sunday, he said. The lakers were trolled 40 to 50 feet down in deeper than 100 feet of water, between big, floating islands of ice. The rainbow was trolled on the way in. The lake was 33 to 34 degrees, and to launch the boat, he needed to sail between ice on a trail that other boats made. Ice smashed one of his taillights during launching.

Anglers ice-fished on Lake Hopatcong on Monday, Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna said Tuesday. He was at the store’s booth at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison during the weekend, so he heard less news than usual. But the anglers supposedly fished on 10 inches of ice, reeling up a few perch and crappies. Some ice had become “shabby” for fishing by last weekend, because of warmth. But weather was supposed to be colder this week. Because those anglers said they found 10 inches at Hopatcong, Kevin guessed some lakes held fishable ice. Surely some small ponds did. Nothing was heard about trout fishing on streams. The store’s annual Cast and Blast and Cabin Fever Day will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. The event will include seminars, demonstrations, exhibitors, tackle reps, clubs and more. Seminars will include ones on fluke, springtime bass and musky fishing. Tackle reps will include those from Abu Garcia, Shimano, Penn, St. Croix, Eagle Claw and Daiwa.

Fishable ice, 6 to 8 inches, was still available on the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email today. “You will need to watch some shorelines that have refroze after opening from the rain or a dock bubbler,” she wrote. Access to the lake remained okay at the shop’s dock. The ice-fishing was somewhat slower last weekend. Perch and pickerel were pulled in. Kyle Macrae nailed a large pickerel, a 2-pound smallmouth bass, several large yellow perch and some walleyes. Adik Ackerman beat a 4-pound largemouth bass, and Lou Marcucci pasted a 2-pound smallmouth. The Knee Deep Club will hold an ice-fishing contest Sunday, Feb. 11, on the lake, so long as the ice remains thick enough.

Some anglers ice-fished, but not a lot was heard, and there was a warm spell and a couple of rainy days in the past week, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. In saltwater, a few customers were fishing for cod from Connecticut. Did they catch? Oh yeah, Cheryl said. They did.

Ice disappeared from lakes only a day or so this past week, said Jeff from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. But colder weather returned since, and nothing was really reported about fishing. Ice-fishing is unpopular this far south in New Jersey, because fishable ice usually lasts only briefly. When ice forms, that pretty much prevents fishing. Snow, not a lot, fell yesterday. Nightcrawlers are stocked, and no minnows are. The minnow supplier will probably need one more warm spell to begin catching the baitfish and providing them to the store again. Steve from the shop in last week’s report noted that when open water enables fishing for chain pickerel and yellow perch in winter on lakes, live bait, including minnows and nightcrawlers, is likely to catch best. Those fish are willing to bite in the cold. If anglers fish for largemouth bass this time of year on lakes, he’d think Rat-L-Traps, suspending jerk baits and drop-shots, fished slowly, would catch, he said then.

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