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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 10-17-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

Anglers began fishing for steelheads, instead of salmon, on the river with Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>, he said. Most of the salmon spawned and died, and that’s right on schedule. Some were still caught during his steelheading, though. The steelheading was off to a good start. A good number of them migrated into the river from Lake Ontario, and Jay’s trips had no problem hooking steelheads. Landing them was another matter. When hooked, the steelheads exploded like a bomb, he said. The fish, fresh from the lake, were in the best physical shape they’ll be in during this steelhead season. Some were big, too. One weighed 17 pounds on a trip with one of Jay’s guides. Many weighed 9 to 12 pounds, not the 7-pound, cookie-cutter size that steelheads were last year in the river. Jay’s trips caught mostly on orange egg flies. Other light colors would probably work, but the orange worked great. Sometimes egg-sucking leach flies worked for Jay. Steelheads were keyed in on salmon eggs that were abundant in the river. The lower river held the largest number of steelheads, but the upper held the fish, too. Some of the salmon hooked as a by-catch during steelheading were ratty, spawned out ones, but some were livelier. Weather turned chillier. Good, autumn temperatures began. Forecasts are calling for an inch of snow, a dusting, at Tug Hill, the river’s head waters, this weekend. Rain, nothing major, sometimes fell this week. The river at the dam ran at 335 cubic feet per second. An additional couple of hundred flowed downstream because of runoff. The water flow was good for fishing. The water was in the low to upper 50 degrees, depending on location. That’s about ideal for the fishing. This was a good start to steelhead season. Steelheads migrate to the river now to spend winter there, spawn in the river in spring and return to the lake for summer. They don’t die after spawning like salmon do. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


<a href="https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/flstk18.htm" target="_blank">Fall trout stocking</a> took place last week locally, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Trout-stream levels were “just about what they should be,” he said, maybe a little high at some places. Definitely not low. Pink or bubblegum-colored, 2-inch PowerBait worms were the most popular sellers for trout bait for two years now at the shop, for some reason. Customers grabbed them up quickly, and some asked the store to stow away some for them. Not a lot was heard about other fishing, including for largemouth bass on lakes. That might’ve been including because Lake Hopatcong was low. The lake was being lowered for dock repairs. That’s done every so many years, and Chris from the store, a tournament bass angler, told Don that boats might not have been able to be launched even from shore now, because of the low water. Kayaks might’ve been the way to go, Chris thought. He did no bass fishing recently, and the club’s tournaments that he competes in on the lake were wrapped up for the year some time ago. From saltwater, much was heard about false albacore in the Sandy Hook area. They swam thick in the ocean, but the store’s owner even boated albies on the New York side of Raritan Bay. Ocean surf anglers tied into albies in the area, too. Many customers fishing for albies bought Hogie soft-plastic lures for the angling. Tackle to fish upstate New York for salmon and steelhead on rivers was popular.

Even Big Flatbrook was flooded last weekend because of rain, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Flooding affects the stream less than many. The fall trout stocking took place Thursday on the Flatbrook, but couldn’t be fished through the weekend. A few anglers tried, but the water was higher than Andy saw in some time. Hopefully that will mellow this week. Good weather is forecast for a few days. Customers who trout fish mostly work the Flatbrook. Delaware River was blown out and filthy, looking brown like chocolate milk.

The lake was about 3 feet low, said John from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. The water is being drawn down 5 feet for dock repairs. Soon the water will be too low for boats to be launched. But catches were made, including lots of crappies, some walleyes and a few hybrid striped bass that began to bite in the lake.

Passaic River near the store fished fairly well until the rain, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. One customer picked smallmouth bass and largemouth bass from the river on spinner baits in white and chartreuse, light colors. He also reeled perch from the river. That angler said fish the pockets or pools near shore. Water there was fairly calm and held fish. Largemouth bass were angled from Lake Hopatcong here and there. What on? One customer used nightcrawlers, Larry said. The fall trout stocking began last week, and customers headed to fish for the trout, though no results rolled back to the store yet. In saltwater, false albacore schooled abundant in the ocean hear Sandy Hook. Sometimes they crashed into the surf there, and Larry heard that fishing was banner Sunday. Boaters sailed for sea bass on the ocean, sometimes having the weather to go, sometimes not. A few better-sized striped bass than before began to be reported caught. Those seemed the beginning of the migration out of rivers or the southern migration in the ocean. Boaters hooked the bass. Surf anglers picked them occasionally.

The fall trout stocking was good locally, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in the town of Toms River. Tons of the fish, including sizable, seemed stocked in the Toms River. Good-sized were angled last week on Tuesday on the Toms. The Toms, Metedeconk and Manasquan rivers were stocked that day. Virginia and kids plucked four of the rainbow trout to 4 pounds from the Toms that day. Mostly Trout Magnets seemed to catch for anglers on the Toms. PowerBait seemed to nab a few. But even spinners caught. The river was “tight quarters,” she said, or care needed to be taken when casting to avoid throwing a hook into vegetation. Rain from remnants of the hurricane last Thursday to Friday raised the Toms but not badly. Virginia’s son fished the river Saturday, saying the water was a little high. That seemed likely to drop in a day. The river seemed not to become blown out like rivers farther north in rain last week. Virginia heard that Delaware River was a washout last week. A couple of anglers talked about landing white perch from the Toms farther downstream at Trilco lately. Good crappie fishing was hung from the far end of Lake Shenandoah at the dock near the spillway. Killies and shiners hit them. Good-sized sunnies nibbled at Shenandoah last week. Maybe that was going to shut down any moment in chillier weather. Crappies chewed at Ocean County College Pond in mornings and evenings, and catfish crunched at the pond in evenings. Some healthy largemouth bass fishing came from the lake Virginia calls Purple Heart Trail Lake off Route 539. Jigs with 3- or 4-inch Fin-S Fish or paddle-tails clocked largemouths. So did spinner baits. Chain pickerel and largemouths were heard about from Brookside Lake. Generally, weather became cooler, but fish still bit everywhere. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Fishing slowed a bit, but big largemouth bass were locked into on shiners, Mike from <b>Creek Road Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn wrote in an email. He knew about some whipped at lakes in Grenloch and Gibbstown on the baitfish. Big pickerel were smashed at lakes in Lumberton, Pemberton and Medford on old-school jointed Rapalas and on Storm swim baits. Haddon Lake gave up great carp fishing and occasional largemouths. Local waters were being included in the fall trout stocking this week including today. The waters seemed primed for that, and Mepps Roostertails are a ticket to catch the trout. In saltwater, sea bass gave up plentiful catches on the ocean from north to south off New Jersey, but trips had to fish spots not picked over to sock keepers. The striped bass migration was headed south to the local coast. The water was cooling, and more catches like those should be heard about soon.

Everybody headed for trout that were being stocked this week locally, said Mike from <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. He waited to hear results, and the anglers mostly bought PowerBait to fish for them but also bought minnows. Minnows work well for big trout, and big breeders are usually included in this fall stocking. Nobody mentioned largemouth bass fishing. Chain pickerel could absolutely be caught this time of year at lakes. Weather’s cooling, and they thrive in cool water. Big Roostertails will smoke them, but so will minnows. The baitfish can hammer them.

Largemouth bass fishing was mostly slow, but a few big were nailed, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Just not a lot were. Parvin and Union lakes were hot spots for largemouths. A few reports about crappies began to be mentioned from Union. Malaga Lake generated decent news about crappies. Steve heard nobody report pickerel fishing. But surely pickerel bit at lakes and ponds. Trout were slated to be stocked yesterday at Giampetro Park Pond and Maurice River. Iona, Swedesboro and Greenwich lakes were supposed to be stocked today. Those were some of the waters supposed to be included in the fall trout stocking that took place last week and this week in New Jersey. South Jersey is included this week. The store had customers stopping by for supplies for trout fishing, like PowerBait, meal worms and spinners. In saltwater, sea bass season was off to a good start that was opened beginning last week on Monday. Small striped bass began to bite in better numbers in back bays. In brackish water, white perch fishing was great, including in creeks around Fortescue and, farther north, Great Egg Harbor and Mullica rivers.

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