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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 10-3-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

The river’s salmon were a little grumpy in past days, but trips managed to catch them alright with Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>, he said. The volume of the fish migrating up the river was a little slower than before. The number was steadier last year, but that’s not the norm. Usually a pulse shoots up, then another, and so on. He wouldn’t be surprised if another slug fills the river in the next days. The fish are beginning to spawn in the river, right on schedule. The river ran at 335 cubic feet per second, and 1 ½ inches of rain fell last week. Rain fell again yesterday, and Jay didn’t know the amount, but it fell pretty well. That’s all positive, and the ground began holding some of the moisture, after dry weather. The rain added a little water to the reservoir. The salmon were mostly kings or Chinooks, and they swam throughout the river. A few were Cohos, and occasionally a steelhead was heard about. Jay suspects more and more steelheads will arrive in the river in the next week. It’s time. He’ll fish for the steelheads after the salmon run. He wouldn’t be surprised if he reported netting a couple in the next week. The water was a little warm or in the low to mid 60 degrees. The temperature will drop quickly, and he’d like the river to be in the 50s. The salmon fishing is good, and should be this time of year. Angling pressure was heavy last weekend, and the pressure peaks on Columbus Day weekend, this coming weekend. Jay’s trips caught on wooly buggers, with sizable bodies but small hooks, on the upper river, on more of a dead drift. On the lower river, the trips caught on the buggers and some classic wet flies swung across current. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Delaware River was blown out, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Big Flatbrook was high but fishable, and never becomes discolored. But nobody reported fishing for trout there. The Flatbrook should be in good shape for New Jersey’s fall trout stocking. It’s scheduled to be included on Oct. 11. More anglers will fish then. Nothing was heard about fishing on lakes.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> lost one musky, good-sized, on a trip during the weekend, he wrote on Live to Fish’s Facebook page. That’s three he lost in two weekends. This one was hooked when Dave worked a lure in a figure-eight at the end of a cast. That sometimes attracts muskies to bite. The fish of 10,000 casts hit, shook its head above the water and spit the hook. The lure’s hooks were sharpened like a razor. Dave landed a small musky last weekend that surprisingly bit chicken liver meant for walleyes, covered in the previous report here.

Fewer anglers seemed to fish because of the transition to fall, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b>. But <a href="https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/trtinfo_fall.htm" target="_blank">fall trout stocking</a>, slated to begin Tuesday, will change that, and more anglers also begin to fish when leaves change color each fall, maybe because that’s a beautiful time of year. Or maybe anglers just seem to settle into the new season then. Trout streams currently ran high because of rain. Drizzle fell when he gave this report yesterday, and the weather seemed to mean the water levels weren’t coming down soon. This higher water was different from the usual low water this time of year, after summer’s dryness. Bigger trout, breeders, are usually stocked in fall. Pink PowerBait worms, like 2 inches, are top-sellers for the trout. PowerBait artificial salmon egg clusters are the next most popular. They’re rubber eggs in clusters like five or six. But the worms sell the most. Some of the shop’s crew were fishing on Lake Hopatcong with tackle reps from Pure Fishing when Don gave this report. He joined the trip last year and mostly fished top-water lures for largemouth bass. Hopatcong began being lowered for dock repairs. Customers kept gearing up to travel for salmon fishing in upstate New York’s tributaries of Lake Ontario like the Salmon River. Were they catching? Everybody had a fish story, he said. The salmon might not have been easy for visitors to catch.

Customers geared up to fish the fall trout stocking, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. The stocking will begin Tuesday, and Delaware River was flooded. Previously, some good catfishing was clocked on the river. A couple of customers had reeled flathead cats, not huge but up to 20 pounds, from the river near Belvidere Bridge. Customers bought the store’s live herring to fish Spruce Run and Merrill Creek reservoirs. At Spruce, they beat hybrid striped bass and catfish on the bait. At Merrill, they cranked in big smallmouth bass on the herring. The herring will probably be available another week, until Lake Hopatcong, where they’re caught, becomes too law. The lake is being lowered for dock repairs, like happens every so many years. One angler bought live trout from the store and nailed his biggest musky, a 47-incher, at Oxford Lake on the livelined fish. Customers buy the trout for musky fishing at Oxford and Mountain lakes, sometimes for striped bass on Delaware River.  

Fewer anglers than usual competed in the Knee Deep Club’s hybrid striped bass tournament on the lake two weekends ago, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. She didn’t say a reason, but rough weather seemed the cause. But because fewer fished, fewer hybrids were entered, and they might not have been as large as usual. A 4-pound 4-ouncer came in first place. Second through third weighed 4 pounds, 2 pounds 12 ounces and 2 pounds 5 ounces. Anglers hope for a better turnout next year. A walleye tournament on the lake this weekend will be the club’s final contest of the year. The club holds ice-fishing contests in winter on the lake. Several 4-pound walleyes were weighed from the lake last week at the store. Pickerel, crappies and lots of white perch were seen from the lake. Jack Glinka brought in a 3-pound 4-ounce smallmouth bass from Hopatcong. The lake is being drawn down 5 feet for dock repairs. Because of that, a lake cleanup is being organized for Nov. 3. Visit the <a href=" https://lakehopatcongfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s website</a> if you want to help remove debris. Even an hour of time would be appreciated.

Passaic River flowed high near <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook, Cheryl said. Northern pike fishing began to pick up on the river before that. Cheryl drop-shotted smallmouth bass at Lake Wallenpaupack in Pennsylvania. Smallmouths could probably be drop-shotted at any lake that held them. Some customers headed to fish for muskies at lakes this time of year. Only a few species of fish were targeted in saltwater currently, including porgies and false albacore.

Some customers were interested in trout because of the fall trout stocking next week, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Locally, the Toms, Manasquan and Metedeconk rivers are slated to be included in the stocking. Good fishing for bluegills was bombed at Ocean County College Pond on worms. A couple of customers banged away at crappies well at Manasquan Reservoir in the trees on small Misters Twisters under bobbers. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Weather improved, and fishing began to be better, Mike from <b>Creek Road Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn wrote in an email. Big largemouth bass were whacked this week at Woodbury Lake on shiners and swim baits. Top-water fishing for snakeheads, the invasive species, picked up if anglers could find places free of slime on Newton and Haddon lakes and Cooper River. In improving conditions, this weekend looks like a great one for catching.

More anglers than before began to be seen at <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland, Steve said. Weather improved, including calmer wind. Little had been heard about freshwater fishing, including because of rough weather. Sometimes catches were reported from brackish water, including striped bass on Maurice River and creeks off Delaware Bay. The Maurice is a tributary of the bay. Lots of white perch were pasted from waters like those. That angling was really good. Lots were big.

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