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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 10-31-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b> was about to transition to fishing for the huge brown trout in western, upstate New York’s rivers and streams or creeks, he said. Those are waters near Rochester, and he previously this season fished for steelheads on Salmon River, two hours to the east. That angling remained good currently, and his guides will keep taking clients there, and Jay will return to that fishing through winter. But he takes advantage of the browns while possible. The browns are migrating to the rivers and creeks from Lake Ontario, and are huge because they summer in the lake. This is a chance to land trophies. They winter in the rivers and creeks because forage is more abundant there than in the lake in winter. His trips fish for the trout until the water surface freezes. Then he guides for steelheads again on the Salmon. The Salmon is a large river that never entirely freezes. Currently in the western New York area, Oak Orchard River held a fair number of salmon, browns and rainbow trout. Lots of anglers pressured the river, because it held enough water, but the creeks nearby ran very low. Rain was needed to raise them. The creeks mostly held salmon, and browns were mostly yet to migrate into them. Salmon will migrate to waters that are low. Sometimes they’ll even swim with the tops of their bodies out of the water. Browns won’t migrate to waters that are too low. Rain is forecast, and maybe that will help. Jay would like to see torrential rain. Salmon River had a shot of rain during the weekend that raised the river a couple of hundred cubic feet per second. Three-hundred-thirty-five has been the flow released at the dam all season. The gauge downstream at Pineville during the weekend measured 600 CFS or more. The higher water drew in a few more steelheads migrating to the river. The steelhead fishing’s been good. Fluctuating water temperature was the biggest challenge for the steelheading, and that’s normal for the time of year. The water ranged from the low 40 degrees to the low 50s, depending on the day. Steelheads were reluctant to bite during the day until mid-morning warmth, and that’s typical this time of season. The fishing was good in afternoons. Steelheads were still keyed in on salmon eggs for forage, because of the salmon spawn this fall. Egg flies caught. But some anglers began catching the steelheads on traditional steelhead streamers, fun fishing, on the lower river. More eggs were in the upper river. When a shot of higher water happens like last weekend, that kicks up eggs into the water, increasing the egg bite. Weather was typical for the season. Yesterday reached the low 50 degrees and was 28 or 29 in the morning. A few warm days are now forecast for New Jersey, but not for upstate New York. Forecasts called for weather to remain about the same there as it’s been. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


A father and son fished for muskies on Greenwood Lake on Sunday aboard, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale. None of the fish of 10,000 casts bit. But the son had just bought a house along the lake and wanted to learn about Greenwood, and the anglers seemed pleased. They were knowledgeable about muskies. The trip trolled for the fish, slowly because the water was cool at 54 degrees. The water looked a little brown, so might’ve recently turned over. Fall foliage was peaking and beautiful, and that was two weeks later than last year. Some people said rain this fall delayed the peak. Dave will fish places like Greenwood as long as boat ramps are open. Many boats were stowed away and shrink-wrapped for winter at marinas along the lake. When Greenwood is no longer available, he’ll fish Round Valley Reservoir and places like Mountain and Furnace lakes that will remain accessible. He’ll fish throughout winter so long as waters aren’t frozen. He kind of looks forward to boating for trout on Round Valley in winter. Lake Hopatcong was unfishable for Dave because boat ramps were unusable because of low water. The lake is being drawn down for dock repairs like happens every so many years. Otherwise Hopatcong’s hybrid striped bass fishing would likely be great. Dave fishes for them with chicken livers and chums with the livers. Besides Hopatcong, water levels were good elsewhere, because of rain. He waded for trout on rivers a couple of weeks ago, covered in a previous report here, and the rivers ran high but fishable. He wouldn’t have wanted to fall into the rivers, he said. Dave had been concerned that weather would cancel Sunday’s musky trip, because Saturday’s weather was rough in the nor’easter. But Sunday’s weather turned out fairly pleasant.

Trout stream levels seemed normal, except at Musconetcong River, said John from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Brian from the shop told him that. The Musky ran high because Lake Hopatcong was being drained lower for dock repairs. Trout seemed angled from the streams, and trout anglers at the store seemed mostly to fish small egg flies. Although Hopatcong was low, largemouth bass and chain pickerel were caught in shallows, Brian told John. Keitech soft-plastic lures and Gary Yamamoto rubber worms were fished for the bass. In saltwater, John banked a couple of false albacore from Sandy Hook’s North Beach a couple of weeks ago. He and a friend caught some on the trip, and arrived when a couple of anglers were landing three or four. John caught on pink epoxy jigs, and had tried green, but the fish seemed to prefer pink. He fished the surf again last Wednesday but hooked nothing. A friend fished for striped bass yesterday on a party boat from Atlantic Highlands. The friend landed 15 throwback striped bass when the trip fished in New Jersey waters. When the boat sailed upstream of the Verrazano Bridge into New York waters, 10 keepers were hung around the boat.

Fishing for trout from the fall stocking was good on streams, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Anglers said the fish were sizable, healthy-looking trout about 16 inches. Most customers fish Pequest River who fish for trout, and the water level was good, not flooded. But some fish Musconetcong and South Branch of the Raritan rivers. Baby nightcrawlers, salmon eggs and PowerBait caught. Trout should soon be angled from shore at Round Valley and Merrill Creek reservoirs. They move to shallows when water becomes cold, and Keith thought the water was still a little warm for that. Not much was heard about Spruce Run Reservoir, but Saturday’s weather was terrible in the nor’easter. That probably prevented much fishing. Keith thought he heard about a northern pike from Spruce. Customers reeled in largemouth bass at Mountain Lake on Sunday on spinner baits. Muskies caught were heard about from Oxford Furnace Lake on large shiners. One customer fished Delaware River upstream near the Poxono boat ramp, picking up a couple of walleyes. He saw an angler nail a stringer of yellow perch there and so was going to return and fish for the perch. Keith expected lots of anglers to fish in 70-degree weather that was now forecast.

Not much going on, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. The docks had to be pulled from the water, because the lake was being drawn down 5 feet. So the rental boats were no longer available. The shop will be open for some time yet for bait and tackle, “but please call to check on our hours,” she wrote. The store is always closed for a moment late in the season until being reopened for ice-fishing. The store will be stocked for ice. The lake is lowered for dock repairs every so many years. That began to happen earlier than usual this year, causing the store’s docks to be removed early.

Anything to report? Yes! said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Bait & Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Northern pike bit in Passaic River, though the river ran high. If anglers found slow water, like pools near shore, pike could be clobbered. Some customers actually complained, saying pike grabbed lures they fished for smallmouth bass on the river. Smallmouths and largemouth bass could be plucked from the river. If anglers could avoid pike! Cheryl saw photos of two 36-inch pike from the river. The Passaic is one of the few waters stocked with pike in New Jersey. Customers headed to fish for trout on Musconetcong River. No results were known. Customers buy salmon eggs to fish for trout this time of year. Customers left to fish for striped bass on Raritan Bay in saltwater. They might’ve been more hopeful than sure of success. But they hoped last weekend’s nor’easter triggered the striper migration to local waters. The blackfish bag limit will be increased beginning Nov. 16 to five, from the current limit of one. Blackfish were biting on sea bass trips.

Chain pickerel seemed the most frequent catches, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Seemed that no matter what anglers tried to land, they lit into pickerel. Water temperature dropped quickly. Fishing presentations will be slow now, because of cool water. Anglers fishing from shore often began casting parallel to the bank, because fish sought shallower, warmer water. Panfishing was kind of slow in cooler water. But fishing for yellow perch was good on the Toms River at Trilco, Lake Riviera and Lake Shenandoah. For the perch, fish tackle like bait along bottom with a split shot. The perch are grubbing along bottom, not chasing lures. White perch were reported from brackish water in the Toms and the Tuckerton area. Nightcrawlers could hook them. The <a href=" https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/trtinfo_winter.htm
" target="_blank">winter trout stocking</a> will take place Nov. 19 and 20, and Spring Lake and Lake Shenandoah will be included. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Plenty of chain pickerel and a few largemouth bass and yellow perch were reeled in, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Trout fishing was still good at lakes included in the fall trout stocking. Roostertails, PowerBait and minnows hooked the trout. Catfish were reported pasted from Delaware River on chunks of bunker or on nightcrawlers. In saltwater, sea bass fishing was productive on the ocean when boats had the weather to sail. Bluefish and occasional striped bass could be found in the surf. Plenty of schoolie stripers milled around back bays, biting bait, top-water lures or soft-plastic lures.

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