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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 11-21-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Fishing was in winter mode, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Weather was cold and included snow, but fish bit. Jay’s fishing for the big brown trout in western, upstate New York was decent on Oak Orchard River and okay on creeks in the area, near Rochester. The biggest factor was that the fish were targeted in afternoons, when the waters warmed a little. That’s when the fish hit. The trips mostly caught on egg flies, but some of the trout were picked up on streamers. Ice was yet to form on the trout waters, but the waters might become slushy because Thanksgiving is forecast to be cold. Jay fishes for the browns, trout that grow large because they summer in Lake Ontario, until too much ice forms. Then he resumes fishing for steelheads throughout winter on Salmon River, two hours to the east. His guides currently were reporting pretty decent catches of the steelheads. They fished the lower river and avoided the upper, because crowds fished the upper. Nymphs hooked the steelheads more and more. Eggs were becoming stuck on bottom from the salmon spawn earlier this season. They just do that over time, and previously, egg flies were the patterns to fish. Sometimes the river will rise because of precipitation, and that can knock eggs loose and make egg patterns the flies to fish a moment again. The river flowed at 350 cubic feet per second at first last week, and rose to 750 early this week. Six or eight inches of snow fell on the upper Salmon, and a dusting fell on the lower. The river currently was 36 to 38 degrees or cold. Along the brown trout waters, 12 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in a storm this past week. Fishing slid into a pretty stable winter pattern. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.     


Two rainbow trout, with beautiful, blue backs that made them look like steelheads, were trolled at Round Valley Reservoir on a trip that Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale took two weekends ago with a friend, he said. One was hooked on a spoon and the other on a jointed Rapala in size 5 or 7. The angling was slow but usually keeps improving into winter, and Dave will keep fishing for them, including if anglers want a guided trip. Dave read reports that the fishing’s beginning to turn on, tying into rainbows and brown trout from the water surface down to 20 feet. He also saw reports about trout landed from shore at the reservoir. That begins when cold water causes the fish to swim shallows for warmth. Lake trout were currently spawning, but lakers can be hooked from shore, too. Dave is also focusing on musky fishing currently. Cold water usually causes muskies, the fish of 10,000 casts, to bite in short, specific windows of time. But they have to feed sometime, and cold water is known for catches of big muskies. He’s targeting big ones with large lures. Dave took an angler fishing for muskies Saturday at Monksville Reservoir, trolling and casting, but none bit. The water was 44 degrees. That’s chilly, but muskies are being caught at places like the St. Lawrence River, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and water’s certainly colder there. Only a few lakes in Dave’s area still have ramps open to launch boats. But these are a couple, and some smaller lakes still had launching available. Lake Hopatcong’s ramps were unusable because the lake’s been lowered for seasonal dock repairs. The lake was mud flats at the ramps. Dave supposed a row boat could be dragged out to the water and launched.

Some good catches of walleyes and smallmouth bass were made on Delaware River whenever the river wasn’t too high for fishing, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. The walleyes could be hooked on Keitechs. The smallmouths were beauties 16 or 18 inches this time of year and could be hooked on black Gulp worms on jigheads. The Delaware is fished for these catches until ice begins to form. Trout were picked on streams when the streams didn’t run too high. Plenty of trout filled the streams, and they could be grabbed on meal worms, small spinners and egg flies. Small Rapala lures including Husky Jerks are also good to fish for big trout at deep holes. The <a href=" https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/trtinfo_winter.htm
" target="_blank">winter trout stocking</a> was supposed to take place Monday and Tuesday. Each year, that stocks lakes and ponds, and the fall stocking is at rivers and streams and takes  place in October. Nothing was heard about largemouth bass fishing this late in the year. Lake Hopatcong, drained for dock repairs, was too low to launch boats to fish for largemouths or anything. Maybe a row boat could be dragged out to the water. Fishing for walleyes is usually good on Hopatcong this time of year on ice-fishing jigs.

Customers nailed landlocked salmon at Lake Tilcon from shore on shiners and Kastmasters, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. The shiners were fished with split-shots but no bobber or float. The anglers cast the shiner as far as possible, and the let the line out a little. Two customers smashed two muskies 48 and 47 inches, one a tiger musky and the other a true-strain, and lost another at Oxford Lake at night while fishing from shore on a trip with trout they bought from Hi-Way and livelined. Those anglers fish from daylight into dark. The muskies were healthy-looking, fat fish. Keith saw photos. Another customer whacked lake trout at Round Valley Reservoir from shore on Kastmasters. Trout streams were loaded with trout but often high. Getting a fishable day was difficult. Delaware River was similar. When the Delaware’s water level is fishable, walleyes are angled from the water this time of year. Nobody seemed to fish for largemouth bass this late in the season. Keith’s bass boat is stowed away for winter.

Passaic River was flooded into the parking lot, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. So the water was too high to fish, though she was reporting catches of northern pike from the water previously. The river is one of the few places where the pike are stocked in New Jersey. A couple of catches of muskies were heard about from Monksville Reservoir. Small baits like Keitechs, lures usually fished for largemouth bass, seemed to hook them. If anglers fished for largemouths at local lakes or ponds, they usually caught. What on? One customer used blade baits. Johnson ThinFisher blade baits are stocked. Most lakes and ponds are private locally. In saltwater, anglers seemed to see striped bass more than they caught any. Where? One customer reported marking stripers from Raritan Bay to the ocean off Seaside on a trip but could get none to bite. Sand eels schooled, and that’s what the stripers seemed likely to be feeding on. Anglers boated stripers, but they had to be diligent. They couldn’t take a short, easy-going trip and expect to connect.

Chain pickerel were hitting, said Abby from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Largemouth bass were angled here and there, but water was becoming cold for the bass to bite. Not many anglers fished for them by this time in autumn, too. Soft-plastic lures, hard lures like Rapalas and nightcrawlers were fished for the bass. Small spinners worked well on the pickerel. A few sunfish were nabbed, and most were heard about from Lake Riviera and Ocean County College Pond. Lester’s Lake across from the Ocean County mall was another spot. Sunfish will stop biting in the cold. So will largemouths, for that matter. Few fished for trout, but a few trout were heard about from the Toms River at Riverwood Park. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Not much was available to report, that’s for sure, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Weather including rain’s been rough. Pretty darn wet, he said about the past week. Plenty of chain pickerel, including big, bit including at Parvin’s Lake and Menantico Ponds. Menantico actually fished well for a mix of pickerel, yellow perch and some crappies. Minnows will hook all of those. Small jigs with twister-tails or tubes were fished for the perch and crappies. But minnows were the hot ticket for all of those fish. Largemouth bass could be hooked at lakes, mostly on jerk baits, but inconsistent weather affected fishing for the bass. One day of largemouth catches might be heard about, and then three or four slow days. One customer was running into decent largemouthing at South Vineland Park Pond on occasion.  Winter trout stocking took place on Tuesday locally, and a couple of anglers stopped in for jars of bait for trout. Local waters that were supposed to be stocked included South Vineland Park Pond and Shaw’s Mill Pond in Cumberland County. Waters scheduled to be stocked that day also included Haddon Lake and Rowand’s Pond in Camden County and Birch Grove Park Pond in Atlantic County. In saltwater, the striped bass migration arrived in the ocean off South Jersey. The fishing was spotty but sometimes good, mostly on trolled Mojos and Stretch plugs. A few customers even reported good fishing for blackfish already, since the bag limit increased beginning Friday to five from the previous limit of one.

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