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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 2-21-18

<b>Adirondack Mountains</b>

Warm weather today was probably going to soften the top of ice on lakes in the Adirondacks, said Logan from <b>FISH307.com</b> in the village of Lake George. Anglers might need to begin to be more careful than before about ice that’s the first to melt along edges of lakes. But ice-fishing was still happening, including on bays on Lake George. Until now, the ice was probably becoming no thinner. On George, yellow perch and sometimes lake trout were reeled in. Sunday gave up a great laker bite on the lake. Landlocked salmon, not a ton, were eased from the lake here and there. Lakes can usually be fished from the ice until mid-March in the Adirondacks. Farther north, they can be fished until late March “in a T-shirt,” he said. Anglers then might throw boards across thawed edges of lakes to reach fishable ice. Most customers fish George, and Logan heard little about ice-fishing at other lakes in the area. He’d been away from the store a couple of days. He knew that a walleye tournament was held at Great Sacandaga Lake last weekend on the ice. Sacandaga is known for walleyes and also big northern pike. All ice-fishing baits are stocked except medium suckers. No more mediums will probably be in supply this season, but jumbo suckers and super-jumbos are carried. Ice thickness that the store reported Friday on the shop’s Facebook page included 12 inches on some of George’s bays,12 on Champlain’s South Bay, 14 on Eaton, Durant, Eagle, Pleasant and northern Schroon, and 10 on Moreau and Saratoga. The post listed additional lakes, and the store posts the lists every so many days. <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.

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

Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b> was on the water a fair amount this past week, he said. Western New York’s streams or creeks, where he fishes for large brown trout, were low, clear and iced over this past week, and the ice was just beginning to break up. Two hours east in upstate New York, Salmon River ran at 500 cubic feet per second and fished well for steelheads that week. But erase all of this, Jay said! That’s because warm weather in the 50 degrees and rain was forecast for this week. The creeks will thaw and probably blow out, but should fish well afterward, and ice might be no issue the rest of the season. Salmon River will become higher, including because of snow melt. A foot of snow covered banks, and the river was supposed to be raised to 1,000 CFS Monday night. That was probably done to help prevent the river from flooding too much when the melt began. The river will probably rise to 1,500 or 1,800 CFS because of the melt. But the Salmon’s been fishing well for steelheads all winter. This week’s high water will draw more of the fish to migrate to the river from Lake Ontario. When the Salmon ran at 500 this past week, the upper river held lots of steelheads. They were crabby, typical in winter, and anglers had to be on their game. They felt lots of short bites. The lower river held more steelheads than usual for the time of year this past week. A good, steady flow of them was migrating in. On the lower river, anglers swung streamer flies across the river, scoring double-digits of bites.  The water then was clear, and somewhat smaller streamers 1 to 2 ½ inches worked. Intruders, a usual winter streamer, connected. Black, pink, chartreuse or sometimes a combo, with flash, drew hits. The flies were fished slightly off the river’s bottom. On the upper river, stoneflies and occasionally pink egg flies caught. In other news, ice was still fished on lakes and bays. The ice will probably become a little touchy in the warm spell. This changing fishing is typical of angling, but more so is typical of the season. Winter is ending, and conditions for fishing will keep changing because of fluctuating air temperatures. But this is also coming into one of the best times of the year for catches. Steelhead fishing, for instance, will peak as the fish flood rivers to spawn next month and in early April. Both the brown trout and steelheads will migrate back to Lake Ontario to spend summer. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> pasted two rainbow trout and a lake trout at Round Valley Reservoir on Saturday on a trip, he wrote in an email. Williams Wabler Whitefish Spoons hooked the fish, and he didn’t say whether he trolled the lures. But that seemed likely. The water was 34 degrees, and Dave reached home just as snow really began to fall.

Customers were headed to fish yesterday and today because of warmth, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. He was yet to hear results, but fishing was sort of in limbo in past days, because ice was melting. Ice-fishing seemed no longer possible. The angling took place until Saturday at least. Most ice now seemed melted. Anglers seemed able to cast a line successfully, or no ice prevented that, for the most part. Brian saw no trout streams recently, but they might be high because of rain and snow melt. Today might be the last day with clear skies for a moment, and rain is forecast for the next days. More news about fishing might become available for next week’s report, though. Weather is becoming relatively warmer, and that should enable anglers to fish open water.

Anglers began to fish trout streams, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Many who stopped in planned to fish today because of warmth, and were going to fish baby nightcrawlers, shrimp salmon eggs or PowerBait for trout. Trout fishing will be closed because of stocking beginning March 19 until April 7, opening day of trout season. Many lakes still held skim ice, so streams were best to fish. Spruce Run Reservoir held thin ice. But a few customers yesterday were going to fish ponds. A few were going to fish Round Valley Reservoir for trout from shore, and bought shiners for that. Forecasts look like lakes and ponds will be clear of ice for casting within a couple of days. Merrill Creek Reservoir will probably be a place fished, too. Walleye fishing is usually good on Delaware River this time of year. But Keith didn’t know whether the river was high because of snow melt. In the warmer weather this week, customers stopped by, bought fishing licenses for the year, and geared up to fish.

Ice-fishing has come to an end on the lake for the season, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email Sunday evening. Four or five inches still covered most of the lake then, but shorelines opened up, “and you can put the spud bar thru in 2 shots,” she wrote. Warm weather and rain this week should “finish it off.” A handful of ice-anglers fished Saturday on the lake, after cold weather the night before. They pulled in pickerel and perch at shallower water and jigged walleyes off Chestnut Point in deeper water. “Bring on spring!” Laurie said.

People fished, and were excited to fish, but seemed yet to catch much, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Some fished Round Valley Reservoir, because trout were reported caught there from shore, but hooked nothing. Although anglers were excited, this was still February. Passaic River near the shop ran high but wasn’t cresting like last week. The river probably dropped 6 inches since last week, when the Passaic was reaching the parking lot. Nobody reported catches from saltwater. Stop at the shop’s booth at the Saltwater Fishing Expo from March 16 through 18 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison.

<b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River was probably going to be open daily, for limited hours, beginning this past Monday for the fishing season, Dennis said last weekend in a phone call. Someone from the shop this week indeed said the store is open daily, in a comment on the shop’s Facebook page. Nightcrawlers, shiners, and bloodworms are stocked. A gallon of killies managed to be stocked Monday. Two more flats of bloods were ordered yesterday. Photos of anglers hooking throwback striped bass that were released were posted on the Facebook page. They’re here! it said, and said the bass kept biting while the anglers fished for white perch. This was obviously at brackish water, and striped bass season is closed in back waters like this until opening beginning March 1. No location was named. Thanks for not spot-burning, giving away the location, someone commented. Anglers currently will fish the bloods for white perch in the Toms River, Dennis said in the phone call. Virginia who works at the store and crew fished Ocean County College Pond, rounding up pickerel, crappies and a couple of largemouth bass, Dennis said. Spring Lake fished great for trout including brooks and big palominos. The Shark River Surf Anglers club stocked trout in January in the lake.

Minnows are finally stocked, said Jeff from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. The baitfish became available, and nightcrawlers were already socked, but minnows were especially in demand. Not a ton of fishing happened, but a little did. Now that minnows are in, he hopes to see more anglers in the next days. Lakes were high and dirty because of rain. They were no longer frozen, though. Maybe the season “turned a corner.” Hopefully, Jeff said. Weather can be unpredictable in March.

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