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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 4-4-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b> thought steelhead spawning would’ve been further along than it is, he said. That’s not a bad thing, because it could extend the time left to fish for them on Salmon River and rivers and streams farther west, near Rochester, in upstate New York. After steelheads spawn, they return to Lake Ontario to spend summer. Weather and water were cold, delaying spawning. But the fish were on the cusp of spawning and really good fishing for them. On Salmon River, a little spawning began Friday and Saturday. Then the river rose from 500 cubic feet per second on Friday to 750 on Saturday and 1,200 or 1,500 on Sunday. That was a quick increase, and the higher water would draw more steelheads into the river. But higher water is cooler water, and the lower temperature make the fish sluggish, slowing the angling somewhat. A trip with Jay on the river Monday hooked a few on a variety of flies including a Wooly Bugger, an egg pattern and a Doodlebug. No one pattern worked best. The rivers and streams in the west also ran high and cold. A fair number of steelheads filled the Salmon and the western waters, and the low water temperatures just made them a little grumpy. This was the time of year when anglers just needed to fish whatever conditions developed. The conditions will change, and might even change while anglers are on the water. But this is also the time to find the year’s best steelheading, and it won’t last much longer, so get out there. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish conventional tackle with his other guides.


Better weather “helped” Delaware River’s striped bass fishing last week, but only downstream from the Philly airport to farther south, Bill Brinkman from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> wrote in a report posted Thursday on the shop’s website. If he posts another report this week, an update will be added to this report then. The stripers included plenty of 12- to 20-inchers that were bloodwormed. Only a few were known about that were bunkered or clammed. Several anglers reported totaling 10 to 20 stripers, white perch and channel catfish apiece per trip at Salem. Striper fishing is closed on the river from Salem to Trenton in New Jersey for spawning, but anglers release them. Certain circle hooks must be used by law. Pennsylvania’s regulations are different. Bill spoke with nobody who scored good shad fishing at Trenton on the river last week. One angler in several trips pulled in 17 walleyes from the river at Lumberville on minnows. Lots of carp were reported caught from Schuylkill River from the art museum to Gladwyne. Bill heard about big flathead catfish from the Schuylkill but no details including size and location. Plenty of other fishing was covered in the report. <b>***Update, Friday, 4/6:***</b> Fishing for small stripers was picking up on Delaware River, a report said that was posted today on the shop’s website. A few were even heard about as far upstream as Trenton. Shad fishing was terrific from Trenton upstream to Lambertville. Fishing the right spot was key. Good walleye fishing was walloped at Lambertville, and also at Lumberville, on the river. A great number of walleyes bit in Schuylkill River near the art museum. See the report on the store’s website for more details.


Delaware River’s walleye fishing hadn’t been so great, but the fish seemed to start biting again, because of rain and cooler weather, said Alex from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Not a lot of customers fished for them, and most customers waited for the opening of trout season this coming Saturday. Big Flatbrook, where most of them fish for trout, ran a little high but clear. Wasn’t a bad level for fishing. Most lakes where customers fish were closed for trout stocking until the opener Saturday. Six inches of snow fell locally Sunday night, and most melted now.

Many customers were gearing up for Saturday’s opening of trout season, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Streams might be high for the opener, including because of rain that’s forecast. Weather’s been rough, including 3 inches of snow that fell but melted by mid-day Monday. Lake anglers are nabbing perch and crappies, cold-water fish, especially at Lake Hopatcong off Landing and Jefferson. One kid lit into them well at Hopatcong on Crappie Magnets under bobbers that he trolled very slowly. Don tried for perch at Butler Reservoir during the weekend, thoroughly walking the shoreline on a couple of trips. None bit, and he spoke with a kid at the impoundment who said none bit for him either. That was apparently because of cold water, and Don usually bails them there. An outdoor writer stopped in a couple of days ago who was headed to fish for shad on Delaware River, saying the fish migrated as far upstream as just below Interstate 80 Bridge. He was going to begin angling there and work his way downstream. He said a large population is swimming the river, but not all are biting yet in cold water. The population seemed huge and larger than in the past couple of years. He expects a good year of the angling.  

A few smallmouth bass and walleyes were heard about from Delaware River at Belvidere on Rapala X-Raps, probably on Saturday, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. That was the best weather, before Sunday night’s snowstorm and pouring rain yesterday that kept most from fishing. A few shad began to be hooked from the river at Belvidere just before the storm. The migration seemed to reach at least there. Previously, a few were fought farther downstream at Riegelsville. Customers will fish for trout when trout season opens Saturday. A buddy plugged and released a half-dozen trout on Pequest River on Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows before the storm. That was at the Trout Conservation Area near the hatchery, and catch-and-release fishing with artificials is allowed at TCA’s before opening day.

Crappies, perch and pickerel, quite a few, were winged from the lake’s shallows, said Joe from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Fathead minnows under a bobber, Rufus Jr. lures under a bobber, Mini-Mite jigs under a bobber and Rapala Husky Jerks clocked them. Small jigs like the Mini-Mites under a bobber could be worked slowly in the cool water. This was about all that was happening, besides snow and rain! he said. Anglers dealt with weather.

Before the snowstorm at the beginning of the week, bass and pickerel were clutched from Lake Hopatcong, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Bass tournaments were reportedly canceled for the lake for this coming weekend, because of high water that was only an inch below the dam, a no-wake situation. Trout season will open Saturday. “We’re ready,” Cheryl said about bait and supplies for the angling.

Ocean County College Pond began to toss up bluegills, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. The shop’s name was changed and previously was Murphy’s Hook House. Chain pickerel hit in the Toms River at Trilco, the closed building supply. No sign identifies that building, but locals know the stretch of river by that name, located near Garden State Parkway. A few yellow perch nibbled at lakes. Carp began to stir around in rivers or lakes, but were yet to bite much. Customers geared up for the opening of trout season Saturday. They fish for trout at spots including the Toms, Manasquan and Metedeconk rivers, Lake Shenandoah and Spring Lake. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

From <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown, customers were all landing striped bass from Delaware River, Jason said. They caught up and down the local river, from Elsinboro to the DOD and Beach Hill Road at National Park. Lots and lots of the fish were throwback-sized, but up to 36- and 38-inchers were reported. Fishing for stripers is currently closed on the Delaware from Salem River to Trenton for spawning, but anglers release them. Certain types of circle hooks are required for the angling, so look up the regulations. Elsinboro is just downstream from Salem River. Mostly bloodworms were fished for the bass, but so were lugworms. The shop is carrying both, and will carry clams and bunker when water warms. Lakes that customers usually fish were closed to angling for trout stocking, but will open Saturday, opening day of trout season. Customers fish for trout including at Greenwich, Harrisonville and Swedesboro lakes.

Largemouth bass fishing was slow at lakes, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Too cold? he was asked. Too cold, windy and rainy, and too much snow! he laughed. But no snow, only rain, fell in the storm Sunday night to Monday, though snow was forecast.  Somewhat warmer weather is forecast for next week. “So we’re hoping for something better,” he said. A few customers fished for striped bass on Delaware River. They caught, on bloodworms, but throwback-sized outnumbered keeper-sized. A couple of keeper-sized were heard about. Striper fishing is closed on the river from Salem to Trenton this time of year. But anglers release them and use certain circle hooks that are legally required. Trout season will open Saturday. Possible snow is forecast for the day, Steve noted. Ha.

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