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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 5-2-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

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

Fishing for steelheads is good on Salmon River and is finished for the season, pretty much, farther west in upstate New York, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. He fishes the western waters -- rivers and streams -- around Rochester like Oak Orchard River. Steelheads spawned in those waters and dropped back to Lake Ontario to spend summer. But cold weather and water is delaying that on Salmon River, and prolonging the fishing there. The Salmon was 40 or 42 degrees, and Sunday’s air temperature was 38 degrees. Snow fell that day, but weather was supposed to become warmer this week. A few steelheads were spawning in the Salmon, and a trickle of spawning happened there the past three weeks. Because of the cold in past weeks, the Salmon’s spawning looks like it’ll be long and drawn out, and is about two weeks late. He expects good fishing for drop-backs into mid-May. This is one of those years when anglers who want to fish for steelheads late in the year, can. Plus, fishing pressure is light this time of year. The Salmon ran at 1,500 cubic feet per second, and Jay suspected the flow will drop. The water will probably become warmer because of warming weather. Although weather is warming, the high air temperature was probably 50 degrees for one minute recently, he said! The angling was better in afternoons, when days were warmest. Plus, more anglers fished in mornings, and they could be avoided in afternoons. Jay’s trips on the Salmon covered lots of water, a “coverage game,” and fished persistently. If anglers did that, the steelheading was decent to good.  He often drift-boated to cover ground. Stoneflies caught well. Wooly buggers and egg-sucking leaches worked. Sometimes streamer flies connected. Once steelheads return to the lake, Jay fishes for trout on streams the rest of spring and in summer. Hendricksons began to hatch on the streams. They hatched on one day and not on another, hit and miss. But bugs began to fly. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Delaware River ran a little high, but quite a few shad were tackled from the river locally, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Roes were in, and the fishing was in full force. Trout fishing was fairly good on streams, and dry flies began to catch sometimes, because of warming weather. Blue duns and Hendricksons were popular. A few blue-winged olives were cast. Big Flatbrook was in excellent condition for fishing. The Flatbrook only takes a day or two to rise and fall because of rain, and the water never really becomes dirty because of the rocky bottom. Most customers who trout fish work the Flatbrook.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale fished for crappies Saturday at a lake with his wife, and they crushed them, he wrote in an email. One after another was hooked at times. They fished jigs, tubes and fathead minnows under rattle bobbers. They released most but kept a few for dinner the next night. The crappies caught included males with jet-black splotches in spawning colors. The main lake was 50 to 51 degrees, and coves were 54 to 60. On Sunday, Dave hosted a couple for trout fishing on a stream. They limited out and released additional, and mostly fished with lures. Dave didn’t say the type of lure but usually uses Rapala Countdowns. At the end of the trip, Dave showed the anglers how to fish PowerBait Mice Tails, and the anglers nailed another four or five trout. The trout really wanted the Mice Tails. The stream was a little high and colored because of rain the previous night, but that seemed not to affect the trout. Weather like that can affect fish in rivers less than fish in lakes.  In spring, Dave guides fishing including for trout with lures on streams, a specialty. The plugs are effective and fun, and can attract large trout. Streams usually run high enough in spring, helping prevent the plugs from fouling on logs and bottom.

Plenty of trout flooded trout streams, said Kevin at <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. That included Big Flatbrook, and not a lot of anglers fished the streams this past week because of cold and rain. Weather became warmer and calmer this week. A few Hendricksons began to hatch on the streams, and more should this week. Shad were fought from Delaware River. The fishing was good, and one customer had just reported landing six just below where Pequest River meets the Delaware at Belvidere. Largemouth bass fishing was slow at lakes in cold water. The bass must be released by law through June 15 for spawning. At Lake Hopatcong, pickerel and walleyes were angled. The walleyes smashed crank baits in shallow, warm water. Fishing should turn on this weekend because of these days of warmth and sun after the cold.

Customers mostly fished for trout, and loaded up on the catches, including big breeders, said Irene from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Customers fish for trout at waters including Pohatcong Creek and Musconetcong and Pequest rivers. They bought PowerBait, salmon eggs and fathead minnows for the angling. Plenty of shad were reeled from Delaware River at Belvidere. In the eighth annual Bi-State Shad Fishing Tournament on the river this past week, the first-place angler won a whopping $20,000 for a 5.942-pounder

Pickerel, lots, were trolled from the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Jake DeSombre clocked a couple on live bait. They weighed 3 pounds apiece, and a few trout were trolled, and the trout fishing should improve because of warming weather this week. Bob Smith landed a 45-inch musky on a small Phoebe while trolling for trout. Lots of crappies were copped from the lake’s shallows. Fish for them with Rufus Juniors, Cubbie Mites or fathead minnows under a bobber. Several crappies were weighed-in, including a 1-pound 9-ouncer. Knee Deep Club will hold a walleye tournament Saturday and Sunday on the lake.

Passaic River subsided some, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook, so fish were hooked from there. Smallmouth bass and a few largemouth bass were picked up. Release both species by law through June 15 for spawning. Carp were also eased from the river, of course, he said. High water had prevented most fishing previously on the river. Good catches of trout were sometimes made at Verona Park Lake and other stocked lakes. Trout were also tugged from stocked rivers including the Rockaway, Ramapo and usual places like the Raritan. Nothing was heard about Lake Hopatcong.

Lots of shiners were sold for fishing last weekend, said Dennis from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Customers fished different waters like the lakes at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, Lake Riviera and, for pickerel, the Toms River. Mostly crappies were angled at lakes, and largemouth bass fishing began to improve a little because of warming water at lakes. The water had been cold. Largemouths must be let go through June 15 by law for spawning.  At Ocean County College Pond, bluegills, sunnies and a few crappies were picked off. That’s a good lake for panfish like bluegills and sunnies. A few trout were plucked from the Toms and Metedeconk rivers, mostly on PowerBait and spinners. Spring Lake kept serving up trout, many of them big. Mostly PowerBait and spinners worked there, too. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Delaware River’s striped bass fishing was crazy, serving up many of the fish, said Jason from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Many were throwback-sized, but some were big, definitely. He saw photos of 40- and 43-inchers. If you stick out the fishing, weeding through throwbacks, you can catch big ones. Most stripers were bloodwormed from the river, and Jason heard about a few, not many, that were bunker-chunked. Clams are also fished for the stripers, but clams are scarce these days. Striper fishing is closed on the Delaware from Salem River to Trenton, but anglers release them. Certain circle hooks are required for fishing bait for stripers on the river. Catches were heard about from up and down the local river to as far upstream as Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Spots where anglers found them included RiverWinds in West Deptford and off Beach Hill Road in National Park. The catches also continued farther downstream, including at Elsinboro. An angler who fished Elsinboro at the bulkhead sent photos of his stripers like every other day. Not much was reported about trout. That angling seemed to quiet down. Largemouth bass were spawning but were hooked. Jason saw photos. The law requires largemouths to be released through June 15 for spawning.

 Fishing for largemouth bass, chain pickerel and trout was good, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Toss back the largemouths, according to law, through June 15 for spawning. Haddon Lake gave up the bass for two customers. One totaled five of the largemouths to 5 pounds there on Keitech Swing Impacts. Another tallied three of the bass to 3 pounds at Haddon on KVD crank baits. At the DOD ponds, another customer caught largemouths to 5 pounds on a Whopper Plopper. For pickerel, Atsion Lake was a good place to fish. An angler there socked six of them to heavier than 7 pounds. That’s big! That angler said Rooster Tails were the way to go and early mornings and just before sunset were best times. Oak Pond delivered eight pickerel to 6 pounds for another angler on Rooster Tails. A trout angler reported nabbing six trout on meal worms and PowerBait, saying the meals caught best. No location was mentioned. Striped bass fishing was good on Delaware River on bloodworms, clams and bunker. Know the regs, because striper fishing is closed on the Delaware from Salem River to Trenton this time of year, and certain circle hooks are required. Anglers release them.  

Freshwater fishing was heating up, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Largemouth bass fishing became great at lakes, and the warmer weather seemed to draw them to shallows, and the fish became aggressive. Soft-plastic baits like Senko worms tied into them well. Soft-plastic lizards definitely came into play. Top-water lures even began to draw strikes at times. A few largemouths began to spawn. The first round started, and largemouths are required to be set free through June 15 because of spawning. A few customers still fished for trout at stocked waters, and actually caught pretty well. Mice Tails and PowerBait were the hot baits. More striped bass catches were reported than before from the shore at Fortescue on Delaware Bay to the upper bay and Delaware River. Bloodworms were the popular bait. Striper fishing is closed on Delaware River from Salem River to Trenton this time of season for spawning, but anglers release them. Certain circle hooks are required. Stripers heard about from the ocean coast were small. No bluefish were known to migrate to local saltwater, for the most part, and they were late, maybe because of cold water this spring. Not much was heard about white perch fishing on brackish rivers lately, though Steve reported plenty of that angling in recent reports here.

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