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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 5-9-18

<b>NEW YORK</b>

<b>Salmon River</b>

Salmon River’s steelhead fishing became outstanding in the past week, said Jay Peck from <b>Jay Peck Guide Service</b>. Weather warmed, pushing the water up to the 40 degrees, and that’s why. The water and weather were unseasonably cold before. Rain did fall, causing the river to run high at 2,200 cubic feet per second for two days. That now dropped to 1,500, still high. The river will probably become lower because of forecasts for a fairly dry week. If so, that will only amp up the angling, raising the water temperature into the 50s, ending spawning, making steelheads hungry. That’s if no snow falls, and Jay’s not ruling out snow yet. Spawning’s been happening for weeks, and was drawn out a longer time than usual because of cold water. Steelheads are wrapping up spawning and dropping back to Lake Ontario to spend summer. The fish are swimming the river from one end to the other. Jay expects great steelheading another week, and good fishing for them for two weeks afterward. The best of the fishing is yet to happen. The steelheads are swiping all usual flies, aren’t fussy. They’re biting everything, including wooly buggers, egg-sucking leaches and streamers, especially small Intruders. Jay’s trips are often fishing streamers, simply because that’s fun. Winter seems to be turning into spring, finally. The area’s beginning to look a little green. Once steelheads return to the lake, Jay fishes for trout on rivers and streams. Conditions for fishing are improving on those waters. Hendrickson’s are hatching, and blue-winged olives and caddis are beginning to come off. Trout are beginning to home in on bugs like that. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Lots of shad, many big roes, were fought from Delaware River locally, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. The river ran at an ideal level for fishing, and Big Flatbrook, where customers fish for trout, ran at a good level for angling, too. Trout fishing pounded good catches, plenty of trout, on the stream, on both bait and flies. Dry flies caught. Those were mostly Hendricksons and blue-winged olives, and some caddis. At lakes, crappies and largemouth bass, sizable largemouths, were tugged in. Release the bass by law through June 15 for spawning. Customers when fishing lakes mostly worked Lake Owassa and Culver and Swartswood lakes. But not a lot of customers fished lakes, and Memorial Day weekend is when that usually kicks off.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale fished for largemouth bass and crappies on Lake Hopatcong on Saturday with friend and outdoor writer Lou Martinez, Dave said. Largemouthing is good right now, and the bass must be released through June 15 by law for spawning. Crappie fishing is also solid. They fished for the bass first, and Lou nailed a few on a weightless Skip Shad. Dave honked a good-sized and fished Cabin Creek jigs. Some anglers target bass on spawning beds this time of year. Dave and Lou did none of that, and just blind-casted. They saw quite a number of largemouths on beds close to shore. Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt, a tournament bass angler, also pasted largemouths, including a 6-pounder, a 5-pounder and a 4-pounder, at Hopatcong on a pleasure trip, not a tournament, on Thursday. After Dave and Lou fished for largemouths, they got after crappies on the trip. They slammed them at the Venetian Canals off Hopatcong, finding the fish hovering along fallen, submerged trees. Amazing how 10 crappies can gather at one piece of structure like that, Dave said. Other panfish were also angled during that fishing. Crappie fishing will become slower when water becomes warmer. The main lake was 55 to 56 degrees and the coves were 67 on the trip. Coming up, Dave will fish for muskies that should almost be finished spawning, and will fish for walleyes. Walleyes were hooked at Hopatcong at night, he knew. Dave runs unique trips that cast top-water lures at night for walleyes in spring and part of summer. Walleyes push into shallows at night this season to forage on spawning herring, and can be top-water plugged then. At Greenwood Lake, the fishing seems best in late May into June and sometimes July.

Trout streams flowed a little high, but the trout were caught, said Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Pink Gulp worms were popular with bait anglers. Lure anglers tossed tackle including Phoebes for the trout. Fly anglers who chased trout fished Hendrickson hatches the past couple of weeks, and March browns should come into play soon. At lakes, largemouth bass fishing began to pick up. Release the bass through June 15 for spawning, according to law. Rubber worms like Senkos were popular for the bass. Shad were angled on Delaware River up to Delaware Water Gap if not farther. Customers kept buying shad spoons and darts last week. In saltwater, a mix of striped bass and bluefish seemed to come from the surf, but not a lot. Blues began arriving.

Customers generally talked about how shad fishing was incredible on Delaware River, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Some said they only tied into three in a trip. Others reported whipping 50 on an outing. Trout fishing was good on streams including Pequest River and Pohatcong Creek. One angler weighed-in a 6.2-pounder and a 5.4-pounder from the Pohatcong, banking the fish at two different locations on the creek on PowerBait. PowerBait was mugging trout. Fish including largemouth bass and crappies were pulling into shallow water at lakes. Largemouths are required to be released through June 15 for spawning.

Catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass were all drummed up from Passaic River, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. The river became lower, and was high previously. It could be fished from banks, or access became better for that. The law requires smallmouths and largemouths to be tossed back through June 15 because of spawning. Two bass tournaments were held on Monksville Reservoir during the weekend. Entrants put together some good catches of smallmouths and largemouths. The fish were pretty spread out from one end of the impoundment to the other. Anglers were known to troll for muskies for Greenwood Lake, but no results were heard. Fishing for trout and largemouths was productive at Verona Park Lake. So was trouting at Rockaway and Pequest rivers. Trout anglers often fished according to dates when waters like these were stocked.

Lots of shiners were sold during the weekend at <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River, Dennis said. Chain pickerel fishing whaled the fish on the Toms River on shiners and killies. A fair number of white perch chewed in the Toms on worms. Farther upstream, trout fishing was pretty good at the Trout Conservation Area. A customer picked trout, not knocking them dead, and none of size, but some on Metedeconk River, putting in time to do that. A few anglers talked about fishing the top lake at Lake Riviera from the pier toward the playground. They mostly nabbed crappies and pickerel, and hooked occasional largemouth bass, but the water was cold for the bass. A few bluegills began to bite at Riviera there. Some largemouths came from Prospertown Lake, a shallower, warmer lake. A smorgasbord of different freshwater catches were reeled from there. 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 slowed a little, but not much, said Jason from <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Plus, bigger stripers were more common than before. Small stripers were the common catch earlier in the season. Someone reported catching a spawned-out striper Sunday on the river. That was first that Jason heard about this season. Mostly bloodworms clocked the river’s stripers. A few anglers hooked-up on bunker. Striper fishing is currently closed on the local river for spawning. Anglers release them, and certain circle hooks are required for fishing for the river’s stripers with bait. At lakes, most largemouth bass were spawning. A kid landed a 7-pound largemouth at Greenwich Lake during a tournament Saturday. Jason heard nobody report trout fishing.

Very good fishing was plowed from lakes and ponds, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Largemouth bass, crappies and pickerel were all lit into. The law requires largemouths to be let go through June 15 for spawning. One angler totaled three of the bass at Iona Lake on Swim Senkos. Another laid up a 5-pound 10-ouncer at Union Lake on a spinner bait. A 5-pound 9-ouncer was axed at Wilson Lake on a Super Spook. Two anglers waxed excellent crappie fishing at Wilson Lake on minnows. Delaware River’s striped bass fishing was excellent last week, mostly on bloodworms. Some were taken on bunker. Striper fishing is closed on the Delaware from Salem River to Trenton this time of year for spawning. Anglers release them, and they fish certain circle hooks that are required when fishing bait for the river’s stripers. Surf fishing was spotty for stripers. Fishing for schoolie stripers was good on back bays. A few bluefish were reported from back bays. Weakfish began to appear along the coast. A few small black drum began to be heaved from Delaware Bay last week. 

Largemouth bass are definitely spawning, said Andrew from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. That’s why they’re required to be released through June 15. The fish are in all different phases of spawning, from pre-spawn to post-spawn, so could be found from shallows near shore to the middle of lakes. The bass could be hooked on nearly any usual tackle, from soft-baits that worked terrific to rubber frogs and buzz baits. Crappies still cooperated at lakes, and a few yellow perch continued to bite. Both are cold-water species. Trout fishing still went well at places like Shaws Mill Pond, South Vineland Park and Maurice River. Trout are also cold-water fish. Saltwater fishing was improving. Striped bass began to be hooked more than before, and a few bluefish arrived along the coast, like at back bays. 

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