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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 6-20-18

Delaware River’s shad fishing was finished for the season, pretty much, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. A few were caught, but shad that died after spawning were floating in the water. On streams like Big Flatbrook, trout hit blue-winged olives, sulfurs and tan caddis. The bugs all seemed small. Largemouth bass were no longer limited to catch-and-release starting Saturday. That’s essentially the opening of largemouth season. But nothing was really heard about fishing for them yet. The fish are required to be released for spawning from April 15 through June 15.

Six walleyes 2 ½ to 6 pounds were plugged on a trip with two anglers on Lake Hopatcong Saturday night aboard, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale. That was one of his trips that each year about this time cast lures to the fish in the dark, when walleyes swim to shallows to forage on spawning herring. The trip’s anglers cast Rapala Original Floating Minnow lures in size 18, the largest size, and one of the anglers caught all six. One of the walleyes bit when the angler stopped reeling at the end of the cast and let the lure float up and sit still near the boat. Dave tells anglers to do that, because sometimes walleyes smash a plug then. The trip fished until 5:30 a.m. Sunday. The trips are interesting, an experience, and walleyes are big fish. They’re also tasty, a member of the perch family, and the anglers kept four, releasing two. After the anglers left, Dave headed back onto the lake to troll for muskies. Something ripped a reel drag out, and when Dave lifted the rod, nothing was there. But he thought that could’ve been a musky, because no bottom-structure seemed around that would’ve hung up the lure. When Dave left, traffic was building on the lake. He got off just in time, he said, and that’s an advantage of nighttime fishing on a weekend: it avoids recreational-boat and jet-ski traffic on lakes like this. Trips aboard will keep fishing for walleyes at night, and Dave’s caught them until the water has reached 80 degrees. The lake was 71 to 72 degrees on the trip. He’s caught as late as July 15, when a trip on that date landed more than 20 with him.

Trout fishing was okay on streams, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Weather was a little hot last week, slowing the angling. But weather is somewhat cooler this week, and some evenings should fish well for trout. Evenings are cooler, and if rain falls, that’s even better. Rain will make the air and water cooler, and will also flush terrestrials into streams that can trigger trout to feed. Sulfurs are hatching in evenings, so sulfur dry flies or wet flies, namely soft-hackles, could catch. Delaware River was low and full of dead shad that spawned. A regular customer said that happens every year for two or three weeks. The dead fish need to get purged from the river for good fishing. Hybrid striped bass fishing picked up on Lake Hopatcong at drop-offs like off points. Walk-the-dog types of lures like Zara Spooks connected. So did Spit’n Images. Livelined herring caught, too, of course. The fish are foraging on spawning herring, and those lures are imitating them. Largemouth bass fishing at lakes is “picking them slow,” he said. But the bass are around, and he fished twice on a private lake and saw plenty. Anglers are using Senko rubber worms and Keitech paddle-tails to hook the bass. Chatter baits are popular this time of year, when the lures can be fished over submerged weed beds, before lakes become too weedy.

A customer landed 27 trout on Passaic River in a couple of hours, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. On Delaware River, striped bass fishing was good. Most anglers fished live herring or shiners for them, but some threw stick baits or top-water lures like Zara Spooks or Livingston Walk N Pop 67’s. Keith wasn’t asked where, but in previous reports named locations including Belvidere. Largemouth bass fishing was good at lakes like Oxford and Mountain. Weeds began to grow, so largemouth anglers began to fish weedless lures like Spro frogs or Livingston Freddy B frogs. Hybrid striped bass fishing got mixed reviews at Spruce Run Reservoir. Some anglers said they didn’t catch them. But when anglers hooked the hybrids, that was on live herring or shiners. Many customers bought the bait to head for the fishing over the weekend. Merrill Creek Reservoir gave up good lake trout fishing, mostly 30 feet down in deep water, even 100 feet deep. That was on livelined herring, too.

Jim Welsh fished live herring on the lake and caught a variety of fish, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. The catches included several 3- to 4-pound chain pickerel, some 3-pound walleyes, a hybrid striped bass heavier than 8 pounds, several smaller hybrids and some crappies and white and yellow perch. Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass bit in the lake. Knee Deep Club will hold a bass tournament Sunday and a hybrid tournament July 14 and 15 on the lake. The hybrid tournament will be in memory of Dominic Sarinelli.

Some largemouth bass were tied into at Lake Hopatcong, said Larry from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Anglers often fished for largemouths with Keitechs, Senko worms or other soft-plastic lures at lakes. Top-water lures surely caught by this time of season in the heat. Passaic River ran a little low but produced catfish and largemouths. In saltwater, fluke fishing seemed to pick up. He limited out on fluke this week on a trip that fished at Reach Channel and off Sandy Hook. The boat caught well. Striped bass seemed mostly to migrate north in saltwater. A few were trolled. More and more bluefish appeared in the salt.

Fishing for largemouth bass picked up on lakes, actually, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Small jerk shads like 1 ½ to 2 inches on small jigheads like 1/8 ounce socked them. Senko rubber worms, spinner baits, rubber frogs, shiners and killies worked, too. Shiners and killies usually always work, and hook other catches, too, like chain pickerel. A few smallmouth bass were reported from Manasquan Reservoir. Virginia’s son reeled one in. Another angler picked up a couple. Largemouth tournaments are beginning on the reservoir for the season. Customers fished lakes or ponds like Ocean County College Pond and Lester’s Lake, across from Ocean County Mall, for a variety of catches. The college pond harbors fish including crappies, a few largemouth bass, yellow perch and sunnies. That’s a good place to take kids for catches like sunnies. Lester’s Lake holds nearly all species except crappies. The lower Lake Riviera fished better than the upper. White perch were nabbed in the Toms River at Trilco. The shop is carrying no bloodworms, a favorite bait for the perch. But the store is stocking nigtcrawlers that will also hook them.

Not much was heard about freshwater fishing, said Jason at <b>STC Sports</b> in Gibbstown. Customers bought lots of minnows like for crappie fishing at lakes. But they were headed out for the fishing, were yet to know how the angling would be. Small striped bass were played on Delaware River at Gloucester City Marina on chunks of bunker. More was heard about summer flounder fishing in saltwater. That angling sounded okay on back bays. Nothing was heard about flounder from Delaware Bay.

Freshwater fishing was outstanding, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Wilson and Harrisonville lakes and Clark’s Pond gave up “large numbers of fish.” At Wilson, one customer put up two largemouth bass and two chain pickerel in a trip, and another kayaked two largemouths and four crappies. At Harrisonville, one angler pulled in three largemouths to 3 pounds on a Senko worm. At Clark’s Pond, someone else scored four largemouths to 4 pounds on spinner baits. A 5-1/2-pound largemouth came from Iona Lake on a 6-inch Culprit worm in Pumpkinseed. An angler who fished Daretown Lake said the northern end fished great. That customer tugged two largemouths to 4 ½ pounds from the lake on a LiveTarget sunfish lure.

A largemouth bass tournament fished well at Union Lake on Sunday, Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland guessed, he said. Quite a few largemouths were lit into. Largemouthing was pretty decent at lakes this past week. Parvin Lake fished fairly well for them. The angling sounded good from Elmer Lake in the past week or so. Fishing for largemouths with rubber frogs turned on in warmer weather. Little was heard about chain pickerel, and pickerel seemed sluggish. In saltwater, Delaware Bay’s summer flounder fishing kicked in and was good. That was good to see, and a few weakfish were mixed in. Steve knew about many who fished from Fortescue who reported good catches of flounder. Lots of minnows were sold for flounder bait. Anglers sometimes tipped Gulp baits with minnows. The shop’s supplier had no problem providing minnows. The baitfish had been scarce at stores along the shore last week. Plenty of flounder swam back bays, too.

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