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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 6-27-18

Delaware River’s smallmouth bass fishing was improving, though the river ran somewhat low for the angling, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Were fewer dead shad floating down the river than before, after spawning? “Yeah. That’s going on, too,” he said. Big Flatbrook ran very low, though trout fishing was good there. Because of the low water, small flies including midges and small sulfurs were fished. At lakes, water warmed a little, so largemouth bass fishing was picking up. Customers fished for the bass including with shallow-swimming crank baits, spinner baits and, of course, plastics.  

A couple who trout fished earlier this spring took a nighttime trip for walleyes Saturday on Lake Hopatcong with Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale, he said. They nailed six walleyes to 6 ½ pounds on cast Rapala Original Floating Minnows in size 18, the largest. The anglers seemed happy. These are trips that plug for the catches in the dark, when walleyes move to shallows to forage on spawning herring and can be hooked on cast lures. Walleyes are big and wallop the lures, and are good-tasting. The anglers kept four and released two. The middle of the night can fish best, and the anglers fished from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The trips are an adventure and interesting. When the anglers left, Dave headed back onto the lake until daylight, and hooked no more walleyes. Then a friend, outdoor writer Lou Martinez, joined him to troll for muskies on the lake in the morning, before boat traffic built. They whacked and released two: a 47-incher and a 45-incher, each probably 25 to 30 pounds. That was on jointed Pounder lures from Livingston Lures. Nighttime and weekdays, when recreational boat traffic diminishes, can fish best on lakes like this with heavy recreational use. Dave also fished for muskies solo on a trip afterward on Hopatcong, and hooked none. The fish of 10,000 casts eats when it wants. The lake was 72 to 74 degrees, and is usually 80 degrees this time of year. In other news, Dave’s friend and tournament bass angler Paul Schmidt’s club the Northeast Bassmasters held a tournament Thursday on Hopatcong. The winning five-bass bag, all largemouths, weighed about 16 pounds, and the lunkers were two largemouths that weighed more than 5 pounds apiece. The entrants fished a variety of tackle, all kinds, including spinner baits, Senkos and chatter baits, Dave heard. Winning bags are usually heavier earlier in spring, like up to 18 pounds, when females have eggs. The fishing in the contest was reportedly tough for Paul himself, and he only landed small. The club’s next tournament will be held on Greenwood Lake this Thursday.

Trout fishing on streams might be about finished after this week, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. Weather was warming, and many trout anglers avoid the fishing in the heat, too, because the cold-water fish can die during the fight in the warmth. But forecasts looked like mornings and evenings might not be bad this week. Sulfurs are the hatch this time of year, but beetles and ants can work in early mornings, especially after a storm. The rain washes the terrestrials into the water, and gives a stream a shot of fresh H20. Kevin and friends fished for largemouth bass at private ponds, catching on Keitechs. Kevin also scored on Slug-Gos. The bass seemed to be ending spawning. Some anglers hit largemouths on top-water lures. Weather was warming enough for that. Frogs like a Spro or a Scum Frog can be cool lures for that. Northern pike were wrestled from Budd Lake on Kastmasters and Phoebes. Hybrid striped bass and walleyes were picked at Lake Hopatcong, mostly at night. Mostly live herring were fished for them, but when anglers threw lures, they tossed top-waters like Zara Spooks in chrome and black in the dark and Spit’n Images. Some anglers fish for them during hours like 12 midnight to 3 a.m. Those hardcore anglers often tie into consistent catches. Sometimes a flurry of catches erupts at daybreak. The hybrids and walleyes are big fish. They’re something.

Some customers still fished for trout on Pequest and Musconetcong rivers, casting salmon eggs or baby nightcrawlers, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Four-pound line might’ve been best to fish, instead of 6, because of lower water. The water had been high all season and quickly dropped. Some customers began to fish for flathead catfish on Delaware River in the area of Phillipsburg and Easton. They began to catch. But a bunch scored well on smallmouth bass on the river. They bought crawfish and hellgrammites for the fishing that are usually stocked at the shop. Or they fished top-waters like Zara Spooks or Rebel Pop-R’s. At Spruce Run Reservoir, hybrid striped bass fishing was hit and miss. Sometimes anglers fished for 3 hours, and suddenly the hybrids fed on top. Then the anglers caught. Mornings and nighttime, in the dark, fished best. Catches died during daytime. Live herring definitely caught best. The shop had customers who lit into a few northern pike at Spruce, including on white-and-chartreuse, ½-ounce spinner baits. Largemouth bass fishing began to be good at Lake Hopatcong. All kinds of plastics worked. Senkos connected well. Beavers hooked up. Chatter baits still caught. And so on.

Several sizable largemouth bass were known to be reeled from the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. A couple of smallmouths were weighed-in: John Moran’s 3-pound 7-ouncer and Max Hughen’s 3-pound 4-ouncer. Yellow perch and crappies were angled on the lake. Codey Youkon pulled a 6-pound walleye from Great Cove on a Keitech worm. Knee Deep Club will hold a bass tournament Sunday on the lake, and the shop will be open at 5 a.m. that day, instead of the usual 5:30 a.m. Entry is open until 8 a.m.

Passaic River’s northern pike fishing was really good, said Joe from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. The water level was down, so the pike could be found in holes or pools. They weren’t spread out like when the river is flooded. Good largemouth bass fishing was reported from the Ramapo Reservation and Verona Park. Greenwood Lake gave up largemouths and muskies. Walleyes were reported hooked at Lake Hopatcong.

Largemouth bass fishing was generally good at lakes, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. First thing in mornings or evenings into dark fished best. Senko rubber worms caught, including in lily pads where the worms could be rigged weedless. But the worms also drew strikes when wacky-rigged. Spinner baits hooked-up. Small, 3- or 4-inch rubber shads worked well on small jigheads. Pickerel also attacked the jigs, though they could bite the shads up. A bass tournament was held at Manasquan Reservoir last weekend, and the fishing seemed to go well, including on jigs, spinner baits and rubber frogs. Some good largemouth fishing came from Forge Pond. Fishing for crappies was good at Ocean County College Pond in evenings. Bits of worms or small killies under a bobber can beat them. Some crappies chewed in Lake Riviera’s lower lake. Lake Carasaljo was a place to fish for a variety of species including yellow perch, crappies and largemouth bass. Lester’s Lake still held a good amount of water, after the lake was very shallow last year. Nothing was heard about trout, including from Spring Lake, where trouting was good much of the year. Big carp began to be eased from Spring Lake. Channel catfish chomped there. White perch were picked from the Toms River at Trilco. Small striped bass 12 to 14 inches showed up there. Big yellow perch can be found between Trilco and Huddy Park on the Toms this time of year. Fish a worm or a dead killie along bottom. Sometimes Virginia smooshes the killie. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Anglers fishing for largemouth bass really caught on Keitech Crazy Flappers, said Mike from <b>Creek Road Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn. The legs make a trail through the water. Customers who bought shiners at the shop also pounded largemouths well. Places where the bass fishing produced included Haddon Lake, Newton Creek and Greenwich Lake. Catfishing was picking up on chicken livers. Anglers from the shop hunted them at Big Timber, Little Timber and Rancocas creeks. Catfishing was okay on Delaware River. One angler who catfished there tied into a sturgeon. Those are required to be released. Fishing for snakeheads, the invasive species, and bowfins, a native but similar-looking fish, began to turn on at creeks off Delaware River. Shiners clocked them, too.

Fishing was excellent last week at local lakes and ponds, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. A 5.1-pound largemouth bass was socked at Bell’s Lake. Javier and Nathan Cruet from Sicklerville totaled eight largemouths to 3 pounds at Atsion Lake on Yamamoto worms in black with silver flake. Someone pasted six largemouths to 4 pounds at Daretown Lake. Another angler landed largemouths to 2 ½ pounds at Iona Lake on chatter baits. Another pasted two largemouths and eight pickerel at Wilson Lake on minnows.

Largemouth bass were reeled in, but the fishing was a little tough, because this was getting into that summertime period when they’re harder to catch, said Vinny from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. They were hooked on anything finesse and fished slowly, like Senko worms or Power worms. Largemouths were still caught on “reaction” strikes, but most anglers slowed presentations. No specific lakes were heard about that fished well for the bass. But Salem Canal was reported to fish tough for them, because of low water. Fishing for sunnies and bluegills is good in the heat at lakes, absolutely. Vinny would just fish nightcrawlers on bobbers for them. In saltwater, lots of summer flounder were reported from Delaware Bay. That was good to hear after difficult fishing for them sometimes in recent years. A few flounder were still bagged from back bays. A few healthy-sized were decked at ocean reefs, and that fishing wasn’t great yet.

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