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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 7-18-18

The water ran low, but lots of smallmouth bass were socked from Delaware River, including on Pop-Rs and swim baits, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Big channel catfish began to be heaved from the river. Most of Big Flatbrook was a trickle. But pools were dotted along the stream, with lots of trout in them. The trout bit tiny flies if anything. Most customers who trout fish work the Flatbrook. Many anglers avoid trout until water cools, because the fight can kill the fish in the high temperatures. At lakes, largemouth bass fishing slowed compared with before. The bass seemed to go on a feed after spawning this spring. Now the bass seemed more difficult to hook. Many anglers who fished for them used Jersey-rigged rubber worms including Senkos. Tackle like this that could be fished slowly was popular. Top-water lures like Jitterbugs or Hula Poppers also worked.

Plugging for walleyes at night on lakes might be finished for the year with <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale, Capt. Dave Vollenweider wrote in an email. He said previously that the fishing usually lasts until mid-July. He guided two trips for the angling Thursday and Friday nights. He didn’t name the location, but Lake Hopatcong seemed likely, because that’s where he ran the trips previously. On the trip Wednesday, two small walleyes were boated, and two fish were missed. One that was missed seemed a musky, because the fish exploded in a huge splash at boat-side. The other miss, a big boil at the boat, seemed a walleye. The water was 78 degrees on the trip. That’s warm, but conditions appeared perfect. Baitfish splashed, and fish were heard feeding on them. Walleyes swim to shallows, where they can be hooked on cast plugs, good sport, at night in early summer to forage on spawning herring, apparently the baitfish that splashed. Thursday’s trip only boated a few walleyes, but they were sizable, up to 6 pounds. The water was 80 degrees that night.

Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna picked small largemouth bass at Cranberry Lake on Senko worms a couple of evenings this week, he said. Delaware River ran low, but he heard about striped bass to 28 inches played from the river, just downstream from Delaware Water Gap, on small crank baits and bucktails in evenings and just after dark. A sales rep said flathead catfishing was heating up on the river. A friend talked about fishing for snakeheads, the invasive species, that anglers did at tributaries of the Delaware around Trenton. Someone else mentioned snakehead fishing somewhere near the shore. Kevin previously didn’t usually hear about snakeheads. Trout fishing was pretty much not happening at streams because of warm water. Waters from lakes to streams warmed quickly.

It’s the doldrums of summer, and the cooler and cloudier the day, the better the fishing, usually, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. But there were catches, and Spruce Run Reservoir might’ve fished best locally. Hybrid striped bass were whacked on livelined herring at Spruce, mostly in the dark, like very early in morning. A customer’s trip at Spruce the other day smoked crappies, a stringer of maybe 20, a great catch of big, on small, 3-inch Gulp worms on small, white jigheads. The trip also pulled in bullhead and channel catfish. This was during daytime, on one of the hot days no less. Largemouth bass fishing could be good at nearly any lake that harbors them. Mountain Lake fished a little better than Oxford Lake for largemouths. Five-inch Senko worms were often fished at Mountain in colors like green-pumpkin, watermelon or black and blue. Top-water lures hooked largemouths in mornings and evenings. Top-water Whopper Ploppers in the small size, size 90, caught. Not a lot was reported from Delaware River. A few customers headed to the river for catfish and striped bass. The catfish were angled, not crushed. A customer nailed smallmouth bass on the river farther north toward Delaware Water Gap on a top-water plug from Yamamoto that looks like a Zara Spook. That was in a bluish-silver color, and the angler bought two then returned for four more. Trout were actually still angled on Pequest and Musconetcong rivers at holes. The rivers ran so low, so the fish gathered at holes.

Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook visited ICAST in Orlando last week, she said. That’s the annual International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades that’s known for tackle manufacturers introducing new tackle at the event. She saw lots of interesting new tackle, like St. Croix’s kayak rod, a short pole. But she hadn’t heard a lot about fishing, because she was away. The store’s bass tackle kept getting bought. So bass fishing, both for largemouths and smallmouths, seemed popular. Largemouths seemed able to be caught at any lake not pressured that held them. Smallmouths were tied into including on Delaware River and Swartswood Lake. Larry from the shop told her carp and catfish were reported from Passaic River. Cheryl hadn’t noticed how the river flowed near the store, like whether it was low. Stormy weather yesterday probably made the flow race at the moment.

One angler talked about pasting largemouth bass at Lester’s Lake on spinner baits that were skirted beside weeds along the water surface, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. That wasn’t during low-light hours like morning or dusk that can be popular in summer. It was in early afternoon, and the angler stopped in during the afternoon to buy more tackle to return to the fishing. Largemouths were sometimes angled at Ocean County College Pond, and much of the lake was free of weeds that can choke other waters. That enabled lures to be chucked for the fish. Plenty of trails give access to the pond that anglers can use. Most anglers congregate at one spot near the parking lot. Catfish bit at night in the pond. A customer was landing cats and sometimes crappies at Spring Lake. Virginia heard about no trout from Spring Lake by this time of year. Bass tournaments were being held at Manasquan Reservoir. Some good catches of largemouths were made there, and smallmouth bass were also grabbed from the impoundment. Largemouths and pickerel were hooked along the reservoir’s rock edges. Mostly jigs were fished for the reservoir’s largemouths. Senko worms and spinner baits were also tossed. Slow-moving lures like the jigs or worms fished along bottom are popular this season. Sometimes the fish seem to hug bottom to lounge in cooler water. Someone plucked white perch from the Toms River at Trilco on nightcrawlers and Fishbites artificial worms. If anglers could catch grass shrimp, that would be best bait for the perch. Artificial worms and grass shrimp from the company Bonafide could also work. The shop stocks no bloodworms or sandworms this season that are popular bait for white perch. Demand is low. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Fishing was actually picking up, even in the heat, Mike from <b>Creek Road Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn wrote in an email. Largemouth bass were biting in Haddon Lake, Newton Creek, Greenwich Lake and Pennypacker Park. Live shiners hooked them best, but for anglers fishing lures, Keitech swim baits on jigs worked great. Not much success was reported on finesse baits. Largemouthing with top-water lures was slower than before, but Hula Poppers were a top-water that caught. Crappie fishing was super on Delaware River. Bloodworms or Bonafide artificial bloods lit into them. So did Cubby Mini-Mite Jigs. Catfishing was good on the Delaware and tributaries on chicken livers, bunker or mackerel. In saltwater, back bays were becoming warm but still produced summer flounder. The ocean teemed with life including the fluke and sea bass. The keeper ratio was low, but keepers were had on most trips, and throwbacks gave up good action. Rigs with a bucktail and a teaser landed most. Gulps and silversides were fished on the rigs.

At first, Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland said not much happened with fishing in the summer weather. Then he reported some good fishing. A two-day largemouth bass tournament fished well at Salem Canal last weekend. Some good-sized were entered, and catches were pretty solid. Union Lake fished terrific for bass, mostly largemouths, this week. Union also holds smallmouth bass. Good reports rolled in from South Vineland Park Pond about largemouthing. For largemouths, drop-shots, Yamamoto rubber worms and jigs were popular. Bluegill fishing was good at lakes on nightcrawlers under bobbers. Little was heard about crappies. In saltwater, summer flounder fishing seemed to pick up a little at ocean reefs. It seemed to pick up a little on Delaware Bay, too. Flounder fishing on back bays was a little spotty, or the throwback ratio was getting high. Kingfish and triggerfish were heard about from the surf sometimes. Triggers hug jetties in the surf.

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