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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 7-25-18

Stormy, windy weather this week kept news scarce, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston.  Before the rain, smallmouth bass were angled from Delaware River, often on rubber worms like Senkos, sometimes on Pop-R’s. Those popper lures were fished in slow water, where fish could detect the commotion along the river’s surface. The rain might’ve raised the river, but Andy was yet to see the level. He was yet to see Big Flatbrook, too. A few diehards fish for trout on the river this time of year. The stream is usually low this season, so they work the pools or holes where trout gather during skinny water. On lakes, largemouth bass fishing seemed slow in the heat before the rain. Much fishing seemed slower than before because of heat.

 Two muskies were trolled and released in two trips last Wednesday and Friday on a lake aboard, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from <b>Live to Fish Guide Service</b> from Montvale. One was landed on each trip, and Dave fished solo on the first outing. He began fishing late, around 11 a.m., and hooked the 48- to 49-incher within 15 minutes of starting. That was the only bite on the trip, not uncommon in musky fishing. On the second trip, he fished with friend and outdoor writer Lou Martinez on Lou’s birthday. Wind blew Dave’s hat onto the water, so he circled the boat around to pick it up. He retrieved the hat, goosed the engine a little to pick up speed, and the musky bit. The change in r.p.m.’s might’ve triggered the bite. That was a 40-incher and also the only musky caught on the outing. Dave wasn’t asked whether other fish were hooked aboard that day. But he was happy with two muskies in two trips. After Friday, rough weather began and continued, keeping him from fishing. Some forecasts called for 10 days of this. Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt, a tournament bass angler who runs the club Northeast Bassmasters, placed third in the club’s tournament Thursday on Lake Hopatcong. The first-place weight was 17 pounds for four largemouths and a smallmouth bass. That’s a good weight for summer. Springtime tends to produce the heaviest weights, because of females with eggs. Second-place was 16 pounds, and Paul and his fishing partner’s weight was 14 pounds to win third. Paul seemed happy with the win, according to Dave, and Paul doesn’t always place. He’s busy running the events. These weights suggested that some of the entrants had good bass fishing. The club’s next tournaments are set for Thursday and Saturday on Greenwood Lake.

Fly-fishing for trout wasn’t great, the last Brian from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna heard, he said. Streams ran low, though rain probably raised them currently. He guessed trout anglers plucked a few during the low water, from pools that the fish would seek. All different flies seemed to catch, from Hendricksons to isonychias, depending on the hatch anglers saw in a trip. Anglers had been fishing for largemouth bass at lakes, catching on Keitechs, Senkos and sometimes top-water lures. Customers fish for the bass at Lake Hopatcong and various smaller, local lakes and ponds. Hopatcong had been low, but this rain would probably raise the lake. Nothing had been heard about hybrid striped bass or walleyes from Hopatcong, maybe because of the low water. Smallmouth bass had been reeled from Delaware River on crawfish or hellgrammite flies or lures or the naturals. Rain might’ve raised the river, and might’ve affected all of this fishing mentioned. That’s why it’s all written about in past tense with the word “had.” The fish had been caught, and anglers will see if this long stretch of stormy weather affects them.

Customers bought herring to liveline for hybrid striped bass at Spruce Run Reservoir on Saturday, but not on Sunday, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. Thunderstorms rolled through on Sunday. Anglers might fish in wind or rain but not lightening. Until then, the hybrid fishing was great. That was mostly in the dark, like very early in the morning, he said in last week’s report. Delaware River now ran high because of rain, but the river’s anglers whacked smallmouth bass previously, especially on hellgrammites the store stocks, also on crawfish the shop carries. The hellgrammites fish best and are tough as leather. Six fish could be caught on one.

Good-sized hybrid striped bass won the Knee Deep Club’s tournament for the fish two weekends ago on the lake, Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email last week. The winning fish, the six largest hybrids, weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces to 9 pounds 8 ounces. The anglers with the top three won cash, and those in fourth to sixth places won $20 gift certificates from Jefferson Diner. Catches from the lake that weekend also included walleyes 6 pounds 3 ounces and 5 pounds 7 ounces, and a 4-pound 4-ounce pickerel.

Passaic River was muddy, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. Before the rain, catches included smallmouth bass from the river and largemouth bass from Lake Hopatcong. Weather wasn’t conducive for fishing this week, but lots of anglers bought gear. They wanted to fish. Rain would fell, then the sun would come out 10 minutes, then rain would fall again. Wind also kept saltwater fishing from heading out sometimes, too.

Some good catches of largemouth bass were reported this week, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. About a 4-pounder was axed at Lake Shenandoah, and a couple of others about 4 pounds apiece came from Lake Riviera. Live bait seemed to be fished more than lures for largemouths, maybe because vegetation in lakes fouled lures. Killies and nightcrawlers were often bought. That didn’t mean lures couldn’t be fished. Some anglers only fish with the artificials. Popular artificials include soft-plastic lures rigged weedless on lead jigheads and Senko rubber worms rigged weedless. Zoom lizards were a popular plastic. Sunfish bit at nearly any lake, like Lester’s. Ocean County College Pond was a popular spot to fish this week. The pond was somewhat high and would probably become higher in the rain. Pickerel and yellow perch were yanked from the Toms River at Trilco. Anglers fished Winding River that holds almost all species. Crappies were the only fish Virginia didn’t hear about from there, so she was unsure whether any of those swam the water. Nothing was heard about Manasquan Reservoir, apparently because most customers fish there with kayaks or small boats with electric motors, and wind blew too strongly for that. Catfishing was good at night at waters that held them. Baits like dead killies or dead shiners could tie into them. Some anglers let baits like that sit out overnight to let them deteriorate. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Weather made fishing slow, Mike from <b>Creek Road Bait & Tackle</b> in Brooklawn wrote in an email. He seemed to mean weather kept many from fishing. But sizable, 3-pound largemouth bass were sometimes clocked from local waters, like at Knight Park Playground, Newton Creek and Haddon Lake. Large shiners and red Culprit rubber worms nailed them. Delaware River’s catfishing was great on bunker and mackerel.

Fishing was terrific last week, and Wilson, Malaga and Iona Lake and Oak Pond were hot spots, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> from Williamstown’s Facebook page. At Wilson, the back of the lake is the place to fish when temperatures rise, kayakers reported to the shop. Fishing at any lakes or ponds could be best in early mornings, before the heat. That’s the time to fish this time of year. Also at Wilson, an angler picked up two largemouth bass to 3 pounds and good-sized pickerel on a Live Target frog. At Malaga Lake, a five-year-old tangled with more than a dozen bluegills on neon nightcrawlers. In saltwater last week, fishing for summer flounder was in full swing at ocean reefs, when conditions were right. Back bays still gave up flounder from deeper water. A few flounder were eased from the surf, closer to inlets. Fish bucktails with Gulps. Shark fishing could be productive in the surf in evenings. Aqua Clear makes a surf shark rig that was stocked. Crabbing was excellent.

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