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New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 7-4-18

Largemouth bass fishing was picking up and was good on lakes, said Andy from <b>Stokes Forest Sport Shop</b> in Sandyston. Customers fish for them including at Lake Ashroe and Lake Ocquittunk in Stokes State Forest and a couple of private lakes. They also fish Swartswood Lake, and largemouth bass and walleyes, both sizable, bit there. Smallmouth bass chomped in Delaware River, though the river ran low. Jointed Rapala lures and top-water lures hooked them. But floating nightcrawlers under a bobber through the fast water was the best way to catch. Smallmouths held in the fast, cool water during this weather that was hot. Big Flatbrook ran low, but trout were angled from the stream, on midges, small sulfurs and small blue-winged olives.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider trolled for muskies solo Friday on Lake Hopatcong, scoring one bite or “rip,” as he says. Something ripped line off the drag. When he picked up the rod, nothing was on, or the fish was off. Afterward, that night on the lake, he took clients on one of the trips that plug for walleyes aboard. None bit – not one – after his previous trips for the walleyes scored the fish with clients, covered in previous reports here. The moon was full, maybe the culprit. The moon was high in the sky, brightening the night. The fish shied away from the light, he guessed. No herring splashed around either. The water seemed dead. Walleyes swim into shallows, where they can be hooked on cast lures, in the dark this time of year to forage on spawning herring. Time should remain for good fishing for them. Dave’s trips have caught the walleyes, double-digits in a trip, as late as July 15. Fishing seemed slow for others Dave knew about during this period. That included for competitors in a tournament Saturday that Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt’s club the Northeast Bass Anglers held on Greenwood Lake. The winning five-bass bag weighed 8 or 9 pounds, Dave thought. So the bass probably weighed 1 to 2 pounds apiece. The club also held a tournament on Thursday on Greenwood. Fifteen pounds won, Dave thought. Since then, in past days, Dave did no fishing in the brutal heat. Spending time in the sun was impractical. The heat is supposed to break this weekend. Dave’s got more fishing scheduled aboard coming up, including for the walleyes at night.  

A few fished for largemouth bass at night at lakes, trying to beat the heat, said Don from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Succasunna. They threw top-water lures like Jitterbugs, saying they caught. Surface lures can be practical to fish no matter the time of day because of vegetation that can foul subsurface lures this time of year. Locals often fished for panfish at ponds and small lakes in the heat. Hybrid striped bass and walleyes bit in Lake Hopatcong, Kevin from the shop told Don. Some anglers avoid trout fishing this time of year, because the cold-water fish can die during the fight because of heat. But a few customers fished Rockaway River for trout. Reportedly, not many anglers did, and the river ran low but not super-low. Someone reported fishing Musconetcong River during the weekend, saying he caught rainbow trout all day and had the river to himself. He cast blue and gold spinners. Don wasn’t asked whether those were blue-and-gold or two different spinners, one blue, one gold.

A customer bailed crappies, big, a mess of them, at Spruce Run Reservoir on Friday and Sunday, said Keith from <b>Hi-Way Sports Shop</b> in Washington. He lit into them in 8 to 10 feet of water off the edge of a flat where stumps were scattered on the flat. That was on small jigs like Road Runners that were cast out, allowed to sink and then reeled back slowly. The angler gave some of the crappies to Keith’s dad to eat, and the fish were all beauties, big. Another customer banked trout from shore at Round Valley Reservoir the last few mornings on size-2, gold Mepps spinners. Keith told him he’d cop more on ¼- or ½-ounce Phoebes. A kid who checked-in big trout in spring landed a 6-pound rainbow trout at Musconetcong River on Sunday on a 1/8-ounce, gold Phoebe. In Delaware River, smallmouth bass hit 4-inch, wacky-rigged Senkos, hellgrammite lures, crawfish lures and live hellgrammites and crawfish. The store usually stocks those baits among other live baits. Catfish were tugged from the Delaware. The river’s striped bass fishing became slower than before locally, but a few were hooked. A few customers fished for them. Largemouth bass fishing was good at Oxford Lake. A customer yesterday morning reported kayaking 13 largemouths at Mountain Lake under docks on 4-inch, green-pumpkin Senkos. Now’s the time to fish for largemouth bass at lakes with top-waters like rubber frogs or rats. Some bigger bass can be taken on them.   

A couple of anglers fished for carp and catfish on Passaic River, said Cheryl from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Pine Brook. The river was neither high nor low. Not a lot of people fished in the week’s heat. Many planned to go today, the Fourth of July. Abundant largemouth bass seemed willing to bite at nearly all lakes that held them. A few customers caught them at Lake Hopatcong on Yamamotos or Keitechs.  Largemouthing was almost all on plastics dunked in the weeds, not on top-waters. The fish were in the weeds, hiding from heat. Some anglers who fished Hopatcong said that if weeds could be found, that’s where to look for the largemouths. Weeds could be scarce because the lake was being rid of them. Customers planned to fish for fluke on the holiday today in saltwater. They bought Spro jigs or bucktails and Gulps. Four-inch swimming mullet Gulps were popular. Larry from the shop fluked Friday, but the angling didn’t go so well. Sometimes bluefish popped up in bays. Cheryl heard nothing about striped bass in two weeks from saltwater.

Fishing was a bit slow in hot weather, said Virginia from <b>Hook House Bait & Tackle</b> in Toms River. Some species were lazy in the high temperature. Bait might catch best, because those fish could be reluctant to chase a lure. But panfishing was good at ponds or lakes. It usually is in heat, and the fish were nabbed including on red worms, nightcrawlers and Trout Magnets, even Trout Magnets tipped with worms. A few largemouth bass were socked in early mornings or evenings including on nights, killies and shiners. Sometimes shiners won’t survive in heat, even with a bubbler in the bucket or livewell, so they could be best fished in early mornings or evenings. Sometimes Virginia brings frozen bottles of water and drops one in the livewell. The anglers who fish Holiday City still stopped in to buy nightcrawlers and caught and released largemouths. Chain pickerel hung under trees for shade. Or they gathered in water that was deeper and had somewhat of a flow like near spillways at Lake  Shenandoah or Lake Carasaljo. A couple of reports rolled in about catfish reeled up at Ocean County College Pond in evenings. Good-sized catfish and big carp were eased from Spring Lake. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns <b>Go Fish Bait & Tackle</b> on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Extreme heat made fishing challenging, somewhat, a report said on <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Fishing was best in early mornings, evenings or at shady sides of lakes and ponds. The best reports were from Newton and Malaga lakes and Avis Mill Pond. At Newton, an angler picked up three largemouth bass to 3 ½ pounds on chatter baits, saying the Railroad Bridge area fished best. At Malaga, someone totaled four largemouths to 3 pounds on a Zoom Trick Worm, saying the east side of the lake fished best in early mornings. Another fished Avis Mill, beating three largemouths and two pickerel.

A couple of bass tournaments fished well, said Steve from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. One was held Saturday at Union Lake, where good bags and a good number of sizable largemouth bass were entered. Smallmouth bass were also socked in that event. Blackwater held the other tournament, at Salem Canal on Sunday. Catches of largemouths went well. Was a good weekend of largemouth fishing, and many of the bass anglers fished tackle including jigs, shaky heads and rubber frogs. The frog fishing was fairly good, and lots were sold. Largemouth anglers began to fish at night often, having success. Fishing for bluegills was okay at lakes. A little catfishing happened on Maurice River. In saltwater, summer flounder fishing was pretty decent on Delaware Bay, back bays and the ocean. The fish were everywhere.  

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