Waters on the Delaware River became a bit off-color because of rains, but that failed to stop smallmouth bass and catfish from going on a tear, said Bill from <b>Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Philadelphia. One customer bailed 40 smallies while casting minnows at Treasure Island, near the hot dog stand. Another reeled in catfish, small stripers and six walleyes at the mouth of the Tohickon while throwing size-9 Countdown Rapalas in black and silver. Plenty of smallmouths, smaller ones, held at Dredge Harbor. Four-inch Power Worms on Carolina rigs took the bronzebacks to 14 inches, along with big, 4- to 8-pound catfish, near the outside area of the pipes on the higher tides. A couple of anglers tossed spinner baits off the rocks at Linden Avenue to land a few largemouth bass from 1 and 3 pounds.
Oppressive heat during daytimes slowed down trout action on the rivers, said Bill from <b>Bill’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Phillipsburg. But trouters scored a few on moving waters and decent action at the larger lakes and reservoirs. Paul Kinnect hit the Delaware River for a 3-pound 8-ounce Palomino trout, and Charles Lundquist Jr. fished the Musconetcong for a 5-pound 4-ounce brownie. Mary Scerbo tried Oxford Furnace Lake and bagged a 3-pound 10-ounce rainbow trout. Although not a trout, an 8-pound walleye made the catch on the Delaware River for Bill Wolf.
Carp hunters on the Passaic River cast out baits such as cracker crumbs, dough balls and corn to pull on 3- to 8-pounders, said Adrian from <b>Fairfield Fishing Tackle</b> in Montville. To better the odds of hooking up, anglers should clean hands of all human odors, because the carp swam past baits tainted with unnatural smells. Pike got occasionally lifted from the river, a strictly morning thing on live shiners.
Largemouth bass provided the bulk of fishing and came from spots including Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong, said Kevin from <b>Ramsey Outdoor</b> in Paramus. Dark-colored Senkos were the ticket lately, and the early mornings seemed best. A decent, nighttime bigmouth fishery shaped up at Lake Denmark, and top-water poppers and Sputterbugs drew attention. Muskies prowled at Lake Hopatcong, and large, in-line spinners trolled behind the boat got crushed. The muskie fishery should be best until the Fourth of July.
Warm weather and storms seemed to slow the lake’s fishing, but with more moderate temps and weather coming in the next days, fishing should start to pick up again, said Laurie from <b>Dow’s Boat Rentals</b> in Lake Hopatcong. Hybrid stripers hung off the points and outside of the weed beds, where anglers could also creel a pick of perch and crappies. Paul Avenius wrangled up a 6-pound hybrid, and Piotr and Dorata Wasilewski totaled three hefty hybrids to 7 pounds. Jill Downing claimed a 7-pound 9-ounce walleye. Make a note that the Knee Deep Club will hold the annual Stu Lant Tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Call the shop for info: 973-663-3826.
The Passaic River offered consistent catches of smallmouth bass and catfish, said Al from <b>Meltzer’s Sporting Goods</b> in Garfield. The smallies keyed in on Senkos and little hair jigs, and the catfish gobbled down stink baits fished on the bottom. A few small striped bass chased suspended plugs.
Spruce Run Reservoir settled into a solid, summertime, hybrid striped bass fishery, said Chris from <b>Lebanon Bait & Sport Shop</b>. Anglers averaged five to eight of the fish per trip in the evenings on live herring fished 12 feet down at the coves. Largemouth fishing produced at the shaded banks in the early evenings. Spinner baits and Senkos were whacked during daylight, and top-water lures were attacked at night.
Trout anglers were best suited to search for cooler waters, said Ron from <b>Ray’s Sport Shop</b> in North Plainfield. Ken Lockwood Gorge would be a good spot to find trout hanging deep, and the other area streams were best fished before breakfast and after dinner, Ron said. Light Cahills in sizes 14 and 16 and midges in sizes 18 to 22 will be hatches this week. Warm-water anglers could cast out poppers on the coves at Round Valley and Spruce Run for a tussle with crappies and largemouth bass.
The coves and around the docks at Round Valley Reservoir were prime places to wing out small Kastmasters to hook aggressive smallmouth bass to 3 pounds, said Nick from <b>Efinger Sporting Goods</b> in Bound Brook. Big brown trout could be found at the Clinton stretch of the South Branch of the Raritan River, and small Rapala Countdowns in blaze orange with blue hung the fish to 3 pounds at the deeper pools. The bottom of the falls at Lake Solitude was also a top trout producer.
Crappie and largemouth bass were standard fare at all local lakes, said Jim from <b>Murphy’s Hook House</b> in Toms River. The Seacourt Pavilion, Prospertown Lake and the Ocean County College ponds were solid bets for both species, and shiners and killies worked. Largemouth anglers also fished the edges of Manasquan Reservoir with shiners in the early mornings and late evenings. Try fishing the stick piles and stumps for the best shot.
Bass busted on top-water plugs and poppers at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area lakes, Gropp’s Lake and Prospertown Lake, said Eric from <b>Harry’s Army & Navy</b> in Robbinsville. Buzz baits did the job well at Assunpink and Gropp’s, but Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers were more effective at Prospertown, because the area was heavily weeded up. The Lambertville to Trenton stretch of the Delaware River was a hotbed for smallmouth bass, and Yozuri Pins Minnows in silver and black were the key. Catfish also served up solid angling on the Big D, and dead herring was a bait to dunk for the channel kitties to 8 pounds.
Striped bass hit chrome-colored Cotton Cordell poppers on the Delaware River, said Carl from the <b>Sportsmen’s Center</b> in Bordentown. The river was a happening walleye producer, especially near the wing-dam area during the night. Largemouth bass at Pemberton Lake and Farrington Lake hammered shiners and Yum Dinger plastics. Other bigmouth locales included Assunpink Lake, Lake Mercer and Gropp’s Lake, all during low-light hours during the summer-like swelter.
Tuckerton Lake doled out plenty of rod-bending, said Scott from <b>Scott’s Bait & Tackle</b> in Mystic Island. A varied bag of bluegills, perch, largemouth bass and even a few crappies chomped on nightcrawlers and minnows fished from the bank sides. The Stafford ponds were home to chain pickerel that pounced on shiners, especially during late mornings.
Blackwood Lake took the cake as the go-to bass spot, said Jay from <b>Creek Keepers</b> in Blackwood. Josh Morgan nailed a 4.9-pounder on a trout colored Senko and plenty of smaller fish as well. At Grenloch Lake Kurt Miller drilled a 4.72-pound bucketmouth on a spinner tipped with a pork frog. Grenloch was also the site of a kids’ fishing contest, and Dave Daly Jr. loaded up on 38 sunnies at the spillway to win the event. Clementon Lake was a largemouth hotel, and Jitterbugs got jumped on there. Blackwood Lake held a secret carp fishery for 6- to 8–pounders that sucked down bread soaked in honey during the nights.
A mixed offering of species was on tap throughout the lakes, said Lou from the <b>Sportsman’s Outpost</b> in Williamstown. One customer tried Iona Lake and banked five largemouths to 3 pounds on Rat-L-Traps from 5 to 8 a.m. Another was out at Wilson Lake, free-lined minnows and twitched Senkos around the lily pads, and come up with two bass and three pickerel. One angler said he fished Lake Lenape with small hair jigs tipped with fathead minnows and belted a mess of crappies and bluegills.
Largemouth bass certainly settled into the summertime pattern, said Jeff from <b>Blackwater Sports Center</b> in Vineland. Spro Horny Toad plastics and Senko worms worked well during the daytime, and top-waters did a number at dawn and dusk. The numbers of bass caught were good now, especially at the Salem Canal. A big bass tourney is set for Union Lake on Sunday, and call the shop for more details if you want to get in on the action: 856-691-1571. Catfish were hungry on both the Maurice and Cohansey rivers, and bloodworms and bunker chunks bagged the channels to 6 pounds.
Catfishing was the main event on the Maurice River, said Ki from <b>Huck’s Place</b> in Millville. Stink baits and dead herring fished on the bottom got the bites, and high tides put out most fish. White perch could still be caught on the river, and float bloodworms on a 2-foot leader.