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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, August 16.

| New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
New Jersey
From Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna, Matt’s been fishing Cranberry and Greenwood lakes and Lake Hopatcong from shore, he said. The angling’s been slow, and he landed two largemouth bass during daytime during the entire month of August. Nighttime fishing’s been okay. Fishing from a dock at Hopatcong at night, he’s been tackling mostly crappies, sometimes largemouths. For the bass, he mostly fished crawl jigs, including at night. Actually, the fish bit best on top-water lures in early mornings for him. Set-ups like wacky-rigged Senko rubber worms haven’t been working for him for the bass. In June and July, he axed walleyes and hybrid striped bass at Hopatcong from shore on livelined herring. That slowed for him this month. Anybody been trout fishing? he was asked. That’s been slow, he said, and most customers tried for largemouths. Some anglers avoid trout fishing in this season’s heat, because warm water could kill the fish during the fight.

Jeff Good won the Knee Deep Club’s catfish tournament Saturday and Sunday on the lake with an 8-pounder, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals wrote in an email. Eddie Mackin won second with a 7-pound 10-ouncer, and Max Hughen copped third. No weight for his fish was included in the email. The anglers won $255, $154 and $103, respectively. The club will next hold a hybrid striped bass tournament Sept. 23-24 and a walleye tournament Oct. 7-8 on the lake. Hybrids to 8 pounds are swiping livelined herring and chicken livers off the lake’s points. Chain pickerel, crappies and bass, including Jim Marshall’s 4-pound 7-ounce smallmouth bass, were sometimes seen from the lake.

Largemouth bass definitely gave up catches at lakes, mostly on plastics, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. New plastics from Z-Man were just stocked. So was the Missile Baits 48 Stick Worm. The new Rapala Ripstop lure is also in supply. Nothing was heard recently about fishing Passaic River. First, rain affected the river. Then the “dregs” of summer arrived. Saltwater anglers headed for last shots at fluke, before fluke season is closed beginning Sept. 6. Bucktails with Gulps were popular for the flatfish. Joe from the store prefers chartreuse.

Not a lot of reports rolled in about largemouth bass fishing, but those that did came from Manasquan Reservoir and a couple of lakes from Jackson, said Virginia from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. Purple Heart Trail Lake was one of the lakes in Jackson, and nightcrawlers and shiners clocked the bass there. At Manasquan Reservoir, the bass were bonked on popper lures, spinner baits and, for those who preferred to fish bait, shiners. At Ocean County College Pond, mostly sunnies and some yellow perch hit. Plenty of chain pickerel chomped in the Toms River at Trilco. Large snapper turtles stirred around the river there. Trilco is a closed building supply, and no sign identifies the building, but locals know the stretch by the name, located near Garden State Parkway. Lester’s Lake near Ocean County Mall was one of the best places for a mixed bag of fish including yellow perch, small catfish, pickerel and a few largemouths. Fall trout stocking will begin in two months. Virginia looks forward to that, and the stocking is supposed to start on Oct. 11. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Customer Harold D. banged out four largemouth bass from Daretown Lake on chatter baits, fishing from shore, said Bryan from STC Sports in Gibbstown. His wife on the trip nabbed sunnies, bluegills and yellow perch on nightcrawlers and minnows. Snakeheads, the invasive species, fed aggressively in creeks and ditches off Delaware River. Top-water lures will pound them, especially frogs. Hula Popper and Jitterbug top-waters are popular, too. Nobody mentioned fishing for small striped bass that were reported biting in Delaware River previously. Maybe rough weather including rain this week would push the saltwater line farther downstream that the bass favor.

Ed from Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle was away for a week and just returned to the store, he said. He was yet to hear much news. But customers were stopping in to buy shiners for largemouth bass fishing at lakes. Whether they caught was unknown. Ed was at Whale Beach at Strathmere this past week, and knew that lots of kingfish were plucked from the saltwater surf there on bloodworms. Customers were buying bloods from the store today. Saltwater anglers fished for summer flounder along the coast, mostly hooking throwbacks.

Fishing was alright, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. Some fair largemouth bass fishing was scored at lakes. Rainbow Lake fished pretty well for them. Union Lake fished pretty well for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Chain pickerel fishing was good at Union. For largemouths, rubber frogs were often tossed. Senko worms were dunked, and lots of drop-shot tackle was sold for the bass. That seemed to catch well. Catfish offered up reasonably steady catches on Maurice River. In saltwater, some great summer flounder catches were boated at ocean reefs and Delaware Bay. A good bite.

Last Week's Report

Bill Brinkman from Philadelphia’s Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle ran a trip on Delaware River from Stockton to Lambertville that boated 21 smallmouth bass in 6 hours, he wrote in a report on the shop’s website. An angler who fished farther upstream said smallmouth fishing picked up but striped bass fishing became slower at Delaware Water Gap last week. The striper fishing seemed to slow in clear, summer skies that week. A few sizable stripers were reeled from the river from the New Hope wing dam to Trenton at night. Farther downstream, a few large channel catfish and flathead cats were eased from the river from Betsy Ross Bridge to Petty’s Island. Farther yet, lots of small catfish and small stripers bit in the river at Gray’s Ferry in Philadelphia. Photos of carp 20 to 36 pounds were seen from Schuylkill River from the art museum upstream to Norristown. Cats 2 to 25 pounds gave up great fishing on the Schuylkill at Gladwyn. Plenty of other details, locations and fishing were covered in the report.

New Jersey

Rain kept Big Flatbrook’s level okay for trout fishing, “not low-low,” said Andy from Stokes Forest Sports Shop in Sandyston. Participation slowed, and maybe the angling did, too. But the fish were hooked, including on blue-winged olives, terrestrials and some caddis. Most customers who trout fish work the Flatbrook. Nobody mentioned fishing for smallmouth bass that bite in Delaware River this time of year. Not a lot of traffic from anglers came through the shop this time of season, for whatever reasons, like maybe summer vacations. But smallmouths surely swam the river. The Delaware became muddy last week because of rain farther north. But the river never became “blown out” this season. Currently the flow was somewhat higher than usual for this time in summer.

An angler landed a 45-inch musky that was trolled Thursday from a lake aboard, Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale wrote in an email. The fish chomped a deep-diving crank bait and was released, and Dave was on vacation afterward.

Rivers and streams rose because of rain, said Don from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Rockaway River, near where he lives, was almost “puddling” a week ago, but now was “where it should be,” he said. He imagined that if anglers wanted to trout fish on waters like that, catches could be good. Some anglers avoid trout fishing this season, because summer’s warm water could kill the fish during the fight. Most customers were parents with kids buying supplies for panfishing at lakes or ponds. Garden worms and nightcrawlers were popular sellers for that. For largemouth bass at lakes, top-water lures were popular, like Jitterbugs or Hula Poppers. Soft-plastics were hot for largemouths, too, and Senko worms were the top-selling. Most who were successful on largemouths caught after dark. Don’s always had his best largemouthing 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. this time of year. Savage Gear’s 3D Suicide Ducks are a top-water that’s stocked, and they actually catch. He landed a small largemouth on a black version, and the ducks are basically buzz baits, because the feet spin and kick up commotion on the water when retrieved. Two different Savage rats are stocked and are another top-water for largemouths. The shop is waiting for Savage’s new 3D Bat that’s a top-water that looks like a bat that can be fished for largemouths. So the shop will see how that works. Don thought the duck he fished was “pretty cool,” he said, and he likes different lures like that and the bat, instead of the “same old thing.” Largemouths seemed keyed in on baitfish or followed the bait, and that was where to look for them, like how anglers search for baitfish to find hybrid striped bass and walleyes at waters like Lake Hopatcong. Not a lot of saltwater business stopped in lately. Mixed reports were heard about saltwater success. Like fluke fishing seemed better to the south than from the ocean off Monmouth Beach to Raritan Bay, for unknown reasons. Maybe the water was warmer to the south, but the reasons the southern fluking might’ve been better were unknown. Everybody had theories, like some said migrations changed since Hurricane Sandy.

Been a good summer, tremendous, for largemouth bass fishing at lakes, said John from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. Most lakes were “weeding,” so weedless surface lures fished well for the bass. Hybrid striped bass fishing was very good at Spruce Run Reservoir on shiners. Walleyes caught were heard about from Delaware River. Few anglers trout fished this time of year, but those who did seemed to score well. Rain this week surely helped trout stream levels. Most trout angling was reported from Pequest and Musconetcong rivers. The fishing was good there.

Spruce Run Reservoir fished better than Round Valley Reservoir, said James from Behre Bait & Tackle in Lebanon. At Spruce, hybrid striped bass were slow-trolled on herring, shiners “or whatever,” or were hooked on the bait 5 to 15 feet under a bobber while the boat was drifted. The fish chased bait at different depths, and anglers don’t need herring to catch, James emphasized. Or top-water lures could be cast to hook the stripers at night. A variety of catches including catfish and white perch also chewed at Spruce, another reason the fishing was better than at Round Valley. Round Valley’s fishing was a “crap shoot,” and the lake rolled over, “leveling out” water temperatures, like happens this time of year. Rainbow trout were trolled at Round Valley on leadcore at three to eight colors, or 15 to 40 feet down, on Warrior, Spoonman or Sutton spoons. Lake trout were angled at Round Valley along bottom in 80 to 100 feet of water on dodgers, flashers, live bait, meatheads and occasionally glow-in-the-dark Warrior spoons.

Some reports about big northern pike rolled in from Passaic River, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. One customer showed photos of the fish from Little Falls along the river. Big catfish to 10 and 12 pounds were heaved from the river. Hybrid striped bass and walleyes were pulled from Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake, mostly in evenings on top-water lures like Zara Spooks or other walk-the-dog plugs. In saltwater, fluke fishing improved in the past week or so. Better late than never, he said, and good catches of porgies were axed. Some boats ran night trips for them. Catches in saltwater also included sea bass, blackfish – lots of small blackfish, but some keepers – and triggerfish.

Fishing for chain pickerel, sunnies and crappies was better than largemouth bass fishing, said Virginia from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. Largemouthing slowed a little, for unknown reasons. But shiners ran out of stock, and most customers fish shiners for the bass currently. Maybe that was a reason less was heard about largemouth catches. Shiners, plenty, are back in stock, though. A customer bought six dozen of the baitfish, and strictly fishes shiners for largemouths. Customers who targeted largemouths caught best at Manasquan Reservoir. Live bait – shiners or nightcrawlers – hooked them best there. Lester’s Lake was a notable place for the other catches like pickerel. The Toms River at Trilco fished great for pickerel. Different bogs and ponds also served up pickerel. Lake Shenandoah was probably one of the best lakes for angling a mixed bag of fish, including pickerel, sunnies, yellow perch and catfish. The cats bit salted clams “believe it or not,” she said, and nightcrawlers with scent like shedder-crab oil. The lakes at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area were another place for a mix of catches including pickerel and yellow perch. Virginia fishes there, and nightcrawlers are all the bait that’s needed to connect at Colliers. Carp and catfish hit at Spring Lake. For the carp, anglers usually chummed corn. Yellow Powerbait attracted the carp for a couple of anglers. The cats could be clocked on nearly any usual catfish bait. Powerbait worms attracted them.

Most customers fishing for Delaware River’s small striped bass landed double-digits, said Bryan from STC Sports in Gibbstown. Sometimes shore anglers also fished for them, like at Railroad Bridges at night on tributaries. Both the boaters and shore anglers mostly fished 4-inch, chartreuse Sassy Shads that imitated baitfish the stripers foraged on. Find the bait, and you’ll find the fish. Peanut bunker schooled, and even arrived deep into tributaries, including Raccoon, Oldmans and Mantua creeks. The shads were often fished on ½-ounce jigheads. Chartreuse also seemed to help stripers see the bait when the river was dirty or murky, and held lots of debris, because of rain. Bob March hauled a 4-pound largemouth bass from Greenwich Lake on a KVD crank bait in Citrus Shad color. Swedesboro Lake fished terrific for largemouths on minnows. Customers kept buying the baitfish. Snakeheads, the invasive species, kept biting in tributaries and ditches off Delaware River, especially off Crown Point Road, including on top-water lures, especially rubber frogs. Bowfins also lurked waters like that. Anglers bought frozen bunker to fish for bowfins or used other bait, including livelined.

Largemouth bass catches seemed to slow last week, probably because of heat and rain, a report said on Sportsman’s Outpost from Williamstown’s Facebook page. Early mornings and evenings fished best, and one customer drilled an 8-pound largemouth at Daretown Lake on a Rat-L-Trap. Another slugged a 5-pounder at Wilson Lake on a Senko worm in watermelon color. A customer who fished Oak Pond totaled three largemouths to a 4-1/2-pounder on a Senko in smoke color. Two youngsters picked up a dozen or more bluegills at Washington Lake Park on trout worms and nightcrawlers. Saltwater anglers lit up summer flounder, good catches, at ocean reefs. Many limited out, and flounder still swam back bays. Many were throwbacks, and a few were keepers. Offshore canyons gave up yellowfin tuna, white marlin and mahi mahi. Crabbing was very good for good numbers and some sizable.

Lakes were high and muddy because of rain that hammered the area, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. A few anglers still hooked largemouth bass, and chatter baits seemed to catch well. A few good reports came from Union Lake and Menantico Ponds. Panfish like sunnies and bluegills usually bite well in summer’s heat. A few dry days should make fishing pick up again. Most business was about saltwater fishing. Good catches of summer flounder were boated on Delaware Bay and the ocean.