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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, July 19.

| New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
New Jersey
Four walleyes were banged out on a lake on a trip aboard a few nights ago, said Capt. Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale. The fish were plugged on Rapala Original Floating Lures in the largest size, 18, a 7-incher. The fishing was slow, and weather was windy and cool, but at least the anglers plugged four. The sky was cloudy, and a couple of more of the trips are slated in the next days. A trip Monday aboard trolled for muskies on a lake but hooked none. This was after a trip on the last full moon trolled a whopping four muskies aboard, and a trip three days afterward trolled another on the boat. Dave wondered whether the moon made the fish of 10,000 casts bite. A couple of other trips slated on the boat in the next days will fish Lake Hopactong, probably for bass and pickerel or catches like that. The winning five-fish stringers of largemouth bass lately weighed 11 to 13 pounds in Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt’s club, the Northeast Bassmasters’, tournaments. The tournament anglers are hooking fish but mostly all the same size, 1 ½ or 2 pounds. Anglers who catch a bigger in the mix are winning. The largemouth fishing seems to produce lighter bags and slower fishing in the height of summer. Dave’s been seeing lake temperatures of 80 degrees, and that’s warm. The tournament anglers are mostly fishing Senkos worms, but Schmidt’s been using jigs.

Fishing’s been picking up, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Trout fishing went well, and trout streams stayed high and cool. Hatches were off schedule, and light Cahills came off. Isonychias began to show, and they’d usually be gone by now. Hybrid striped bass were wrestled at Lake Hopatcong at night. Largemouth bass were angled at the lake during daytime. Surface lures, like a Whopper Plopper in the evening, were often fished for either. Nothing was heard about Delaware River’s smallmouth bass fishing. But that action should be picking up.

Wasn’t a lot to report in the heat, said Andy from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. But Spruce Run Reservoir turned out good hybrid striped bass fishing, and Merrill Creek Reservoir gave up good trouting for rainbows 40 feet down, mostly on shiners or herring. Herring were difficult to obtain, but big, healthy ones were supposed to be stocked tomorrow at the shop. Someone smashed a 51-inch musky at Oxford Furnace Lake. On Delaware River, striped bass and smallmouth bass were landed. The stripers were mostly hooked on herring or trout. Andy will compete in a largemouth bass tournament tomorrow at Lake Hopatcong. In his last few tournaments, lots of the bass were eased in but were small. Many weighed 2 pounds and were lit up at docks and weeds at deep water. Competitors fished Senko worms and different plastics including beavers on jigs. Customers still trout fished, mostly with PowerBait and worms. If water is too warm, some anglers prefer to avoid the fishing so the trout won’t die during the fight. Plenty of the fish swam.

Dominic Sarinelli’s 8-pound 4-ounce hybrid striped bass won the Knee Deep Club’s hybrid striped bass tournament on the lake Saturday and Sunday, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Second and third places were Jake DeSombre’s 7-pound 8-ouncer and Tyler Lambert’s 7-pound 5-ouncer. The three anglers won $360, $216 and $144, respectively, and fourth through sixth places won a $20 gift certificate apiece to Ramsey Outdoor. Fourth through sixth were Ed Mackin with a 7-pound 3-ouncer, Gary Bruzaud with a 7-pound 2-ouncer and Don Gardner with a 7-pounder. Forty-five anglers entered, and several sizable walleyes also showed up in catches, including Bob Smith’s 6-pound 5-ouncer. Lots of smallmouth bass and perch bit. The club will next hold a catfish tournament Saturday, Aug. 12, on the lake.

Was definitely some action on Passaic River with northern pike and carp, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. She likes to recommend Blue Fox spinners for the pike. The spinners catch, but a single hook, instead of a treble, can be attached. That helps when dealing with the toothy pike. But different lures can be fished. Pike will hit almost any lure that a largemouth bass will. For the carp, anglers can fish dough bait, like from Magic in corn or strawberry flavor. Largemouths certainly bit at small lakes. Fishing for them at Lake Hopatcong “worked.” The Neko Fat Worm and Neko Straight Worm from Daiwa and Yamamoto – the companies combined to make them – clocked largemouths, including at Hopatcong. Customers were excited.

Largemouth bass shoved deeper for cooler water in the heat, said Jason from STC Sports in Gibbstown. Many anglers drop-shotted for them in 10 to 12 feet of water. Greenwich and Swedesboro lakes are popular among largemouth anglers locally. But Swedesboro’s not that deep. Greenwich is about 2 miles from the store. Customers often targeted snakeheads and bowfins in tributaries or ditches off Delaware River, because the heat fails to affect them so much. Rubber frogs, rubber rats and spinner baits are popular for them. Some anglers use a wire leader for bowfins, because of teeth. But Jason uses 30-pound braid. Small striped bass 12 to 14 inches were fished for on Delaware River at night. That’s usually a fishery this time of year, and Sassy Shads in Limetreuse are a bait to throw to them. The store is loaded with the shads, and anglers will buy them up. They do in late July and August.

Last Week's Report

Mostly catfish were hung on the lower Delaware River, a report said on Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia’s website. Plenty of white perch and eels were mixed in, and striped bass were small in the 80-degree water. Fishing for larger stripers really dropped off in the local river. But farther upstream was a different story. Fishing for stripers 20 to 34 inches was great on the river from Trenton to Stockton at bridges on livelined eels and white perch and on plugs. The bass were also claimed from Washington’s Crossing to Lambertville on eels, 6-inch twister tails, shad bodies and popper lures. If anglers prefer smallmouth bass, fishing for them was great “up and down” the upper river. One angler boated 30 to 50 per trip at Lambertville. Another took 15 below the New Hope wing dam while wading the rocks. Another played the smallmouths at Delaware Water Gap, saying 25 to 40 could be hooked in a day. Closer to the shop, excellent fishing was available on Schuylkill River. Flathead catfish to 26 pounds were heaved from the river. Plenty of channel catfish chomped in the Schuylkill. Farther upstream at Gladwyne, the channels were in, but not many flatheads were, and a few 15- to 30-pound carp bit. An angler fishing the Schuylkill at Norristown was scoring smallmouth bass 12 to 15 inches that were mixed with lots of catfish, rock bass and bluegills. He totaled 100 fish in a trip, including 15 smallies. Several customers fished Newton Lake and Cooper River in New Jersey, doing a job on snakeheads, the invasive species. One also landed a big bowfin. Rubber frogs and mice, weedless baits, drew the snakeheads and bowfin to strike. Lots of other fishing, locations and details were covered in the report.

New Jersey

Big Flatbrook ran low, and its trout fishing slowed, said Andy at Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. The fish were still angled, but low water and slower catches, typical for summer, finally happened. Blue-winged olives and sulfurs hatched. Most customers who trout fish work the Flatbrook. The water had remained high and cool longer than usual this season, because of the wet spring. Not much news circulated about Delaware River’s smallmouth bass fishing. But smallmouths are pulled from the river all summer.

An unbelievable four muskies were trolled aboard a trip Monday with Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale, Capt. Dave Vollenweider said. He speculated whether the full moon that day made the fish bite, but couldn’t know. He only had two trips previously that landed four apiece. That was on cast lures, and the two anglers aboard this trip caught muskies previously on their own, and wanted to learn about trolling a little. So the trip trolled. After the catches, Dave reminded the anglers that the fishing isn’t always this good. In musky fishing, a catch isn’t even guaranteed. But anglers fish for them because a catch can be the angler’s biggest-ever. The fish on the trip ranged from 36 to 48 inches. The first was smallest, and each subsequent was bigger. The final was 48 or 50 inches, pushing 30 pounds. The catches were quickly released and swam right off in the 77-degree water. That’s warm, and muskies should be handled carefully in warm water or they’ll die, Dave cautioned. The fish were hooked in a lake on crank baits 16 feet down, trolled at 3.7 m.p.h. Other anglers are slated to fish Friday on one of the nighttime trips that plug for walleyes on lakes aboard. The previous walleye trips this season nailed six to 19 of the fish, covered in previous reports here. Dave has the fishing scheduled as late as July 29 this year, later than he’s ever fished for them. The anglers who reeled in 19 this year are scheduled for that date. Last year, a trip aboard fished for the walleyes on July 15, and that had been the latest Dave ever sailed for them. The trip walloped 25 of the fish. The trips cast top-water lures, good sport, in the dark, when walleyes move to shallows and can be caught on the lures. The fish enter shallows to forage on spawning herring, and when the herring disappear, the walleyes stop swimming there.

Customers gave mixed news about whether trout streams ran high or low, said John from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. In other words, some ran higher or lower than others. Rain, sometimes including downpours, fell lately in the local area, including a downpour Monday. South Branch of the Raritan River and Big Flatbrook reportedly fished okay for trout. Mostly nymphs were fished, and not many dry flies were. Trout anglers become cautious about stressing the fish in warm water this time of year. When the water is too warm, many avoid the fishing, because a hooked trout can die. Nothing was reported about fishing on Delaware River, and maybe the water was high from the rain. Nothing was heard about largemouth bass fishing on lakes. A customer reeled in a healthy-sized walleye at Lake Hopatcong at night on a Whopper Popper. In saltwater, bluefish were fought from the surf toward Seaside or Barnegat Inlet. John’s a surf-angler, and that’s all the news he heard about the angling.

Spruce Run Reservoir fished great for hybrid striped bass 10 to 15 feet down, said Josh from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. Merrill Creek Reservoir fished well for lake trout. Lots of trout filled trout streams, even if few anglers fished for them this time of year. Those who did, caught. Worms like garden worms and salmon eggs were popular for the angling. Excellent smallmouth bass fishing came from Delaware River. A surface bite erupted in evenings, and minnow imitations caught during the day.

A mix of fish were tugged from the lake, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. They included hybrid striped bass, walleyes, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, perch and even trout. Nighttime fishing produced hybrids and walleyes. Tom Sarnacki limited out on both on several nights on Bomber lures. His biggest walleye weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces. Lou Marcucci smashed lots of walleyes to a 6-pound 7-ouncer this week on livelined herring. Will Rowe clocked several good-sized largemouth bass on cast lures, including a 5-pound 3-ouncer and a 4-pound 3-ouncer that he weighed-in. Brandon Wood angled a 1-pound 8-ounce rainbow trout on a live herring. The Knee Deep Club will hold a hybrid striper tournament Saturday and Sunday on the lake, and anglers can enter until 8 a.m. Saturday. Cash will be awarded for the three heaviest stripers, and anglers can find info on the club’s website or can telephone Dow’s for info.

Largemouth bass fishing was decent at Lake Hopatcong and local ponds, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. At Hopatcong, fishing weeds seemed best. Anglers targeted largemouths with Senko worms and lures like rubber frogs. Hybrid striped bass were top-water plugged at Hopatcong in evenings. Those who fished Passaic River hauled in good-sized catfish and carp. A few customers got into northern pike, not huge, on the river. The river is one of the few places where pike are stocked in New Jersey. In saltwater, fluke fishing was slow, but the fish were there. The bottom was cold, and anglers had to work for the flatfish. The cold bottom seemed to help fishing for ling and winter flounder that was good. Sea bass were plucked here and there.

Many anglers hunted largemouth bass at lakes, said Virginia from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. They scored well at Manasquan Reservoir, numerous lakes in Jackson and Lake Shenandoah. Maybe one or two hybrid striped bass caught were heard about from the reservoir. That angling can become best at the height of summer’s heat. Many anglers fished for carp, and that went great. The big fish were a heck of a fight, and Spring and Deal lakes gave them up. No trout were reported caught anywhere this time of year, including at Spring Lake. Ocean County College Pond was loaded with anglers fishing. Catches there included sunnies, crappies, yellow perch and a few catfish. The fishing was okay, and not so many chain pickerel bit there. The pond across from Ocean County Mall tossed up nearly all catches including pickerel, largemouths and sunnies. Pickerel and largemouths chewed at Forge Pond on shiners, killies and even nightcrawlers. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

One customer, John A., wacky-rigged four largemouth bass to 3 ½ pounds at Alloway Lake on Senko worms in black with blue flake, said Bryan from STC Sports in Gibbstown. Salem Canal gave up largemouths, especially on jigs. A customer totaled seven in a day on jigs there. An 11-pound snakehead was brought to the shop that was pasted at the side creek at Greenwich Lake. Snakeheads, an invasive species, usually weigh 6 to 8 pounds locally. The government encourages anglers to kill them. Schoolie striped bass were on the bite, typical in summer, in Delaware River along bridge pilings and, for anglers on foot, Raccoon Creek at the Bridgeport Bridge. Peanut bunker that begin to appear this time of season seem to attract the stripers. The stripers spit up peanuts, and lures that imitate the baitfish nail the stripers. Chartreuse Sassy Shads especially worked. Chatter baits caught, and so did Rat-L-Traps.

Good catches of chain pickerel were made at New Brooklyn Lake, said Ed from Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle in Blackwood. Largemouth bass were slugged on shiners at a pond in Gloucester Township that Ed was unsure about the spelling. The spelling sounded like Tremisi Pond, but this writer was unable to confirm at press time. In saltwater, kingfish were beached from the surf, including at Sea Isle City, and sharks were fought from the beach, including at Brigantine.

Freshwater fishing was very good, a report said on Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Most anglers did the fishing in early mornings, beating the heat. The report mentioned largemouth bass to 3 and 5 pounds tackled at Iona, Wilson and Parvin lakes and Newton Creek. That was on Senko worms, Zoom Trick worms in black and Zoom Brush Hogs in California 420 color. At Iona, one of the anglers kayaked the fish. At Wilson, two anglers 14 and 11 years did-in 12 largemouth bass to 3 pounds on nightcrawlers. In saltwater, good fishing for summer flounder was boated on the back bay and at artificial reefs when conditions were right. Recent east wind helped, after southerly wind that cools water slowed the fish from biting. Wind is currently south in warm weather but is supposed to change direction in rougher weather in coming days. Southerlies cause upwelling along the Northeast Coast, cooling the water near shore. Kingfish were plucked from the surf. So were flounder. For offshore boaters, tuna fishing was heating up.

Fishing for largemouth bass was pretty good at lakes, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. Rainbow Lake fished terrific for them, like it has for some time. The angling was very good at Parvin Lake, and South Vineland Park Pond also held a good run of the bass. Most largemouth sharpies fished Senko worms or rubber frogs, and mornings and evenings were definitely the times. Panfish like bluegills are on a heavy feed this time of year. Fishing for them can be super, and nightcrawlers were sold for the fishing like nobody’s business. Catfishing produced at Maurice and Delaware rivers. In saltwater, summer flounder finally began to be boated on Delaware Bay. Flounder bit in back bays, and fishing for them seemed off in the ocean. But anglers waited for that to turn on. Kingfish nibbled in the surf. Customers sometimes reported good tuna fishing.