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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, May 24.

| Pennsylvania | New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
Smaller striped bass, lots, still filled Delaware River last week, Bill Brinkman from Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the store’s website. He tackled 15- to 25-inchers while anchored at several spots on the river, fishing with bloodworms, bunker and clams. “… had a really good day,” he wrote. Catfish, 10 of them from 5 to 10 pounds, made up the best angling on the trip. They mostly chewed the bunker. Be aware about striper regulations on the river. In New Jersey, striper fishing is closed on the river from roughly Salem to Trenton until reopening on June 1, and certain circle hooks are required. Anglers release the fish when the angling is closed, and Pennsylvania’s regs are different. Plenty of stripers were socked that week farther upstream, including at Trenton. The fish might’ve been somewhat bigger upstream. An angler fishing at Lambertville plugged six stripers 24 to 31 inches on Tuesday that week on top-water poppers and darts. An angler who was fishing at Delaware Water Gap said 24- to 38-inch stripers pounced on live eels and trout there. This writer is unaware whether fishing with trout is legal, finding nothing about that in the regulations. If in doubt, don’t fish them. That angler crushed shad in the river at the Gap that week. The river’s shad fishing went well at Narrowsburg to Callicoon late in the day that week. Plenty of other fishing and details were included in the report.

New Jersey
Fishing was about the same as before, and trout stream levels were great, and the water was staying cool, said Dean from Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. Been a terrific season for trout angling. Shad bit well in Delaware River, and the river rose 1 ½ weeks ago or so, but was no longer so high.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale released an estimated 30-pound musky on Greenwood Lake on Sunday, he said. He was letting out a Savage Gear crank bait during trolling for muskies, when the 48-incher smashed the lure. The water was 63 degrees during the beautiful day. This can be a good time of year for musky fishing. The fish are in post-spawn and should be feeding, and the water is cool enough not to tire muskies during the fight. On Saturday Dave joined a friend on a striped bass charter that fished the ocean off Monmouth Beach. Strong northeast wind caused rough seas, but a striper in the 20 pounds and two big blues were trolled on bunker spoons on wire line. The striper was full of eggs, and the trip was potentially going to fish near Verrazano Bridge. But reports about striper fishing were slow there at the moment, so the trip motored to the ocean, despite rough conditions. Dave will soon begin nighttime charters for walleyes that he runs each year on Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood. The trips fish with cast top-water lures, and walleyes move into shallows, where they can be hooked on the lures, at night this time of year to forage on spawning herring. Walleyes are big fish, and catching them on top-waters is good sport. Walleyes already bit at Hopatcong, he knew, and Dave was unsure whether they hit at Greenwood. A friend telephoned to ask about walleye news, and Dave told him that. The friend’s two trips then landed 10 walleyes, a hybrid and a muskie at Hopatcong and, the next night, nine walleyes at Greenwood. Dave currently will also guide for whatever fish that anglers want.

Trout streams should fish well, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Rain fell recently, but the streams should flow at a normal level now. Whether they’ll rise later in the week because of rain that’s forecast will be seen. The streams seemed to run at a normal, average level for the time of season. The ground’s beginning to dry, but isn’t dusty. Rain isn’t affecting them severely, and the streams aren’t low either. Somebody said Light Cahills hatched last week during warmer weather. Brian wondered whether those were Light Hendricksons that are more likely to be seen currently. Blue-winged olives are around. San Juan worms and terrestrials like ants should work because of the rain that washes forage like that into streams. Shad migrated Delaware River at least as far upstream as Delaware Water Gap, the last Brian heard. No details were mentioned recently, but shad fishing’s been good this year. Customers began to fish for hybrid striped bass and walleyes at lakes. They also hooked and released largemouth bass at lakes, and the bass are required to be let go through June 15 because of spawning. In saltwater, boaters caught more bluefish than striped bass, but the stripers were big. Surf anglers definitely beached more blues than stripers.

Walleyes began to be plugged at night on the lake, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Lots of 3- to 4-pounders were pasted, and Kris Bak weighed-in a 7-pound 6-ouncer that was the largest he beaned recently. A 6-pound 2-ouncer was also checked-in. The store is well-stocked with Bombers, including all the new colors, Zara Spooks and Knuckle-Heads for the fishing. Hybrid striped bass, lots and good-sized, were whacked on livelined herring. Dick Pedati grabbed a 7-pound 6-ouncer on the bait and trolled an 8-pound 2-ouncer. Pete Pantelis and Chris Baldino clocked several big hybrids including an 8-pound 8-ouncer and a 7-pound 12-ouncer, and also a 4-pound 5-ounce walleye. Jim Welsh’s 8-pound 10-pounce striper was his largest during the week, and Dominic Sarinelli weighed in an 8-pounder and a 7-pound 12-ouncer. Jerry Freeman stopped in with a 6-pound 10-ounce hybrid. The Knee Deep Club held a panfish tournament Sunday on the lake. Among the 37 entrants, Max Hughen won $295 for first place for 10 points, and John Moran took $178 for second for 8 points. Al Tuorinsky claimed $119 for third for 5 points. The club will next hold a tournament for largemouth and smallmouth bass Sunday, June 25, on the lake.

Passaic River ran very high, said Joe from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The water was flooded into trees and actually looked good for fishing, like for kayaking. The river near the store meanders, isn’t fast-flowing, and is known for catches including northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and carp. Largemouth bass were angled from Lake Hopatcong along docks. Release largemouths by law through June 15. Weeds began to build in the lake for the season. Customers headed to local ponds stocked with trout, but not much was heard about catching the fish. Mostly panfish and bass were angled from the water. Saltwater anglers tried for striped bass and mostly fought bluefish at Raritan and Hudson bays and the area. Stripers were boated, but not great catches.

Largemouth bass served up good fishing, including at Purple Heart Trail Lake in Jackson, said Virginia from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. Release them through June 15 by law, and some quality catches of the fish came from Lake Shenandoah. Shiners worked there, and top-water lures banged out the bass well at Lake Assunpink. Crappies and sunfish, not so much largemouths, bit at Ocean County College Pond. The lake across from the college turned out a mixed bag including largemouths, sunnies and yellow perch. Lake Riviera fished well for sunnies and chain pickerel. Trout fishing was terrible on the Toms River the past two weeks. The water was high but was cedar water, so it wasn’t dirty. She and two anglers fished there Monday, and she questioned whether trout were even stocked. The river was slated to be stocked that day, but the three anglers banked only one trout in 3 hours of fishing. The water was high but not over the banks. Otherwise, freshwater fishing was good, even if anglers had to work around rough weather like rainstorms. In brackish water, white perch fishing reportedly caught well to the south of Toms River. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in the town.

Fishing for largemouth bass caught steady, said Bryan from STC Sports in Gibbstown. The angling is limited to catch and release through June 15, and Mike Jeffers let go three 2-pounders at Greenwich Lake that swiped a minnow-colored Keitech swim bait. He also landed a 26-inch bowfin that jumped on a white and chartreuse chatter bait at one of the lake’s feeder creeks on the trip. More than 80 kids competed in the kids’ fishing tournament that the Deptford Elks held Saturday at Greenwich. STC donated tackle and bait, and Ray McGill, 9, won first place with 57 fish. Jake Stone, 14, won second with 36, and Kevin Mulholland, 13, came in third with 33. Austin Wood, 9, nailed the biggest largemouth, a 17-1/2-incher. Kassidy Drummond, 8, and Jake Stone tied for second and third places in that division, each catching a 13-inch largemouth. But the tie was decided by the anglers’ next biggest fish, and Kassidy won second. In the category for biggest fish other than bass, Veronica Wowk, 9, won first with a 14-inch catfish. Brayden McKenna, 3, and Chase Grubb, 9, won second and third for a 13-inch cat and a 9-incher, respectively. In Delaware River, big striped bass departed for the season, but plenty of throwbacks chomped bait like clams and bloodworms for shore anglers from Penns Grove to West Deptford at usual places where anglers locked into the big earlier this season.

Wind kept many from fishing lakes and ponds this past week, but those who got out, reported some good catches, Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown’s Facebook page said. One angler talked about scoring largemouth bass to 3 pounds at Silver Lake on Yamamoto worms in black and blue. Set largemouths free through June 15, according to law. Another angler yanked a 2-pound largemouth from Grenloch Lake on a Zoom finesse worm in watermelon and black. A 4-year-old reeled a 12-inch rainbow trout from Grenloch on a trout worm. Another angler tied into carp at tributaries off Delaware River on corn on a size-6 octopus hook.

Weather was often rough, including windy and sometimes rainy, in the past week, and lakes were muddy, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. But largemouth bass fishing was actually decent at lakes on spinner baits and chatter baits. Top-waters began to catch, and largemouthing is restricted to catch and release through June 15. Trout fishing seemed to be winding down for the season. Not much was heard about catches. In saltwater, a decent number of blues still swam the surf and back bays. A few striped bass were eased from the surf. That was all in the ocean surf, but a few stripers were also beached from Delaware Bay’s surf at Fortescue. Weakfish began to be reported from the southern bay’s surf around Cape May. Boating for black drum on the bay sounded slower this past week. Anglers hoped the drum would begin to bite better around the new moon this week.

Last Week's Report

Salmon River and Western N.Y. Creek and Rivers

Salmon River’s steelhead fishing was about finished for the season,
and trout streams were beginning to “come into conditions,” said Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service. Trout streams ran high and were cold, so the fishing was behind schedule, but that was good. The water level should drop to a good flow for fishing within days, because forecasts are calling for a dry week. Hendricksons and blue quills still hatched, and trouting should be “bug on.” Places Jay trout fishes this time of year include spring-fed, free-stone streams near Caledonia, home of New York’s oldest trout hatchery, southwest of Rochester. Later this month, he’ll fish Genesee River near the Pennsylvania border for trout. In a month Jay will fish for brook trout on waters at Tug Hill, where Salmon River’s headwaters are located. Those streams feature light fishing pressure and not much brush. He fished Salmon River on Monday, first looking for Atlantic salmon. But none was moved, and a 5- to 6-degree change in water temperature, because of weather, was no good for the angling. In the afternoon, the trip landed big smallmouth bass 4 or 4 ½ pounds on the lower river on large wooly buggers. That trip also reeled in two juvenile steelheads 14 and 22 inches on the lower river. Wasn’t unusual to see them there. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Trips scored a couple of good days of striped bass fishing on Delaware River last week with Bill Brinkman from Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia, a report said on the store’s website. One trip boated small stripers near Rancocas Creek. The trip moved to the flats downstream from Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, and landed a 23-inch striper and four 16- to 19-inchers. The next trip, the next day, boated a 30-incher, quite fat, a 29-incher, a 25-incher and a few smaller, including downstream from the Tacony. The trip also lost a striper that was in the upper 30 inches or larger. Plenty of catfish including 4- to 9-pounders were also pasted on the trips. Know the striper regulations for the river, including because striper fishing is currently closed from New Jersey on the river, and certain circle hooks are required there. Anglers release the fish. Pennsylvania’s regs are different and allow certain sizes to be kept. Farther upstream last week, stripers 20 to 28 inches were pulled in at Trenton on popper lures, shad bodies and shallow crank baits. An angler said some big stripers showed up much farther upstream at Delaware Water Gap last week. That angler crushed shad, boating 25 to 50 per trip, at the Gap last week. Shad anglers downstream at Lambertville caught shad that week but fewer than before. The report also talked about lots of other fishing.


Shad began to be angled from Delaware River again, after high, dirty water turned them off, said Dean from Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. Stormy weather during the weekend raised the river, and the level now was “not too bad,” and the water was clearing. For trout fishing, streams seemed at a perfect level, including on Big Flatbrook and Paulinskill River. Trout were going nuts for some reason this season, terrific fishing. The water remained cool, but a couple of 90-degree days could change that. Butterworms and pink salmon eggs caught best. But PowerBait, Trout Magnets and lures also hooked up.

Trout streams ran somewhat high and were cold after stormy weather last weekend, said John from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. The cold water slowed the trout fishing, but some were hooked on small wet flies and Trout Magnets. Though weather now was much improved, it was rough through Monday, shutting down most fishing, including on lakes. It kept anglers from fishing. Landlocked salmon were caught at Tilcon Lake on live bait, though. In saltwater, striped bass seemed to become more abundant in Sandy Hooks surf yesterday. A friend beached six keeper stripers and one bluefish there, at the last parking lot, John thought, on clams that day. On a trip last week there, John and the friend scored almost the opposite: seven bluefish and one striper, a keeper. On that trip, John fished a diamond jig, and the friend fished bunker, and both worked. On the trip when the friend fished alone, he saw a clam boat working a distance from shore. So he began fishing clams, though he had bunker, and the clams worked. Customers bought darts for shad fishing on Delaware River upstream from Columbia. The angling seemed good.

Outstanding trout fishing was the main news, said Josh from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. Trout streams flowed somewhat high but perfect for the fishing. Yellow PowerBait and shrimp-flavored salmon eggs were fished for them most. Delaware River’s shad fishing slowed a tad. Hybrid striped bass fishing should be picking up at Spruce Run Reservoir. Anglers began fishing for hybrids at lakes like that because herring became available to liveline.

Few fished during the weekend’s rain and wind, but some good catches were seen from those who got out, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Dave Sauerteg reeled in several walleyes to 4 pounds, several hybrid striped bass, some chain pickerel, crappies and a good-sized smallmouth bass, all on livelined herring. Hybrids to 8 pounds have been hitting livelined herring. Nighttime fishing is beginning to produce mostly walleyes and sometimes hybrids. The store is well stocked with Bomber plugs, including new colors, for the angling. Dave Smith trolled rainbow trout to a 2-pound 1-ouncer on Phoebes. Pete Cusick smashed a 25-pound musky released while trolling for trout with Phoebes. Marcin Supinski limited out on sizable crappies to a 1-pound 5-ouncer while casting small jigs.

Good fishing came from rivers and streams before the rain built the water up over the banks, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. Northern pike were fought from Passaic River, and Pequest and Rockaway Rivers showed trout. Largemouth bass lay on spawning beds at Lake Hopatcong, and largemouths are required to be released through June 15 throughout the state for spawning. But anglers hooked the bass at Hopatcong. In saltwater, bluefish swam abundant, and better numbers of striped bass seemed to appear than before. They seemed to depart Hudson and Delaware rivers after spawning.

A bunch of chain pickerel bit at Lake Riviera, said Jeff from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. So did a few small largemouth bass and some crappies and sunfish. Ocean County College Pond gave up quite a few pickerel, some crappies and other fish. Pickerel could be lit into on the Toms River at Trilco and on Winding River. Trout were tugged from Spring Lake, mostly on PowerBait, but the fish seemed to prefer different bait on different days. Jeff hooked them on corn one day and garlic PowerBait another. He saw a couple of 5- and 10-pound carp fished from the lake on corn. Trout fishing seemed fairly good on the Toms River near the tree farm in Jackson. Nothing was heard about Manasquan Reservoir. Murphy’s, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Largemouth bass seemed to be spawning at Greenwich Lake, said Bryan from STC Sports in Gibbstown. The fish were seen near the lake’s edges, probably bedding down, and were reluctant to bite. Largemouths are required to be released through June 15 because of spawning. Jessie Ferguson boated and released two largemouths and a chain pickerel at Pitman’s Alcyon Lake. One of the largemouths jumped on a wacky worm, and the other swiped a white chatter bait with a Havoc Beat Shad. A customer worked through four dozen worms catching crappies at Elmer Lake in a trip. Trout fishing began to slow at stocked waters like Swedesboro Lake. A few largemouths were angled at the lake. Snakeheads, the invasive species, turned out steady catches at ditches and streams off Delaware River. Small striped bass were reported caught from the Delaware. No large were mentioned. Weather is much improved, including warmer, this week. That should get anglers fishing more.

A ton of yellow perch were nabbed from Grenloch Lake the past two weeks, said Ed from Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle in Blackwood. That was unusual, and he didn’t know where all the perch came from. Trout were still picked up from Grenloch sometimes. Ed and wife totaled 15 to 20 largemouth bass to his wife’s 4-pounder hooked and released at Glen Lake on shiners Sunday. At the shore, lots of bluefish schooled at Atlantic City and Long Beach Island.

One angler Senko-wormed five largemouth bass to 2 pounds at Collins Lakes, Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown’s Facebook page said. Another fly-rodded six largemouths to 3 pounds and a dozen crappies at Greenwich Lake. Plenty of chain pickerel hit at Franklinville Lake for another angler, who fished minnows. Delaware River’s striped bass fishing seemed to slow last week, but the river served up good catfishing. Two anglers totaled six cats to 7 pounds on the river at Paulsboro on nightcrawlers. Bluefish tore up saltwater. A customer kayaked a stringer of large blues on the back bay at North Wildwood. Weakfish began to be plucked from the surf along jetties on bucktails and pink Zooms or Fin-S Fish. Black drum and sometimes striped bass were boated on Delaware Bay.

The weather around the weekend put a damper on fishing, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. But largemouth bass fishing was fair at lakes on soft-plastics like Senkos or a Ned rig. Trout fishing seemed to be petering out, and not much was reported about them. More of a crowd began to fish for bluegills and other panfish. That angling could be great on worms. In saltwater, plenty of bluefish schooled inlets and back bays. Striped bass were angled from the same waters at night. A few weakfish began to be reported from jetties and back bays. Good fishing for black drum and stripers was boated on lower Delaware Bay.