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Great Kills Harbor
A.M.
P.M.
12:18
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P.M.
12:15
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Sandy Hook,
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P.M.
12:25
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11:50
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12:13
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11:48
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12:22
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1:29
1:52

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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, February 21.

| New York | New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY WEDNESDAY
New York
Adirondack Mountains

Warm weather today was probably going to soften the top of ice on lakes in the Adirondacks, said Logan from FISH307.com in the village of Lake George. Anglers might need to begin to be more careful than before about ice that’s the first to melt along edges of lakes. But ice-fishing was still happening, including on bays on Lake George. Until now, the ice was probably becoming no thinner. On George, yellow perch and sometimes lake trout were reeled in. Sunday gave up a great laker bite on the lake. Landlocked salmon, not a ton, were eased from the lake here and there. Lakes can usually be fished from the ice until mid-March in the Adirondacks. Farther north, they can be fished until late March “in a T-shirt,” he said. Anglers then might throw boards across thawed edges of lakes to reach fishable ice. Most customers fish George, and Logan heard little about ice-fishing at other lakes in the area. He’d been away from the store a couple of days. He knew that a walleye tournament was held at Great Sacandaga Lake last weekend on the ice. Sacandaga is known for walleyes and also big northern pike. All ice-fishing baits are stocked except medium suckers. No more mediums will probably be in supply this season, but jumbo suckers and super-jumbos are carried. Ice thickness that the store reported Friday on the shop’s Facebook page included 12 inches on some of George’s bays,12 on Champlain’s South Bay, 14 on Eaton, Durant, Eagle, Pleasant and northern Schroon, and 10 on Moreau and Saratoga. The post listed additional lakes, and the store posts the lists every so many days. FISH307.com is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop, carrying a large selection of ice-fishing supplies. The physical store is near the New York State Thruway in the southern Adirondacks.

Salmon River and Western N.Y. Rivers and Streams

Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service was on the water a fair amount this past week, he said. Western New York’s streams or creeks, where he fishes for large brown trout, were low, clear and iced over this past week, and the ice was just beginning to break up. Two hours east in upstate New York, Salmon River ran at 500 cubic feet per second and fished well for steelheads that week. But erase all of this, Jay said! That’s because warm weather in the 50 degrees and rain was forecast for this week. The creeks will thaw and probably blow out, but should fish well afterward, and ice might be no issue the rest of the season. Salmon River will become higher, including because of snow melt. A foot of snow covered banks, and the river was supposed to be raised to 1,000 CFS Monday night. That was probably done to help prevent the river from flooding too much when the melt began. The river will probably rise to 1,500 or 1,800 CFS because of the melt. But the Salmon’s been fishing well for steelheads all winter. This week’s high water will draw more of the fish to migrate to the river from Lake Ontario. When the Salmon ran at 500 this past week, the upper river held lots of steelheads. They were crabby, typical in winter, and anglers had to be on their game. They felt lots of short bites. The lower river held more steelheads than usual for the time of year this past week. A good, steady flow of them was migrating in. On the lower river, anglers swung streamer flies across the river, scoring double-digits of bites. The water then was clear, and somewhat smaller streamers 1 to 2 ½ inches worked. Intruders, a usual winter streamer, connected. Black, pink, chartreuse or sometimes a combo, with flash, drew hits. The flies were fished slightly off the river’s bottom. On the upper river, stoneflies and occasionally pink egg flies caught. In other news, ice was still fished on lakes and bays. The ice will probably become a little touchy in the warm spell. This changing fishing is typical of angling, but more so is typical of the season. Winter is ending, and conditions for fishing will keep changing because of fluctuating air temperatures. But this is also coming into one of the best times of the year for catches. Steelhead fishing, for instance, will peak as the fish flood rivers to spawn next month and in early April. Both the brown trout and steelheads will migrate back to Lake Ontario to spend summer. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

New Jersey
Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service pasted two rainbow trout and a lake trout at Round Valley Reservoir on Saturday on a trip, he wrote in an email. Williams Wabler Whitefish Spoons hooked the fish, and he didn’t say whether he trolled the lures. But that seemed likely. The water was 34 degrees, and Dave reached home just as snow really began to fall.

Customers were headed to fish yesterday and today because of warmth, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. He was yet to hear results, but fishing was sort of in limbo in past days, because ice was melting. Ice-fishing seemed no longer possible. The angling took place until Saturday at least. Most ice now seemed melted. Anglers seemed able to cast a line successfully, or no ice prevented that, for the most part. Brian saw no trout streams recently, but they might be high because of rain and snow melt. Today might be the last day with clear skies for a moment, and rain is forecast for the next days. More news about fishing might become available for next week’s report, though. Weather is becoming relatively warmer, and that should enable anglers to fish open water.

Anglers began to fish trout streams, said Keith from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. Many who stopped in planned to fish today because of warmth, and were going to fish baby nightcrawlers, shrimp salmon eggs or PowerBait for trout. Trout fishing will be closed because of stocking beginning March 19 until April 7, opening day of trout season. Many lakes still held skim ice, so streams were best to fish. Spruce Run Reservoir held thin ice. But a few customers yesterday were going to fish ponds. A few were going to fish Round Valley Reservoir for trout from shore, and bought shiners for that. Forecasts look like lakes and ponds will be clear of ice for casting within a couple of days. Merrill Creek Reservoir will probably be a place fished, too. Walleye fishing is usually good on Delaware River this time of year. But Keith didn’t know whether the river was high because of snow melt. In the warmer weather this week, customers stopped by, bought fishing licenses for the year, and geared up to fish.

Ice-fishing has come to an end on the lake for the season, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email Sunday evening. Four or five inches still covered most of the lake then, but shorelines opened up, “and you can put the spud bar thru in 2 shots,” she wrote. Warm weather and rain this week should “finish it off.” A handful of ice-anglers fished Saturday on the lake, after cold weather the night before. They pulled in pickerel and perch at shallower water and jigged walleyes off Chestnut Point in deeper water. “Bring on spring!” Laurie said.

People fished, and were excited to fish, but seemed yet to catch much, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. Some fished Round Valley Reservoir, because trout were reported caught there from shore, but hooked nothing. Although anglers were excited, this was still February. Passaic River near the shop ran high but wasn’t cresting like last week. The river probably dropped 6 inches since last week, when the Passaic was reaching the parking lot. Nobody reported catches from saltwater. Stop at the shop’s booth at the Saltwater Fishing Expo from March 16 through 18 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison.

Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River was probably going to be open daily, for limited hours, beginning this past Monday for the fishing season, Dennis said last weekend in a phone call. Someone from the shop this week indeed said the store is open daily, in a comment on the shop’s Facebook page. Nightcrawlers, shiners, and bloodworms are stocked. A gallon of killies managed to be stocked Monday. Two more flats of bloods were ordered yesterday. Photos of anglers hooking throwback striped bass that were released were posted on the Facebook page. They’re here! it said, and said the bass kept biting while the anglers fished for white perch. This was obviously at brackish water, and striped bass season is closed in back waters like this until opening beginning March 1. No location was named. Thanks for not spot-burning, giving away the location, someone commented. Anglers currently will fish the bloods for white perch in the Toms River, Dennis said in the phone call. Virginia who works at the store and crew fished Ocean County College Pond, rounding up pickerel, crappies and a couple of largemouth bass, Dennis said. Spring Lake fished great for trout including brooks and big palominos. The Shark River Surf Anglers club stocked trout in January in the lake.

Minnows are finally stocked, said Jeff from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. The baitfish became available, and nightcrawlers were already socked, but minnows were especially in demand. Not a ton of fishing happened, but a little did. Now that minnows are in, he hopes to see more anglers in the next days. Lakes were high and dirty because of rain. They were no longer frozen, though. Maybe the season “turned a corner.” Hopefully, Jeff said. Weather can be unpredictable in March.

Last Week's Report
Adirondack Mountains

Lots of snow fell on ice on lakes this past week in the Adirondacks, said Logan from FISH307.com in Lake George. But warmer weather, like 50 degrees the other night, and a little rain, along with usual cold in between, probably froze up the snow, making it easier for ice-anglers to walk on. Logan was sure that lakes neither lost ice, because of the snow on top, nor gained ice, because of relative warmth. The snow was heavy on the ice, and anglers needed to be careful about places where the ice might be dangerously thin. Seeing how thick ice is could be difficult because of snow. Still, ice-fishing remained good on Lake George’s bays for catches including yellow perch. Logan wasn’t asked whether the lake’s center held open water, but it did previously, so must’ve currently. George is a big lake that isn’t always frozen across in winter, while smaller lakes are, in the Adirondacks. A post from the shop today on the store’s Facebook page listed ice thicknesses on many waters in the mountains, and almost all that were listed held more than 12 inches, including bays on George. Lakes that held more than 12 included Glen, Brant, Long, Loon, southern Schroon and Lake Champlain’s South Bay. Northern Schroon held 14, and Saratoga Lake held 12. The shop posts a list of ice thicknesses every so many days on the page. Also on George’s ice, lake trout fishing was especially good this winter, and not a ton of landlocked salmon were hooked this season. Catches from the ice can slow by this time in winter, the middle of the season, for reasons including that smaller lakes can become depleted of oxygen because of the ice cover. But the angling seemed no slower on George, maybe because of the lake’s size and springs or something. All ice-fishing baits, a full supply, are stocked, including suckers that the shop last week reported were scarce. Jumbo and super-jumbo suckers were stocked currently. The shop frequently posts what baits are stocked on its Facebook page. The store will hold a sale this Presidents’ Day weekend. FISH307.com is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar shop, carrying a large selection of ice-fishing supplies. The physical store is near the New York State Thruway in the southern Adirondacks.

Salmon River and Western N.Y. Rivers and Streams

Salmon River, running at 500 cubic feet per second, actually fished well for steelheads, said Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service. Some of his people, he said, fished the river Sunday and Monday, and landed multiple steelheads apiece. Jay will fish the river later this week. The upper river harbored healthy numbers of steelheads. Good runs of the fish swam the river at Douglaston on those two days when his people fished. Jay wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers of steelheads began to increase in the river, because they usually do in late February and in March. The bug population should increase, too. More stoneflies should appear on snow and ice than before. Stoneflies currently hooked the steelheads. Pink eggs did, too, and that was unusual. Eggs usually work during the salmon spawn in fall in the river and a while afterward. Probably a foot to 1 ½ feet of snow covered ground surrounding the Salmon. The trails along the river were trampled, making walking no problem. Two hours to the west in upstate in New York, Jay fished for brown trout in Oak Orchard River Monday, reeling in a couple on streamer flies. The Oak fished a little slow in water that was a little low, and was clear. If the Oak gets a shot of higher water, the angling will pick up. Jay also guides for the brown trout in creeks in this area, when the creeks have open water in winter. They were packed with ice early this week but could break open later this week. Weather was warming. The trout are huge, because they summer in Lake Ontario, spending winter in creeks and rivers, where forage is most abundant during the cold. In other news, Jay spoke with a buddy who ice-fished and caught a couple of dozen sizable perch during the weekend. Ice-fishing and conditions for the angling seemed decent. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ice that was in good shape for fishing remained from the Poconos to the north, Bill Brinkman from Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia wrote in a report on the shop’s website. Along Delaware River, one angler clocked crappies well at Tullytown Cove on jigs with wax worms. Another nabbed a few yellow perch along the docks at Neshaminy Marina off the river on small minnows. The lakes at the private Penn Warner Club gave up fair fishing for perch, crappies and pickerel. Whether the perch were yellow or white wasn’t mentioned in the report. A 32-inch chain pickerel was also tackled there. An angler took his year’s first trip to Union Lake in South Jersey, but strong wind kept him from launching the boat. He fished from shore instead, only pulling in a few bluegills on jigs. Friends of that angler scored great on yellow perch and crappies “around the dam with minnows, shiners and marabou jigs,” Bill wrote. Some of the best fishing came from South Jersey. Pickerel turned out decent catches in Batsto Lake’s spillway. An angler fought a bunch of pickerel “(farther) down the road past the boat ramp … under a small bridge,” Bill wrote, on minnows. Pickerel, crappies and largemouth bass were picked up from Mullica River at Crowley’s Landing. A customer spent a couple of days fishing Lake Lenape, the Great Egg Harbor River’s head waters, but only pasted small pickerel, on Rapala Shad Raps. More details and locations were covered in the report.

NEW JERSEY

Most ice-fishing might’ve been finished, because of warmth, said Kevin from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. He got a report about ice that was fished on Lake Hopatcong yesterday, but most lakes were probably becoming difficult to ice-fish. Edges were probably thawing, and temperatures in the 50s are predicted most of the week. “That’ll be the end of that,” he said. If anglers can find open water on lakes, yellow perch can begin to be active. Fish tackle for them like small Mister Twisters under bobbers. In waters with stocked trout like Round Valley Reservoir during ice-out, trout that are cruising shallows might be able to be hooked from shore on big spoons or lures like Phoebes on light line like 6-pound test on light, long rods that can cast far. On trout streams, anglers could begin to see early black stoneflies in the next two weeks, like in afternoons on days that reach 50 to 55 degrees. Fly-fishing with imitations, usually sizes 14 and 16, can be nice, and few anglers pressure the trout this time of year. The store’s annual Cast and Blast Cabin Fever Day will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. The event will include seminars, demonstrations, exhibitors, tackle reps, clubs, a chili cook-off, sales, giveaways, raffles and more. Seminars will include ones on fluke, springtime bass and musky fishing. Tackle reps will include those from Abu Garcia, Shimano, Penn, St. Croix, Eagle Claw and Daiwa.

Most fishable ice seemed gone locally, said Keith from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. The ice reportedly became too thin at places like Budd and Oxford lakes. But ice still covered the waters, preventing casting a line. Rain poured throughout the weekend, and that made trout streams high. That prevented fishing, too. If weather stays free of rain, anglers will fish the streams.

Some fishable ice remained on the lake Monday, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email Tuesday. Anglers needed to be careful about some of the lake’s edges. Ice was just under 8 inches at Great Cove and just under 6 on the main lake that day, “with access off the front of the dock,” she wrote. The Knee Deep Club’s ice-fishing tournament was canceled that was supposed to be held last Sunday on the lake, because of heavy rain. Anglers could still be seen fishing the ice that day in rain and fog. The club has another ice-contest scheduled for Sunday, March 4, on the lake. Warm weather is forecast for the next week, and whether ice will be fishable for that date could be questionable. But anglers will see. Catches from the ice included lots of yellow perch and chain pickerel, and some walleyes and hybrid striped bass. The walleyes were both jigged and caught on bait. Laurie heard about several muskies nailed through the ice that measured in the low 40 inches. Telephone Dow’s for the latest ice conditions: 973-663-3826.

Passaic River nearly flowed into the parking lot, said Joe from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The river was flooded, and so were trout streams, because of much rain that fell during the weekend. None of these waters could be fished, really. The rain opened ice on some lakes. Maybe some lakes were ice-fished. That angling might be coming to an end for the season, but nights were still cold.

Killies, shiners and, if available, bloodworms will be stocked beginning next week at Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River, the shop’s Facebook page said. The store currently is open for no steady hours, but was open Saturday morning. Mario from the store heard nothing about fishing, he said in a phone call at the shop that morning. News might begin to be heard next week.

At Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland, Steve really could report no fishing from the past week, he said. Ice covered lakes on one morning and was clear on another. Rain sometimes poured, too. Forecasts look like better weather. Keep fingers crossed, he said, and maybe action will happen.