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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, November 14.

| New York | New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
New York
Salmon River and Western N.Y. Rivers and Streams

Fishing for this season’s big brown trout was great on Oak Orchard River and the area’s creeks or streams in western, upstate New York from Thursday to Saturday with Jay Peck Guide Service, Jay Peck said. This was near Rochester, and beginning during the weekend, colder weather chilled the creeks, shutting down the angling there, though the Oak still fished fine for the trout and a few salmon. Anglers kept busy with them. A few salmon in decent shape, not yet dying from spawning, still kicked around in the Oak. Warmer weather or some rain will pick the creek fishing right back up. The creeks have been low and clear and probably will continue to be for a while. Jay’s trips mostly fished egg flies to catch the browns in the Oak and the creeks. Two hours east, steelheads were scattered along the Salmon River, upstream to downstream. You would hit a few fish and move on, covering water. Jay’s guides are fishing there, and one of the guide’s trips went 3 for 10 on the steelheads Sunday and 5 for 14 on Monday. This river also became cold around the weekend because of weather, and that was tough on the fishing. But the temperature was stabilizing by early this week. A few inches of snow fell along the river Saturday. More fell in some places, including a substantial amount south of Lake Erie. A few flakes fell along the trout waters Jay fished, but wind blew 30 to 40 m.p.h. there. On Sunday, rain and snow fell, and weather was just wet. Salmon River was 43 degrees early this week, Jay thought, and the river flowed at 500 cubic feet per second. The river’s steelheads were hooked including on egg flies, small Intruder streamers, steelhead streamers and a few stoneflies, a whole mix of flies. Jay fishes for the browns, big fish because they summer in Lake Ontario, in fall until the waters freeze. Then he fishes for steelheads on Salmon River throughout winter. That’s a big river that never really freezes. Both the trout and steelheads winter in the rivers and creeks, because forage is more abundant there than in the lake in winter. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

New Jersey
Trout streams ran high because of rain, so nothing was heard about trout fishing in a week, said Don from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. He was at Rockaway River in Denville near St. Clare’s Hospital, and the river was over the banks. He lives nearby, and a stream behind his house was over the banks. Winter trout stocking is slated for Monday and Tuesday. Each year, that stocking is at lakes and ponds, and the fall stocking in October is at streams. A few panfish were boated at Lake Hopatcong that were heard about. The lake was low because it was drained for dock repairs, and that probably prevented boats from being launched at boat ramps. The anglers who nabbed panfish from the lake must’ve had access to boats moored at private docks. Don saw a photo or photos of couple of big smallmouth bass to 3 or 4 pounds that a customer nailed at Wanaque Reservoir. They were hooked on soft-plastic worms, and he was surprised, because jerk baits would usually be fished for them this time of year. From saltwater, Don knew about 30-inch striped bass that anglers boated from Raritan Bay near Keyport not far from shore on a trip. Those might’ve been resident stripers from rivers, not stripers migrating south, Don thought. The anglers said party boats fished a mile farther from shore during the trip.

Nothing was doing because of weather, said John from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. High water from rain raised trout streams too high to fish. Delaware River was likely high. John saw anglers on several boats fishing at Phillipsburg on the river before the last storm. They must’ve been fishing for walleyes or smallmouth bass. Wind and sometimes storms kept anglers from fishing on lakes recently. Won’t be long, and anglers will be ice-fishing, John said. Anglers hope so, anyway.

Boats couldn’t be launched and anglers couldn’t fish from shore at the lake, said John from Dow’s Boat Rentals. That’s because the lake was lowered 5 feet for dock repairs. The water was too shallow to fish from shore. That’s the situation until ice-fishing begins on the lake. But the store is open, because the crew has to be there for dock and rental-boat-motor work.

A couple of anglers were hooking northern pike from Passaic River near the store, though the water was high, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. They clocked the pike on Keitechs and Yamamoto worms while actually trying for smallmouth bass. Someone showed a photo of a big musky cranked from Lake Mosconetcong. Cheryl also saw photos of sizable trout that were reeled in on spinners. One was from Ramapo River, and the other was from Verona Park, she thought. Seemed that when anglers fished, they caught, even if fewer fished in recent weather. In saltwater, boaters who fished for striped bass seemed either to deal with heavy boat traffic or rough weather that prevented boating.

Not a lot of anglers fished in chilly weather, but decent-sized crappies and sunfish and small largemouth bass were eased from Ocean County College Pond, said Abby from Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River. Nightcrawlers and small killies caught. Little was heard about Lake Riviera except that a few small pickerel and some yellow perch were picked up there. Some anglers fished the ponds around Whiting, mostly for pickerel. Lots of pickerel could be found there. Trout, not huge but sizable, from the fall stocking in October were still angled from the Toms River at Riverwood Park. That was the most popular place on the river, and anglers mostly fished Trout Magnets for the trout. The winter trout stocking is supposed to happen on Monday and Tuesday, including at Spring Lake and Lake Shenandoah on Monday. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Lakes were muddy and high because of rain day in, day out, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. That was brutal, he said, but a few customers fished for largemouth bass between rain drops. They caught a few at usual spots like Rainbow and Parvin lakes. Customers mostly bought suspending jerk baits and a few Rat-L-Traps for largemouth fishing. Anglers could take a bucket of minnows and tie into chain pickerel and crappies at lakes pretty consistently, when the water was clear enough. Both of those fish are cooperative in cooler water. From saltwater, big, migrating striped bass in the ocean was all the talk. The run arrived off South Jersey in past days, and fishing for the bass was sporadic. But when it was on, it was on. Then the fish were boated on the troll, and a few were taken on livelined bunker.

Last Week's Report

Salmon River and Western N.Y. Rivers and Streams

Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service concentrated on the huge brown trout that are migrating to rivers and streams or creeks in western, upstate New York, he said. The fishing was pretty good, actually. But his guides fished for steelheads on the Salmon River, and he’ll return to that angling after the trout fishing. First, the trout. Fishing for them – this is near Rochester, two hours west of the Salmon River – clocked the fish averaging 8 to 10 pounds. But his trips banked a 23-pounder (!), a 16-pounder and a 15-pounder, and smaller trout down to 4 and 5 pounds. These trout grow large because they summer in Lake Ontario. Jay fishes for them before these waters, mostly Oak Orchard River and creeks in that area, freeze, preventing the angling. Salmon River, a larger river, never completely freezes, so he returns to fishing there for steelheads afterward. The creeks near the Oak had been low, so low that the trout had been yet to migrate into them. But rain fell since the last report here, replenishing the streams. The browns moved in. The water was becoming low again. The Oak held a decent amount of water all along. That gets more fishing pressure, so the creeks, less popular, could be more desirable to fish. Jay’s trips hooked the trout on egg flies, mostly in sizes 8 and 10. On one day when the creeks were high and muddy, chartreuse wooly buggers in size 6 drilled the trout. The trout migrate to the rivers and creeks because forage is more abundant there in winter than in the lake. The migration was about on schedule. A few salmon still swam these western New York waters. On the Salmon River, steelhead fishing was good. More rain has fallen in that area, and a lot of rain fell there this past week a moment. That raised the river to 1,600 cubic feet per second. That’s high and made fishing tough. By the beginning of this week, that dropped to 1,200, and that was easier to fish. Jay expected the Salmon to drop to 750 afterward this week, a good level for fishing. At 1,200, the river’s edges and “softer” water could be fished. Egg flies caught steelheads throughout the river. The fish still fed on salmon eggs from the salmon spawn earlier this fall. Sometimes wooly buggers could catch on the lower river. But on the upper, where eggs are more abundant, eggs were the flies to cast. Anglers could try fishing stoneflies, but those weren’t so productive yet, Jay thought. Stones become the pattern in winter. All of these waters were in the upper 40 degrees to lower 50s. The temperature could be a few degrees lower in mornings, and a few higher in afternoons. Anglers could enjoy a late start to fishing in the morning, waiting for the fish to bite when the water temperature rises. Air temperatures were seasonable, and Monday reached 50 degrees. Colder weather was forecast afterward, and this was all normal. November is changeable: cold a moment, warmer the next. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.


Water was blown out in rain in past days, said Andy from Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. The rain was from a nor’easter on Friday and rain again this week, including yesterday. Big Flatbrook was the highest he saw since Hurricane Sandy. Delaware River ran high and muddy. When the water level is better, customers fish the Flatbrook for trout this time of year with salmon eggs in pink, PowerBait, meal worms and spinners. Walleyes usually begin to be angled from the Delaware this time of year. That’s including on shiners or rubber worms on jigheads. The jigheads get down in the water column.

Trout streams probably ran high at the moment, said Kevin from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Rain fell this week. But they’ll probably come down, and the water level’s been good for the fishing. Nearly all the streams will probably fish well during the times when the level is better. Small egg flies draw bites well this season. Bead-headed squirmy wormies do, too. A few customers fished Delaware River for smallmouth bass, and this is an excellent time for that, during periods when the water level’s good. The smallmouthing lasts until early December. Big smallmouths – with shoulders, he said! – 2, 3 and even 4 pounds bite. Jigs like a jig-and-pig or a black rubber worm on a jighead will catch. Lake Hopatcong was “empty.” The lake was 5 feet low, because the water was being drained for dock repairs. So news about fishing lakes was scarce.

Passaic River near the store was flooded almost into the parking lot in back of Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook yesterday because of rain, Cheryl said. So no fishing was heard about from there. Previously, the shop was reporting catches from the river including northern pike, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. The river is one of the state’s few waters stocked with pike. Weather was better today, but few customers fished since Friday’s nor’easter. After that storm, weather was often windy, sometimes very windy, and sometimes rainy. Some anglers headed to saltwater for striped bass on Sunday in calmer weather, and scored. The fish were trolled on Raritan Bay, she thought. A customer was scheduled to fish for tuna yesterday to today on a party boat, but the trip was canceled because of forecasts. That was on the Gambler from Point Pleasant Beach, she thought. If so, that might’ve been the year’s final tuna trip scheduled for that boat. Most boats are finished tuna fishing by this time of year.

Chain pickerel were the “top of the food chain,” said Virginia from Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River. They bit well including at Lake Carasaljo, other lakes and bogs. Crappies also chewed, including at Carasaljo. Both fish can thrive in the cooler water of this season. Pickerel, crappies and yellow perch could be angled at the lake at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. Virginia never hooked many largemouth bass there. Good reports rolled in about largemouth bass catches from Manasquan Reservoir and Lake Riviera. Fish slowly for largemouths because they have slow metabolism in the cool water. Senko rubber worms fished slowly hooked them. Sometimes jigs and even spinner baits hit the bass, but when fished very slowly. Nobody reported landing sunfish, so maybe the water was too cold. When water’s warmer, somebody always mentions sunfish reeled in. A few small catfish 3 pounds were still pulled from Ocean County College Pond and Lake Shenandoah. A few trout were nabbed from Shenandoah. Virginia looks forward to Spring Lake being included in the winter trout stocking. Two-hundred are supposed to be stocked there on Nov. 19. Sizable trout, “breeders,” are the fish in the winter stocking. Shenandoah is another local lake scheduled to be included. Two-hundred-forty are supposed to be stocked there the same day. The stocking is on Nov. 19 and 20 throughout the state. Lily pads and weeds pretty much died off in lakes now. The water cooled quite a bit. In brackish water, white perch nibbled, including some in the Toms River. A customer picked up 51 in a trip in brackish water south of the store. A number of customers reported white perch. Tiny, 1/32-ounce jigheads were sold to fish for the perch. They could be fished under a bobber. Grass shrimp are good bait to impale on the hook, if you can obtain the shrimp. If not, bits of worms or clams can work. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

For anglers looking for a big, fighting fish, chain pickerel were the target, a report said on Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown’s Facebook page. New Brooklyn Lake and Mary Elmer Lake were places to find the fish. Minnows caught them well. Live Target sunfish and mouse lures were favorites. One angler reported tackling pickerel to 6 pounds at New Brooklyn on minnows. He also pasted a 3-pound largemouth bass at the lake on a Whopper Plopper. Good numbers of yellow perch were plucked from Wilson Lake, mostly on nightcrawlers. Another angler copped good fishing for the perch at Mary Elmer, but on a black Yamamoto worm. In saltwater, a few schoolie striped bass and an occasional keeper were dragged from the surf along jetties on Daiwa SP Minnows, Bomber swimming lures, Mag Darters and swim shads. Great fishing for schoolie stripers came from back bays on top-water lures, soft-plastic lures and swim shads. Fish smaller swim shads there. The back-bay fishing can be fun catch-and-release action on light tackle. Anglers having a blast on back bays included kayakers. Rough weather kept reports scarce about boating for sea bass on the ocean.

Between rainstorms, improved largemouth bass fishing was socked, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. That was at Parvin and Union lakes particularly. He began to see Rat-L-Traps and jerk baits sold to fish for them with success. Catches on them were heating up. Fishing for crappies was pretty darn good at Union, Malaga and Lenape lakes. Twister tails and tubes can tie into them. So can minnows, like on a small jig. Even small spinners can attract crappies. Trout fishing only seemed to last a week at waters included in the fall stocking in October. Plenty of trout probably remained, but interest seemed to wane in the fishing. Many customers turn to hunting now. Archery business was brisk. But maybe that’s all the better for you anglers! In brackish water, white perch fishing was terrific, including in the Great Egg Harbor and Tuckahoe rivers and creeks around Fortescue. In saltwater, big, migrating striped bass began to be heard about from far north off New Jersey. Locals waited for the run to arrive off South Jersey.