A repeat customer jumped aboard to fish for muskies on Lake Hopatcong on Saturday, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service. The angler also decided to spend half the trip trying for hybrid striped bass that Dave’s been angling on the lake. No muskies bit, not unusual for the fish of 10,000 casts. Then the trip fished for hybrids, but that was slow. Dave had originally brought the rods and bait, chicken livers, for hybrids, in case the angler wanted to switch to hybrid fishing, if musky fishing was slow. The angler decided to spend half the trip on muskies, and half on hybrids. Not a full effort was made for the hybrids, because the full trip didn’t fish for them. But the angling was given a shot. Only one white perch was hooked, and the perch have been mixed in with the hybrids. Some of the hybrid trips have scored quite well aboard in past weeks on Hopatcong, covered in past reports here. The hybrids need to be located. If none of the fish bite after a half-hour, anglers should relocate the boat, Dave explained in a past report. Dave searches for bait marked on the fish finder, then anchors the boat. He does something to attract the hybrids that he didn’t want to reveal. Chicken livers have been catching the hybrids best. Hopatcong was 48 to 51 degrees on the trip, and a father and son are supposed to jump aboard Friday to fish the lake with Dave, and that will be the season’s final trip on the lake for him, because the boat launch will be closed after this holiday weekend. No other public launch is available that he’s aware about. But he’ll switch to fishing Greenwood Lake then, and knows a launch that’s available past Christmas there. Greenwood was 42 degrees, the last Dave saw, and all these lake temperatures were relatively warm, in this warm autumn. Dave’s made catches at Greenwood late into the year, including a 7-pound walleye two weeks before Christmas. He’s also been fishing Monksville Reservoir on his own a little for muskies. Giant muskies swim Monksville, and the angling can be tough, but this is the time of year to catch large ones. A trip might fish all day and land one or none, but the fish can be giant. Dave is featured in the new, December/January issue of Musky Hunter magazine in the article Garden State Muskies. Muskies, and any fish in lakes like these, for that matter, can be found anywhere in the water column this time of year. That’s because water temperature becomes the same, from top to bottom, once the lakes turnover for the season, which they already have.
Water levels rose on trout streams by now, probably reaching average, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. The higher water helped disperse trout throughout the streams from the fall stocking, after the fish previously gathered in pools for deeper water. The trout are being caught, and some are good-sized, like 18 inches. Trout were sizable in the stocking, and while that stocking, locally, is at streams, the winter trout stocking took place this week that is all at lakes. The fall stocking is at streams locally, but also at lakes farther south in the state, where fewer of the warmer streams can harbor trout. One customer currently reported catching on Trout Magnets. Customers who fly-rodded nabbed the trout on small flies like blue-winged olives and midges. One connected on streamers about size 8. Nothing was heard from Delaware River, like about smallmouth bass. Hybrid striped bass were boated from Lake Hopatcong, and walleyes were also heard about from Hopatcong that were jigged on Rapala ice-fishing jigs. Someone said trout began to be landed from shore at Round Valley Reservoir that cruise along the shoreline this time of year.
Walleyes were jigged from Greenwood Lake, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. Anglers bought worms for trout fishing, but no results were reported. Passaic River ran low, but not drastically. Anglers will still fish for northern pike that the river is known for. See this article about the pike. Carp fishing was heard about from the river last week, but not this week. Customers geared up for saltwater fishing for striped bass and blackfish. Both fish “were out there.” In the surf, striper fishing would come and go, and that’s typical. But the angling was a decent experience, overall, she said. Anglers might not beach the keepers they’d like, but the fishing didn’t get skunked.