Trips with clients might be finished for the year aboard, but Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale fished Greenwood Lake for muskies on Sunday, he said. Water was cold, 39 degrees along the surface, and 36, deeper. But weather was fairly calm, and the water was free from ice, and expert musky anglers talk about hooking some of the year’s largest in the cold water of the late season. Adding to Dave’s anticipation, someone at the dock, before he fished, said anglers had just stopped by, looking for a scale to weigh a musky in the low 50 inches that might’ve been a record. Dave figured the fish was probably hooked while the anglers jigged for walleyes, the fishing that most anglers did on the lake currently, though few anglers fished during the late season. Sure enough, after his trip, Dave found out that the musky was a 51-inch 40.7-pounder that was jigged on 6-pound test meant for walleyes. A 42-pound 13-ouncer is the New Jersey state record. Dave hooked no muskies on the trip, but that’s fishing for the fish of 10,000 casts. He’ll probably try again, and might also jig for walleyes. On the trip, bait with fish underneath, probably walleyes, were marked, but Dave only trolled for muskies, with spoon plugs, along bottom in 15 to 20 feet of water. A friend who’s a musky expert says to fish deep and slow for the fish in the cold. Wind blew 5 to 10 m.p.h., and the lake held somewhat of a chop, on the trip, but Dave considered the conditions perfect for the angling. If the weather holds, he might fish the lake again this season. In winter, he might ice-fish, or fly-fish for trout with nymphs. He might fish for striped bass on a river he knows that attracts the bass, including large, to 25 pounds, in the warm water at a power plant. Trips with clients usually resume with trout fishing on streams in spring with lures, one of Dave’s specialties. He prefers the lures, usually Rapala Countdowns, because the plugs attract big trout and are fun to fish, and high water in spring in streams is conducive to lure fishing.
Lakes were still fished, and seemed unlikely to freeze before New Year’s, said Kevin from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. So anglers probably had another couple of weeks to fish the open water, and Binsky blade baits were popular to fish on the waters. The Binskys were either jigged or reeled slowly in 15 to 20 feet of water, mostly for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Not much was heard about fishing on Lake Hopatcong, but many of the smaller lakes were fished. Kevin drove past Lake Hopatcong on Friday, and the lake looked 1 ½ feet low. Hopatcong is usually lowered each year around now for maintenance, like on docks. Trout fishing was good on streams, after last week’s rains replenished them, and this should be a good week for the trouting, in relatively mild weather, not too cold. Micro-egg flies, San Juan worms and scuds should catch, and trout landed were heard about from Pequest River. Nothing was heard about fishing at Round Valley Reservoir for trout that previously were reported cruising the shoreline and being hooked from shore. But Kevin figured that lake trout could probably be boated there in the shallows on the Binskys. Nobody mentioned smallmouth bass that were previously reported nabbed from Delaware River. In saltwater, small striped bass were sometimes still eased from the surf.
A few anglers cranked a few northern pike from Passaic River downstream from the Garfield falls on Tuesday, said Nick from Meltzer’s Sporting Goods in Garfield. They fished because of the good weather lately, he guessed. A couple of his son’s friends continued to boat walleyes at Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake, like Nick reported in the past. The anglers said the walleyes weren’t large, but were caught, mostly on Rapala Jigging Raps, but also on trolled Rapala Shad Raps. Another angler boated walleyes on Delaware River on Monday or during the weekend on the Jigging Raps, saying he was definitely going again this weekend, though weather might become somewhat colder. The Jigging Raps were popular for walleye fishing all around. Other customers headed to Ramapo River for trout on Tuesday, but results were yet roll into the shop. Barbour Pond was included in the winter trout stocking during Thanksgiving week, but nobody reported about the angling. Nobody mentioned Dahnert’s Pond, another pond that anglers fish locally.
Trout were angled from Verona Park Lake, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The lake was included in the winter trout stocking during Thanksgiving week. Passaic River was cold, but northern pike were sometimes pulled from the river at Lincoln Park. That was probably on bait or shiners or nightcrawlers, in the cold, instead of lures.