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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, September 30.

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North Jersey
Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service tried something different, fishing for hybrid striped bass on Lake Hopatcong on Sunday, he said. The trip, with his young nephew and the nephew’s friend, nailed two hybrids, one good-sized, and the other somewhat smaller, on livelined herring. A sizable white perch was also landed, and a couple of bites were missed. The herring were fished at a drop-off from 25 to 40 feet deep that was marked on the fish finder. To find hybrids, baitfish need to be found in the water, Dave said. Four long, stiff crappie rods were fished with 6-pound test in the rod holders. The herring were rigged on Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Pro Baiter bait hooks on a 4-foot, fluorocarbon leader attached to the main line with a barrel swivel, with a small egg sinker above the swivel. The hybrids seemed to school 25 to 38 feet deep. “Wow, what a fight!” Dave said about the fish, nicknamed “rockets,” because of the fight. The lake was 69 degrees, cooler than before, but still warm. Lakes in the area usually turn over in October or November, probably when the water temperature drops to the low 60 degrees or high 50s, he said. Currently, lakes were warmer toward the surface than along the bottom. When they turn over, the water will become the same temperature from top to bottom. Strong windy weather will trigger the turn over, and fishing will be terrible a moment afterward. Then fishing will pick back up. When the water is all one temperature, fish will be found anywhere in the water. They’ll have no thermoclines or certain water temperatures to gather in. Fishing already seemed to be changing on lakes, because of the dropping water temperatures and change of seasons. Dave trolled for muskies solo on a couple of trips on Greenwood Lake in the past week. On one trip, a small musky or large walleye was hooked a while but got off, and was never seen. The other trip hooked no muskies, the fish of 10,000 casts. Dave saw a photo of a huge, 50-inch musky that another angler landed on Greenwood last week on a Relax jig, a soft-plastic lure popular in Europe.

Anglers hoped the rain in the forecast would help trout fishing in rivers and streams, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Most rivers ran low in the drought, and trout didn’t really bite in the warm water. Musconetcong River was one of the only with better water flow, because water was released from the dam into the river. Big Flatbrook ran very low. If anglers fly-fished for trout, they usually fished small flies. Trout held in pods in cooler water, like in deeper holes. Anglers could practically find the fish whenever they wanted, because of that. Hybrid striped bass fishing picked up on Lake Hopatcong. Anglers hoped the rain helped all fishing, because of the drought.

Passaic River ran low, not as low as previously, but still pretty low, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. A couple of customers headed to carp fish on the river, but no results were heard. Wasn’t a lot of news about fishing, maybe because of windy weather and the time of year. But fish were still active and could be caught. In saltwater, surf fishing began to give up a little action. Larry from the shop beached a 24-inch striped bass, his first of the season, from the surf at Sandy Hook, on a bottle plug, on Monday. Wind often assaulted the surf lately, but some catches seemed to be made from the water.