Musky fishing’s been tough, for some reason, said Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service. On a trip with a couple of anglers Sunday that cast lures for muskies on a lake aboard, two follows were scored, but no hook-ups were. Dave’s also been pounding lakes on the troll for muskies, but none have bitten. The lures have swum in front of the fish, he’s been sure. The water was 71 degrees on the trip with two anglers. Weather reached 90 degrees Friday and dropped to the low 70s by Sunday. Frost formed at some places in the state. Dave heard a report about hybrid striped bass beginning to bite well at Lake Hopatcong. A trip boated 12, and Dave is supposed to take a client fishing for them this weekend. The trips fish chicken livers, and Dave’s trips nailed the fish well last autumn. An 8-pound largemouth bass was socked at Hopatcong in the past couple of weeks in Dave’s friend’s tournament. Hopatcong’s level will be dropped this coming season like every year for maintenance like dock repairs. But Greenwood Lake, where Dave also fishes, is supposed to be dropped 6 feet or drastically beginning October 11. Many reservoirs suffered from low water in the drought. That included Round Valley Reservoir, and Dave hoped that won’t prevent boat launching there this winter. He whaled trout last winter at Round Valley on the troll, and hopes to do that again.
Trout streams were low, said Don from Ramsey Outdoor. They were also warm, and the season was early for trout fishing. But fall trout stocking is supposed to begin October 11. Customers probably looked forward to that, but probably were concerned whether the streams will hold enough water for stocking. Sometimes trout are stocked in lakes instead, because of low streams. But streams are always low just after summer, and that’s always a concern. So maybe they’ll be okay. Many customers still fished for largemouth bass on lakes, and probably bought top-water lures for the fishing most. Weather was still warm enough for the bass to be aggressive enough to jump on the surface lures. But some customers loaded up on Senko worms, and jigging worms like that along bottom for largemouths was also happening. A customer’s trip on Delaware River plugged small smallmouth bass, but lots, at Dingman’s Ferry on Rapalas. Those who fished seemed to catch. Customers geared up for salmon fishing in upstate New York on Lake Ontario tributaries including Salmon River. They were tying egg sacks and doing stuff like that. Some were headed there this coming weekend. Water levels were good for the salmon fishing.
Passaic River ran very low and was warm, said Bill from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. If anglers fished the deep pools, they could maybe hook a few catfish, maybe smallmouth bass or a northern pike here or there. Whether carp were biting in the river was unknown. A few anglers reeled largemouth bass from lakes now and then. No anglers seemed to be setting the world on fire. This was sort of between seasons for fishing, including for saltwater fishing. In saltwater, fluke season closed beginning Monday, and sea bass season is closed and will be opened starting October 22. Party boats often switched to porgy fishing, and that served up good catches. Tuna trips sailed, but tuna fishing was slow so far. False albacore swam the surf. Bluefish were heard about from the Sandy Hook Rips and Sandy Hook’s surf. Fishing for either was a matter of right place at the right time, finding where the fish chased bait. Sometimes party boats on the ocean began to run into large blues.
Some customers fished Raritan River for smallmouth bass, catching relatively well, said Braden from Efinger Sporting Goods in Bound Brook. That was on Z-Man TRD rubber worms and, “of all things,” he said, larger chatter baits. Anglers already began to fish deeper at Lake Hopatcong for walleyes and hybrid striped bass. They worked 15- to 18-foot depths, where herring schooled. Nothing was heard about trout yet, and trout streams ran low, like before. Reservoirs were also low. Braden heard about a few salmon fly-rodded on upstate New York’s Salmon River. Plenty of the fish seemed stacked in the estuary, and anglers waited for them to migrate upstream. His dad was at the estuary a couple of weeks ago, seeing salmon leaping from the water, but not biting.