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Report from Wednesday, May 20.

| North Jersey | South Jersey | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY WEDNESDAY
North Jersey
Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale began trolling for muskies for the season on two trips on a lake, he said. But the fish of 10,000 casts didn’t bite, and the lake seemed yet to stratify much. The lake’s surface was 67 degrees, and the water was warming in warm weather, but apparently not enough. Air temperature reached 86 degrees on one of the trips, but the water surface wasn’t especially warm, and underneath didn’t hold drastically cooler water, like will happen eventually, this fishing season. A thermocline seemed yet to develop much. Trolling needs that thermocline, so the fish can be picked off in that layer where they prefer to hold. Anglers casting lures were catching muskies. That was obviously in the shallows, but trolling is in the deep. Dave has caught three-quarters of his muskies while casting. But he wants to hone his trolling skills, so was determined to stick with that, and did learn things. He trolled four rods, two very short poles, and two longer, to keep from tangling. The short rods kept the lures near the boat, but muskies aren’t shy about a boat, will hit right near the vessel. The only difficulty about four rods is that when a fish hits, clearing the other rods is a challenge, when fishing solo, like Dave was. His first musky last year was trolled in the first days of June, and the surface temperature was 67 degrees. Maybe the angling is about to happen. Anglers who cast landed a 47-inch muskie at Oxford Furnace Lake and a 36-incher at Greenwood Lake recently. The mostly non-stratified water might’ve kept trolling from catching, but muskies could also be in post-pawn, beaten up, and reluctant to feed. That should change soon. Largemouth bass apparently bit well, and Dave also fishes for them. Largemouths must be released through June 15, for spawning, and he saw a boater reel in a largemouth. Anglers at the docks talked about good largemouthing. Dave also fishes for walleyes, mostly at night, when walleyes push into shallows this time of year, and can be nailed on cast lures. He saw photos of walleyes taken at Lake Hopatcong at night lately, and Dave’s best fishing for them has been in May and June, into July. Walleyes move into shallows at night this season to forage on spawning herring. The angling can be a blast and unique. The night can be pitch black, and equipment like head lamps are used. Walleyes, big, tasty fish, members of the perch family, smash the plugs, crush them, along the surface. Dave most recently plugged for trout on streams including Paulinskill River this season, covered in previous reports here. A friend landed 15 trout, about five on an orange and gold Rapala lure, and the rest on worms, on the Paulinskill recently. The river ran somewhat low, and plugging is best in spring’s high water, so hang-ups, like on logs, can be avoided. But streams were still able to be plugged, and trout stocking on streams like the Paulinskill was supposed to continue through this week, before ending for the season. Catch Dave giving a talk about fishing structure for the East Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited at 7:30 p.m. June 10 at the American Legion hall at 33 West Passaic Street in Rochelle Park.

Trout streams ran low, and rose a little, because of recent rain, but not much, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Anglers sometimes banked trout in the streams, targeting pockets for deeper water, with caddis emergers and mayfly emergers. Fishing for largemouth bass and walleyes improved at Lake Hopatcong. He was unsure what the fish bit, but guessed live bait. Largemouths are required to be released through June 15, because of spawning. The last time shad were heard about from Delaware River, they migrated far upstream. In saltwater, abundant bluefish had been going nuts.

Herring began to spawn, so the lake’s nighttime fishing for walleyes and hybrid striped bass began to pick up, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. They smacked top-water lures, and gold was a popular color this past week. Crappies and chain pickerel were angled. Some trout were still caught. The Knee Deep Club held a walleye tournament on the lake last weekend. Somewhat fewer entrants turned out than last year, maybe because of forecasts for rough weather. Storms rolled in on Saturday evening that “seemed to put a damper on things,” she said. But several 7-pound walleyes were pasted during the contest. The Club will hold its Stu Lant Tournament on June 28 on the lake. The contest will be for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, and previously was for multiple species.

There was lots to report, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. Northern pike were turned on in Passaic River. Catfish were yanked from the river, and sometimes carp were. Smallmouth bass and a few largemouth bass were socked from the river. Both species of bass must be released, by law, through June 15, because of spawning. At small lakes, some of them private, largemouths and crappies bit everywhere. Lots of fun in freshwater now, she said. From saltwater, anglers who fished for striped bass complained about abundant bluefish. Stripers were still around to be caught, but so many blues got in the way. Many out-of-season fluke were hooked and released, and fluke season will be opened starting Friday. Definitely lots of fishing, lots of catching, she said.