Boaters tried for walleyes on Delaware River, but caught none, said Joe from Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. The fish weren’t even marked, so either the walleyes weren’t there, or they swam along bottom, eluding the fish finder. The river’s walleye fishing usually peaks in January and February, so the season could be early. But anglers need to try for them if they want to find out. The Delaware’s level was up a bit, but started to come back down, after last week’s storm. Trout streams ran low and clear, and rains from the storm raised them, but the streams rise and drop quickly from waters like that. Customers who trout fish mostly work Big Flatbrook, sometimes Paulinskill River. The Flatbrook, for instance, is a steep enough grade, and is short enough, to rise and drop quickly. The Delaware is a much longer river affected by rains over a large geographical area. Some of the lakes had started to skim over with ice in mornings. But days this week warmed to almost 55 degrees, so the ice didn’t stick around. Next week is supposed to be colder, though.
Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale fished Greenwood Lake with a client Saturday, but the fishing wasn’t good Dave said. Nothing bit, and Dave knew the fishing could be tough, because of the time of year, but the client wanted to fish. Dave didn’t charge the angler for the trip, and told him to come back in May to fish for walleyes. The water was 44 to 45 degrees, but the day was beautiful, with calm wind. Ice had to be broken to launch the boat, but the rest of the lake was open. Quite a few boats were on the water. Fish can certainly still be caught from lakes, and Dave plans to keep fishing them at least by himself. He fished a lake two days after Christmas last year. Something just affected the fish during the trip, he thinks, and fish in cold waters this time of year bite during small windows of time. They still have to eat, but anglers need to be there when they do, and practically need to clunk the fish on the head with the hook to catch. Fish are cold blooded, so they’re the same low temperature as the water, and are moving slowly. Live bait becomes effective in the cold. A hooked baitfish will entice bites if clunked on a fish’s nose. Anglers need to fish slowly. Lakes definitely turned over by now, and that means that the waters will be the same temperature from top to bottom. Fish will be spread all over a lake as a result, instead of schooled in certain temperatures. Lots of baitfish were marked schooling along bottom, though. In lakes like Greenwood that Dave fishes, muskies, walleyes and crappies could currently bite. Dave has reeled in muskies as late as December 6, and he knows about Canadian guides who are still musky fishing. Dave saw a report from a New Jersey angler who tackled a tiger musky recently. Dave also might trout fish on streams, and some good catches of them are being made. He scored well on trout at streams in February last year, and hardly any other anglers fished the waters. Catch Dave’s article on trolling that’s scheduled to be published in On the Water magazine’s January issue. Live to Fish Guide Service guides trips for muskies, walleyes, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, panfish, trout, carp and more. Lakes fished include Greenwood, Lake Hopatcong, Monksville Reservoir, Echo, Mountain and Furnace. Rivers fished include the Flatbrook, Pequest, Paulinskill and Ramapo.
Trout streams ran a little higher than before, finally, said Mike from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. That was because of rains during last week’s storm. Not much was heard about trout fishing, but if anglers fish for them, Power Bait or midges will probably catch. Most customers who freshwater fished traveled to upstate New York to fish for steelheads on the Salmon River and other Lake Ontario tributaries. Many customers fished saltwater for striped bass and blackfish. Many small stripers seemed to swim the state’s northern coast, and sometimes that happens toward the end of the migration. But larger stripers reportedly schooled beyond 3 miles from shore, where striper fishing is closed. Maybe they’ll swim back inshore. Blackfishing sounded good.
Though Passaic River ran low, anglers could probably wrestle northern pike there if they found the honey holes, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The pike bite pretty much year-round, and will probably swipe shiners or big spinners or buzz baits. A few customers bought Power Bait to fish the winter trout stocking at Verona Park Lake. One angler bought worms to fish for trout someplace. A couple of customers trolled a few trout at Round Valley Reservoir, mostly on small spoons. One boated good-sized rainbow trout at the impoundment.