Eight to 10 inches of ice covered lakes, and ice-anglers caught on all the usual waters, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. That included on Lake Hopatcong and the local ponds. Anglers even nailed walleyes, big, on Delaware River through the ice, on herring on tip-ups. “But would you fish there at night?” he asked. One angler drilled a hole to fish the river’s ice and saw air underneath. Nobody fished for trout on streams, because the waters were frozen. Mousies and spikes are stocked for ice-fishing, and probably not much longer. Ice tackle is carried, and is beginning to sell out. But tip-ups, ice-fishing line, jigs and more are on hand, probably enough for another two weeks. The second week of March is probably the latest when ice-fishing ever lasted. The middle of lakes will still hold ice, but the edges will thaw.
The Knee Deep Club will hold an ice-fishing tournament Sunday on the lake, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Its previous ice tournament on the lake, two Sundays ago, was cancelled, because of extreme cold and strong wind. Lots of chain pickerel to 4 pounds were smashed through the ice. Vinnie DeStefano checked-in a 4-pound 5-ouncer, and Scott King weighed-in a 3-pound 12-ouncer. “Also seeing some nice perch,” she said, and largemouth bass 2 to 3 pounds. Several muskies to 46 inches were hammered through the ice. “With these extreme cold temps, I think we will be looking at good ice at least through March,” and maybe into early April, she said. “Who knows? They might still be on the ice for opening day of trout!” she said. April 4 is the opening day of trout season.
Reports rolled in about ice up to 22 inches thick on lakes, said Nick from Meltzer’s Sporting Goods in Garfield. Ice-fishing was very good on Lake Hopatcong for yellow perch and crappies. Catches began to be made off River Styx now on the lake. The lake off Woodport also gave up the fish, and also largemouth bass. Walleyes were sometimes cracked at Greenwood Lake through the ice. Crappies supposedly bit there near the bridge. Yellow perch at Greenwood seemed to begin schooling toward the creek for spawning later this year, because they were found on the northern end of the lake. Pompton Lake shoveled up catches through the ice near the bridge and at the three coves. Northern pike were wrestled at the new Doty Road Bridge on the river at Pompton. A bunch of crappies and yellow perch were winged at Waywayanda Lake near the islands. One angler said not only walleyes – some walleyes, not great, but catches – but catfish, loads, were reeled from Delaware River through the ice. Nick didn’t hear what the cats were hooked on, but imagined they were taken on bait like “meat” or maybe shiners or minnows. Meltzer’s just stocked the new Rapala Shadow Raps that are generating excitement and will sell quickly. A tremendous supply of Keitech and Gary Yamamoto soft-plastic lures arrived, including Yamamoto’s Houdini color “that nobody’s got,” Nick said. Like largemouth bass fishing? Nick’s largemouth club is looking for a boater or two to join, because a former member had to leave, because of changing jobs. Non-boaters are also welcomed, but a boater needs to join for another non-boater to be able to fish on the vessel. Email Nick at Daiwa710@aol.com if interested.
Plenty of fishable ice blanketed lakes, said Joe from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The fishing went well at Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake and Split Rock Reservoir. Every place anglers could hit the ice seemed to fish well. Passaic River near the store was frozen yesterday morning but open in the afternoon. Saltwater fishing was dead.