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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, July 23.

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North Jersey
Big Flatbook ran warm and a little low, but trout were still picked in the no-kill zone, said Andy from Stokes Forest Sport Shop in Sandyston. Mostly midges hatched, but some sulfurs still did. Many of the fish were hooked on beetle and hopper flies. Customers who trout fish mostly work the Flatbrook. Delaware River’s “been weird,” he said. The water’s been murky most of the time, but started to clear. Smallmouth bass and catfish were yanked from the river, even if the water was somewhat colored. On lakes, crappies were flung-in on tackle like tiny jigs. Largemouth bass fishing was improving a little on lakes, but didn’t seem as good as it should be. Spinner baits and rubber worms including Senkos caught them. Those were the easiest to catch them on, he said. Walleyes were wrangled from Swartswood Lake, usually in early mornings or late in the day, mostly on livelined herring, sometimes on nightcrawlers.

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale nailed his best-ever stretch of fishing Sunday night to Monday morning, on Greenwood Lake, he said. On Sunday night, a client and his son aboard whaled 19 walleyes 3 to 6 pounds and a 7-pound hybrid striped bass, releasing all. Dave the next morning headed back out on the lake, and trolled and released a 25- to 30-pound musky. The night fishing was one of the charters aboard that plug for walleyes in the dark. The angling previously this season was yet to rack up large numbers of the fish, like in the teens. But this trip changed all of that. Dave had warned the anglers that this was late in the season for the fishing, or he couldn’t know how many of the fish still swam the shallows, where they can be plugged. Walleyes push into the skinny water to forage on spawning herring at night around this time of year. He couldn’t stop netting the fish for the anglers, who caught them one after another, and was almost tired of netting. The son also hooked something especially big that got off, and whether the fish was a walleye or a musky was unknown. The father landed the hybrid, and Greenwood supposedly holds no hybrids, but Dave landed a smaller one there previously. He sent a photo of this trip’s hybrid to the state. All the trip’s fish were plugged on Rapala Original Floating Lures in size F18, a 7-incher, the largest. Rain fell a little, and the water was somewhat choppy and 76 to 77 degrees. It’s usually as warm as 80 this time of year. Weather has felt like fall in the middle of the night on the lake. Walleyes were quite active from midnight to 3 a.m. lately, and in the morning, the anglers almost decided to troll for muskies, but decided they were too tired, calling it a trip instead. But Dave headed back out for the morning, began trolling three rods for muskies, and the 25- to 30-pounder was hooked. But the fish wrapped the line around something on the boat, and broke off. Incredibly, a line on one of the other rods hooked the broken line, and Dave reeled in the fish. It was huge, and Dave measured the musky at 46 ½ inches in the water. It was probably 47 inches, if he had measured out of the water, and was probably 8 to 10 inches across the back. The fish was tagged by the state, but Dave didn’t get the info from the tag, and quickly released the musky instead. He’s been trolling muskies 7 to 15 feet down in the cool thermocline, and this one was hooked in 38 feet of water. His trips have landed four muskies larger than 20 pounds this year. Fishing was slower on a walleye trip aboard Friday night with another angler and his son. But they plugged two walleyes on the F18s, and seemed happy, and the trip was good, Dave said. He also fished on another trip last week on Lake Hopatcong with his young nephew and the nephew’s friend, and they reeled in some largemouth bass and one smallmouth bass on Cabin Creek Spider Jigs. Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt from the Northeast Bass Masters told Dave that bass fishing’s been incredible during the club’s tournaments this year. Entrants have put up heavy weights, and one entered a 7-1/2-pound largemouth recently. Most of the tournaments were held on Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake. Dave wasn’t asked whether the tournaments were catching largemouths or smallmouths, but in a previous report, he talked about the club finding mostly smallmouths on Greenwood. Last year’s virus in largemouths at Greenwood seemed to affect the population there.

Largemouth bass fishing picked up at Lake Hopatcong and most lakes, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. The usual Keitech jigs and Senko worms latched into them, and Jitter Bugs, Hula Poppers and Zara Spooks connected. Rubber-frogging was just starting to draw strikes. Not much was heard about trout streams, because of rain and weather. This was summer, and the streams can become warm for trouting. But the water stayed cooler this year, and hatches came off later. Isonychia’s usually finish hatching by now, but still flew. Tiny flies like Tricos would usually be the selection currently. Smallmouth bass were socked on Delaware River, and Brian, who fishes the river for them, would probably fish a Keitech for the bronzebacks. Nothing was heard about hybrid striped bass, Brian said when asked. He remembered that someone said something about a few walleyes.

Dominic Sarinelli weighed-in a 10-pound hybrid striped bass from the lake, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. He also landed several 5- to 6-pounders, all on livelined herring. Paul Grel whacked several walleyes to an 8-pound 4-ouncer at night. Richard Hilton plugged a 5-pound 9-ounce largemouth bass along a dock at Nolan’s Point. Jim Welsh scored several sizeable smallmouth bass, several large crappies and a 3-pound 4-ounce bullhead catfish on a trip. The Knee Deep Club will hold a catfish tournament on the weekend of August 9 and 10 on the lake.

Catfish were eased from Passaic River, and fishing for the river’s northern pike was “starting,” said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. Nightcrawlers clubbed the cats, and live bait or Blue Fox spinners took the pike. The river ran a little high, but that failed to stop anglers from fishing the water. Customers complained that Lake Hopatcong’s fishing was tough. Those fishing saltwater drifted the bays for fluke.