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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, September 12.

| New York | New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY WEDNESDAY
Last Week's Report
NEW YORK

Salmon River

“It’s hot,” said Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service about the weather. Salmon River was raised Friday and Saturday and then dropped back down to 335 cubic feet per second, the fall mean level. That happens every Labor Day weekend so that the river is raised from summertime’s low water to a better level for salmon to migrate in from Lake Ontario. Sometimes that causes a surge of salmon to swim into the river a moment. But that didn’t happen this time, and the fish continued to trickle in. The migration is just beginning. Once in a while an angler ran into salmon that wanted to bite. The water Monday was probably 73 to 75 degrees upstream and 76 or 77 downstream because of the hot weather. Jay likes the water to be in the mid-60s for salmon fishing. So the river has 10 degrees to drop, but that can happen quickly. His trips landed a couple of salmon on black wooly buggers in past days. He wasn’t experimenting much with different flies yet and used an old standard like the wooly bugger instead. Finding the right location to fish seemed more important. Persistence was key. Boaters on Lake Ontario still caught salmon fine. Those fish will shove into the river to spawn before long. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides.

NEW JERSEY

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale tried fishing for hybrid striped bass at Lake Hopatcong with bait on Friday, he said. He heard about some biting, but none hit the bait. Instead, a bunch of white perch, two brown bullheads and some sunfish did. That was deep down, and then he trolled. That walloped a 6-pound hybrid on a Jointed Rapala. The fight from hybrids is unreal, he said. Hopatcong fished well for bass recently. Dave’s friend Paul Schmidt’s club the Northeast Bassmasters held a tournament Saturday on Hopatcong. About 15-pounds was the winning weight. That was for three smallmouth bass and two largemouth bass, and competitors entered one other smallmouth, according to the club’s website. Largemouths made up the rest of the catches. Paul didn’t fare well at the fishing that day, Dave said, but 15 pounds wasn’t a bad winning weight. A largemouth heavier than 5 pounds was the lunker. Dave on Saturday fished Paulinskill River while wading, drilling 13 smallmouths, one largemouth and a sunfish on a Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bug. Smallmouths really fight. They only weighed up to 2 pounds, but fought hard in the current. The river ran high. Dave mostly catches trout on the Paulinskill in spring. Trout surely swam the river currently in late summer. But warm-water fish like smallmouths and sunnies bite in the river this time of year. Those species surely swim the river in spring, too. They just seem reluctant to bite when the water’s cold during cooler seasons, just like the trout seem reluctant in warm water. He saw no other anglers during the trip, and had blow-ups or misses at almost every spot he fished on the river.

One customer fished Delaware River for smallmouth bass but landed a big striped bass, a surprise, near the Milford Bridge, said Don from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. Kids stopped in all the time to buy nightcrawlers and garden worms, saying they caught sunnies, largemouth bass and lots of pickerel at ponds. Anybody catching big fish is usually fishing deep, cool water in the heat, Kevin from the shop told Don. Another one of the crew from the store fly-fished for trout last week, and the water was cloudy because of rain. Water levels at trout streams had been dropping in dryer weather. More rain is forecast for this week. If customers trout fish, they mostly fish flies during this hot, buggy time of year. Streams often run low this time of year, another reason the fly-fishing is popular. Many anglers avoid trout fishing in summer, because warm water can kill the fish during the fight.

Lots of crappies bit at Spruce Run Reservoir, said Keith from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. A customer bought live herring from the store to fish for hybrid striped bass at Spruce on Monday, but only angled big crappies on the livelined baitfish. The reservoir’s hybrid fishing became slower, anglers said. Delaware River’s water level dropped, and good catfishing and smallmouth bass fishing were hung from the river. The Delaware had been flooded. Largemouth bass fishing was great at Oxford Lake this week. Anglers clocked them from shore, mostly buying 5-inch Yamamoto worms in any green-pumpkin pattern for the fishing. Northern pike, big and lots, were smashed at Budd Lake, though that usually never happens until fall. Mostly top-water lures like Zara Spooks were fished for them. But so were buzz baits and swim baits. Weather became hot again this week, keeping anglers to a minimum. But cool weather is forecast for the weekend, and that will get anglers out.

Not much fishing was happening on the lake the past couple of weeks, said Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong in a phone call today. Heat and rain seemed to cause fewer anglers to fish. But she just got word about a few walleyes and crappies tugged in yesterday, and she was possibly going to send an emailed report with details soon. The lake’s water level was above normal and good for fishing. The water will begin to be lowered at the end of the month for dock repairs. But good fishing should continue for a time afterward.

Passaic River near the shop’s water level dropped, and the river’s anglers reeled in largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, said Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. The river was flooded previously. One angler reported catching a small northern pike and a catfish from the river, and said he looked forward to fishing for big pike this month on the Passaic. September should fish well for the pike, if rain doesn’t flood the river too much. Not a lot of anglers fished, but those who did, caught. In saltwater, fluke anglers seemed either to get into keepers or catch a mess of just undersized. More keepers seemed around than earlier this summer. Saltwater anglers anticipate fall’s migrations of striped bass and large bluefish. Snapper bluefish were in currently. Crabbing was good last week.

For largemouth bass, spinner baits and buzz baits seemed to catch best, said Virginia from Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River. Senko worms also connected, but the commotion from the spinners and buzz baits seemed better. Largemouths were tied into well at Manasquan Reservoir and Spring Lake. The reservoir fished well for just about all species. Many customers fished Pine Lake Park in Manchester for yellow perch and crappies with nightcrawlers or killies. Catfish chomped in evenings at Lake Riviera, Lester’s Lake across from the mall, and Ocean County College Pond. A big pickerel was reported from the Toms River at Trilco. Tons of sunfish bit at lakes. Most species, except largemouth bass, seemed hooked on bait, mostly nightcrawlers or killies, in the heat of this season. Water levels were good. Trout anglers hope the levels stay up for fall trout stocking in October. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Fishing was good in freshwater, except it slowed during periods of oppressive heat, a report said on Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown’s Facebook page. Early mornings fished best. A 4-pound pickerel was yanked from Iona Lake on a green Yamasenko. An angler totaled five largemouth bass to 3 pounds at Lake Lenape from shore on minnows. Someone fished Cooper River at night, beating catfish to 6 pounds on nightcrawlers and more than a dozen carp on Magic Carp Bait.

Many anglers seemed to wait out the heat instead of fishing, and lakes were just hot, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. But Union Lake holds some deeper, cooler water and gave up quite a few largemouth bass, actually. Union’s been fishing well for them for some time, Steve reported in past weeks. In saltwater, plenty of summer flounder continued to be boated on the ocean and also Delaware Bay. A bunch of white perch nibbled in brackish rivers and creeks along the bay. On the offshore ocean, tuna were caught, and white marlin fishing was lit up. Closer to shore, lots of mahi mahi were in.