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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, March 27.

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

Adirondack Mountains

Ice-fishing might be lasting later than during some winters on the lake, said Renee from FISH307.com in Lake George. The crew at the shop is telling anglers to be careful about pressure cracks, bubblers and stuff like that. Participation is slowing. But customers are still heading to the lake for ice-fishing. Walleye and northern pike seasons closed this past week. Renee fished Paradox Lake on the ice on Sunday. A buddy nailed an 8-1/2-pound 32-1/2-inch lake trout during the trip. Renee jigged a couple of smaller lakers. The ice was 2 feet thick on Paradox. The top 4 or 5 inches was “garbage” ice, but the rest was crystal clear. Renee has ice-fished as late as early May, but far north. A lot of ice-fishing bait ran out of stock. More will arrive Thursday, but not the variety like in the middle of winter. FISH307.com is both an online store and a brick-and-mortar one, located near the south entrance to the Adirondacks. Click on the link for great clearance sales on ice tackle.

Anglers still fished the ice on Great Sacandaga Lake, said Amanda from Fuel-n-Food in Mayfield. That was mostly for yellow perch, because some fishing seasons closed, including walleye season that closed beginning Saturday. Walleyes were reeled from the lake’s ice previously. Ice-fishing was winding down for now, because of the closed seasons, and because this was the time of year for the fishing to begin to end. Still, ice was fished. Some anglers headed north to fish ice at other lakes where weather was colder. Fuel-n-Food is a gas station and café and includes a good selection of fishing bait and tackle. The crew can point you in the right direction for fishing.

Salmon River and Western New York Streams

Creeks in western New York, around Rochester, iced-out, said Jay Peck from Jay Peck Guide Service. They became free of ice, in other words, and began to settle after high water from melting. Waters remained high but were manageable for fishing. He ran a trip Tuesday that angled brown trout on the creeks on chartreuse wooly buggers. Those flies worked because the water was a little dirty. Zonker streamers and egg flies in Oregon cheese color will also work. The browns are huge because they summer in Lake Ontario. He fishes for them in the creeks in fall before the creeks freeze and in late winter and early spring, once the ice melts, before the trout head back to the lake. All creeks and rivers were fishing now. Ice was no longer a hindrance, and water levels were manageable. Two hours to the east, Salmon River fished for steelheads. The Salmon ran at 750 cubic feet per second, a good level for fishing, up from 335 previously. Jay expected the Salmon not to rise anytime soon, because no substantial precipitation was forecast in the near future. If anything, he expected the level to drop a little. The river could be raised if authorities decide to lower the reservoir. But Jay suspected the river would drop a little if anything. If anglers get sunshine and bug activity on the river, the steelheads will bite. Stoneflies are catching them. If bugs are inactive, fish hard and right, and you’ll catch. Lots of steelheads held from mid-river to upper. Jay would imagine that if you wanted to swing streamers on the lower river, you could run into steelheads migrating into the Salmon from Lake Ontario. In other news, ice on lakes and bays began to be sketchy at some places for ice-fishing. Jay heard little about ice-fishing, except that there was ice that was still fished, and ice anglers caught lots of yellow perch. Jay specializes in fly-fishing and catch-and-release, and books trips that fish with conventional tackle with his other guides. Watch a video of spring fishing with Jay Peck Guide Service.

NEW JERSEY

Capt. Dave Vollenweider from Live to Fish Guide Service from Montvale attempted to boat for pre-spawn muskies Sunday at Monksville Reservoir, he wrote in an email. But ice locked up the water surface, and boating was impossible.

Trout fishing was closed on streams that are being stocked, said Don from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. That happened beginning on Monday, and they’ll be reopened on opening day of trout season, April 6. But some waters, including Trout Conservation Areas, remain open. The TCA’s are open to catch-and-release. But some spring fishing began to happen, Kevin from the shop said. Yellow perch and crappies began to be plucked from Lake Hopatcong’s shallow water, like happens this time of year. Small hair jigs can be fished for them with a light presentation. So can Trout Magnets or, for the perch, a meal worm under a bobber. The water’s cold, so the fish can act delicately, and can be skittish after being in dark water under ice. One angler whacked a 5-pound largemouth bass at Hopatcong. At streams where trout fishing is open, Kevin said, early black stoneflies sometimes hatched. Look for them during the warmer part of the day, like around noon or 1 p.m. Someone on Facebook reported getting into a hatch an hour or two. Nothing was heard about landlocked salmon caught from shore at reservoirs that hold those fish. But this is about the time of year when the salmon can be clocked from land on lures like Binsky baits and Cleos. Years ago, fishing like that for lake trout was popular at Round Valley Reservoir. Maybe those fish can still be hooked.

A few anglers fished the lake’s shallow water, reeling in yellow perch and crappies, said Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong. So that fishing was starting, and not much ice remained on the lake. For the perch and crappies, anglers can fish small fathead minnows or tackle including Cubby Mini Mite Jigs, Rufus Jr. Jigs, hair jigs and Trout Magnets under a bobber.

A couple of customers fished Passaic River, picking up crappies and perch here and there, said Larry from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook. But the river currently ran very high. Some fished for trout, including on Pequest River, before many waters became closed to fishing for trout stocking beginning Monday. When the anglers fished the Pequest, they caught nothing in high, fast water.

A few customers left to go chain pickerel fishing, said Dennis from Hook House Bait & Tackle in Toms River. Mostly pickerel and some crappies will be angled now. A token largemouth bass, not many, was hooked. Shiners, killies, nightcrawlers and garden worms are stocked. So are bloodworms for brackish and saltwater. In the brackish Toms River, plenty of striped bass bit, mostly at night and at daybreak. A few were keepers. The fishing was slow during daytime. White perch fishing slowed in the river, probably because the stripers beat the perch to the hook. Winter flounder fishing began to improve in the river. Hook House, located on Route 37, also owns Go Fish Bait & Tackle on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River.

Chain pickerel, yellow perch and a few largemouth bass were grabbed from lakes, said Mike from Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown. Wilson Lake was one place reported to give up the pickerel and perch. Fish a Roostertail for the picks and a jig with a grub for the perch. Some of the bass were reported from Franklinville Lake. They jumped on a Whopper Plopper in the black Loon color.

Pickerel and crappies were hammered away in better weather lately, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. Malaga and Elmer lakes were some places where. Largemouth bass fishing was spotty at best in lakes. When a stretch of warmer days happened, a few began to be reported caught. When weather became cold again, the fishing dropped off. The bass were taken on jerk baits, spinner baits, drop-shots and Rat-L-Traps.