Mon., Jan. 22, 2018
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Freshwater Report

Report from Wednesday, January 17.

| New York | New Jersey | Last Week's Report |
New Jersey
Ice was still fished in New Jersey, said Brian from Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna. This has become a long ice season compared with recent years. Not much open water was available to fish. But some customers seemed to live for ice-fishing. Weather warmed toward the end of last week but became cold again. All usual places were ice-fished, including Lake Hopatcong, Lake Musconetcong, Budd Lake and Mt. Hope Pond. Mostly yellow perch and chain pickerel were reported pasted. A few walleyes were tackled at Swartswood Lake. For open-water anglers, Pequest River could be worked for trout near the hatchery. Brian assumed flies like midges, small wooly buggers and small blue-winged olives could catch. Ice made fishing difficult on most trout streams.

Ice-fishing was awesome at Lake Hopatcong for yellow perch, like at Henderson Cove, said Keith from Hi-Way Sports Shop in Washington. A few fished Spruce Run Reservoir on the ice, nabbing a few yellow perch and crappies. A few northern pike were bombed from Budd Lake’s ice. A couple of big muskies were smashed at Oxford Lake on tip-ups. Ice-anglers fished tip-ups with medium or large shiners and ice-fishing rods with wax worms or mousies on jigs. Edges of lakes became a little sloppy during the warm spell but froze again by Saturday. But be cautious. Keith fished a pond the other day on 10 inches of ice, landing about 50 fish: bluegills, perch, crappies and lots of largemouth bass. He jigged Swedish Pimples with wax worms. A few trout were yanked from Pequest River and South Branch of the Raritan River in open water. But those waters were iced over like every other day.

Several muskies 43 to 47 inches were hammered and released through the lake’s ice on tip-ups, Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong wrote in an email. Lots of yellow perch and chain pickerel and several walleyes were cleaned up. Even some smallmouth bass, she said, were reported toggled through the lake’s ice. The ice averaged 8 to 10 inches thick, and shorelines somewhat opened during the rain late last week. But colder weather froze them again. The Knee Deep Club will hold an ice-fishing tournament on the lake 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The store will be open at 5:30 a.m. that day for the contest.

Cheryl from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Pine Brook said 4 inches of snow fell where she lives near Lake Hopatcong this morning. But the ground was free of snow at the store. She exhibited at last weekend’s Garden State Outdoor Show, so heard only a little about local fishing. Anglers ice-fished at Budd Lake. Some said Hopatcong was fished on the ice, but she heard little first-hand about that. At Lake Musconetcong near where she lives, she saw open water at the thruway.

Lakes were frozen over, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center in Vineland. Ice-fishing is unpopular this far south in New Jersey, because the ice usually never freezes long enough to create interest. Maybe a line could be cast to open water at spillways. Otherwise, fishing was at a standstill in this part of the state until a thaw. Anglers might’ve hoped the water would open because of last week’s warm spell. But the ice was uncommonly thick, never completely thawed, and began to build again in cold weather that returned.