New Jersey Fishing Report - May

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New Jersey Fishing Report - May

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North Jersey
A few shad, not many, and mostly small bucks, filtered up the Delaware River near the shop, said Bill from Bill’s Bait & Tackle in Phillipsburg. The few roe that were bagged weighed hardly more than 6 pounds apiece. But the run could change with some rains. Trout anglers, although they remained scarce, gave rave reviews about the sizes and numbers of the salmonids hooked. On Pohatcong Creek, Leonard Rogers, Pohatcong Township, drilled a 4-pound 5-ounce brown trout, and Russ Oplinger, Phillipsburg, banked a 4-pound 3 pounce brown trout. On the Musconetcong, John Chesney, 9, Phillipsburg, walloped a 4-pound 9-ounce brown, and Mark Laros, Phillipsburg, pulled up a 3-pound 9-ounce Palomino trout. Rocky Haley, Phillipsburg, fished the Delaware River and scored a 5-pound brown.
The Passaic River doled out a few northern pike that slammed large spoons, said Adrian from Fairfield Fishing Tackle in Montvale. Be sure to pick up the shop’s Passaic River Pike Map. Trouters on the local streams mostly dunked Power Bait or worked silver spinners but also cast flies when winds were calm. Pickerel were certainly on the chew in the lakes, so when trout fishing drops off, a tangle with the water wolves is an option. Panfish were also actively feeding on the lakes, and boaters slowly jigged tubes or white jigs for a hook-up.

Anglers on the lake mostly chased walleyes and hybrid stripers, said Laurie from Dow’s Boat Rentals in Lake Hopatcong. Live herring but sometimes silver stick baits got the attention from walleyes to 6 pounds in the shallows, and the livelined baitfish also drew the strikes from the hybrids in the skinny waters. A 5.3-pound brown was trolled on a Rapala early in the week.

Anglers had a field day on trout, said Al from Meltzer’s Sporting Goods in Garfield. The Saddle River was the place to land small browns to 11 inches, and No. 1 or 2 Mepps spinners, again in silver, scored within minutes. The Ramapo River ran low, so largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing on Greenwood Lake was a better choice, and try tossing jerk baits or medium shiners. One angler bailed nine smallies and four bucketmouths, and another loaded up on 11 largemouths.

Fishing for rainbow and brown trout, big ones to 20 and 24 inches or 6 pounds, was on fire at Round Valley Reservoir, and a few lucky anglers reeled in golden trout to 8 pounds, said Chris from Lebanon Bait & Sport Shop. The Round Valley Trout Association just stocked the lunkers, and shiners, small Rapalas, Mepps spinners and Roostertails all hooked up.

Rainbow trout were on a tear on the South Branch of the Raritan River near Clinton, said Ron from Ray’s Sport Shop in North Plainfield. Size-1 gold Mepps spinners pinned down the fish, and fly anglers got bites on size-14 red quills or size-16 caddis flies, but matching the hatch on any given trip was also a good idea. Bigmouth bass started to come off the spawn and feed again, and plastics were beginning to entice an attack. Seven-inch plastic lizards in pumpkin seed were one way to go. Plastic worms or crawfish in the same color were the next choice when the lizards failed to pan out.

Central Jersey
Trout were stocked in the lakes, jumping on live bait, namely fathead minnows, and also sucking down nightcrawlers, said Ron from Efinger’s Sporting Goods in Bound Brook. One customer fished the South Branch of the Raritan River and came up with a 6-pound brown trout that walloped a Rapala Husky Jerk, and another also hit the South Branch and claimed a 4.4-pound brown that ate a mealworm. The river was producing well on browns, and either minnow-imitation lures or bait—fathead minnows, salted minnows or nightcrawlers—got the job done.
Catching a largemouth bass was still tricky, because the fish were a bit reluctant to feed after coming off the spawn, but catches did start to gain steam, said Andrew from L&H Woods & Water in Wall. A small number of the fish were landed at Manasquan Reservoir, and live bait might be the best producer at this point. But spinners could also work. Plastics on Carolina rigs should get the nod a little later and throughout the summer. Andrew noted that the bass will not be stocked at the impoundment this year.

Lake Riviera seemed the largemouth bass fishing capital of the county, sometimes giving up fish as big as 6 pounds, said Dennis from Murphy’s Hook House in Toms River. The bucketmouths and also crappie could also be found at Manasquan Reservoir. Plenty of trout were played at Lake Shenandoah on Power Baits or small spinners in silver or white, and the dam on the western lake was the hot spot. A few white perch were pulled from the Toms River.

Gropp’s Lake was the place to pick a fight with crappie, said Eric from Harry’s Army and Navy in Robbinsville. Trout stockings were going down, and Dam 19 on the Delaware Raritan Canal was a top locale to get a hook-up. Mercer Lake and Lake Assunpink put out largemouth and smallmouth bass. Herring schooled the Delaware River on incoming tides, for those who wanted a last chance to stock up on the baits for striped bass fishing. The run was slower than the previous week, and the migration was surely on the downswing, but the baitfish were still around.

Garden worms and red mealworms did wonders to keep anglers busy with crappie catches at Colliers Mills, said Tony from the Sportsmen’s Center in Bordentown. Trout anglers on the small streams fared well on rainbows and browns on lures such as Blue Fox spinners or Panther Martins.

South Jersey
Small, stocked rainbow trout were teeming at Tuckerton Lake, said Scott from Scott’s Bait & Tackle in Mystic Island. Power Baits or mealworms grabbed the bites, and a trip up to Pohatcong Creek was a good bet for trout angling, too. Fishing for largemouth bass or yellow perch on the local lakes and ponds was sporadic.
Oak Pound offered up trout, and so did Grenloch Lake, said Ed from Creek Keepers Bait & Tackle in Blackwood. Soak mealworms or cast Roostertails to try your luck. Largemouth bass fishing was waking up after the spawn at Blackwood Lake, and shiners were mostly the favored bait, but stick baits scored at sunrise and sunset. Sometimes only livies will work during the post spawn.

Bucketmouth bass were sometimes staking out the spawning beds, said Lou from the Sportsman’s Outpost in Williamstown. So they were reluctant to feed, and anglers had to draw a reaction strike. Previously bass anglers were beginning to work rubber worms, lizards and such. Trout could still be caught, and now was actually the best time to trout fish, because the crowds during the opening of the season were thinning out. One final trout stocking will take place tomorrow on the Maurice River at Garden Road. Iona Lake, Oak Pond and Grenloch Lake also held trout. Striped bass fishing was slow on the Maurice River, though an occasional linesider was banked. The river’s herring run also tapered off.

A good number of largemouth bass were spawning, said Steve from Blackwater Sports Center. Lots of customers were throwing Senkos to force an annoyance strike along the spawning beds, and a new plug, the Matt Lures Bluegill, gained much attention from anglers fishing the spawn. The female bass could be quick to punch a bluegill and remove it from the beds. They’d also sometimes hammer the usual Jig-N-Pigs and other flip baits. Trout anglers could fill the creel at the Maurice River, Iona Lake and Giampetro Park Pond. Pickerel as always could be beat on most local lakes, and no lake was better than another, and minnows or inline spinners were a good choice. A few striped bass, nothing crazy, were picked on the Maurice River and on the Great Egg Harbor River at Mays Landing. Dunk bloodworms on the Maurice, and cast Bomber lures on the Great Egg. Herring sometimes schooled up the river
s, and anglers were hoping for one more run before the end.
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