As evident by fishing reports from the last few weeks at Round Valley Reservoir, Shore fishermen and women have been picking up some nice sized Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout. Follow these tips to help you get started on the shore trout action.
Trout are quite wary of boat traffic and shore traffic so getting out on Memorial Day weekend… probably not the most productive day to wet a line. If given the opportunity, get out on weekdays or misty weekends. Also, trout are predatory fish that use the changes in lighting at dawn and dusk to their advantage, targeting disoriented prey or just ambushing unsuspecting fish and insects. There is also very little boat traffic at dawn and dusk.
Spring and Fall Round Valley Trout cruise all around the perimeter of Round Valley seeking out ideal water temps, blooms of Gammarus and schools of baitfish to feed on. One of the most common and effective methods for catching these cruising trout is to fish the dawn or dusk hours, plus an hour or so on either side.
Parking: Some of the great fishing spots like Ranger Cove and the Southern shoreline can only be accessed through The Round Valley Recreation Area. Unfortunately, the recreation area is only open from 8am to 7pm at the moment, but those times change as we get closer to the summer months. Call the park office (908) 236-6355 for current open/close times. Conversely, the fishing lot of the reservoir is open 24/7 to fishermen with a valid NJ fishing license or individuals with a boat ramp maintenance permit.
Fishing Spots: You will have less of a chance of getting snagged on the bottom if you fish from the sandy shore areas. If you fish the rocks, you will definitely get snagged on the bottom so keep this in mind when selecting a spot to drown your bait.
Bait: mealworms, garden worms, marshmallows, live shiners, PowerBait, wax worms, you name it! Any bait can work at any time on the reservoir so mix it up. I like to fish one rod with mealworms and marshmallows (to keep the bait off the bottom), one rod with a garden worm on the bottom and one with a live herring or shiner hooked under the chin and out a nostril fished on the bottom OR fished under a slip bobber and hooked through the dorsal. Remember too that, “When fishing from the shoreline, no more than three fishing rods, handlines or combination thereof may be used”.
Terminal Tackle: small hooks, small weight. I like to use small hooks like size 6, 8 or 10 egg or gamakatsu octopus hooks. These hooks are lightweight allowing the bait to float off the bottom better than bigger or thicker hooks. For the weight I use a barrel sinker just heavy enough to keep the line from drifting. On a calm day fishing worms, ¼ ounce is all you’ll ever need. If you’re fishing live shiners though, go with ¾ or 1 oz. barrel sinker.
Rod, Reel, Tripod: Your reel should be loaded with 6, 8 or 10lb monofilament. Your rod should be delicate enough to notice a finicky trout mouthing at your bait 50yards away. Propping your rod up on a cooler or stick might be free, but it could cost you a missed fish. Invest a few bux on a collapsible tripod and lay your rod tip low to the water to minimize the effects of wind on your line.
Lights: Get yourself a headlamp. Both your hands will be free for fishing, knot tying and more.
Chair: Bring a comfy chair, some warm clothes, follow the above advice and you’ve put yourself into a great position to get lucky.