Category Archives: Spruce Run

Evening Fishing at Spruce Run Produces Big Brown Trout

We started this Memorial Day afternoon fishing Spruce Run Reservoir for hybrid striped bass. We were trolling live herring and fished from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and ended the day with a really nice 24 inch, 7.20-lb Brown Trout.

Big NJ Brown Trout

The Hybrid fishing was pretty tough and really slow yesterday with only one Hybrid Bass in the boat for us that my buddy Jason landed; his first of the year!

Fish On

After the one hybrid and after a while of zero action, we began thinking about packing it in for the evening. But just then we had a rod go off and it seemed like a really nice fish so my good friend and usual partner-in-crime Rob S. got the camera rolling.

We weren’t able to really tell what I had on for almost the entire fight, which lasted about 7-minutes, until the fish came up behind the boat at the very end. Although we didn’t know exactly what we had hooked before we saw it, every one of us knew we had something very special on the end of our line as the fight progressed more and more. Several times I got it to within 6 or 7-feet of the boat only to have it bulldog its way straight back down to the bottom.

Brown Trout

Getting the fish into the boat was going to be an issue too since we forgot all our nets in the truck…talk about murphy’s law… My buddy Jason however, landed the fish by hand and he made it look easy!

We decided to keep this big beautiful brown trout and it will be mounted. Yes, we could have released it, but any good Trout fisherman will tell you that Trout stress out very easily; and when you add in a long hard fight like this one gave us in addition to almost 83 degree surface temperatures, release isn’t always the best option when it comes to Trout.

This fish is actually the 3rd Brown we’ve gotten out of Spruce Run over the past three weeks, and the other two (an 18-incher, and another that was 5+ pounds) were released safely since the water temps were still down in the low 60’s at that point and we didn’t have them on the line for anywhere near as long as this one was.

For more info and frequent reports about Spruce Run Reservoir, visit our Spruce Run Fishing Facebook Page.

Fishable Ice on Spruce Run Reservoir

Fishable Ice at Spruce Run Reservoir

While all of Spruce Run Reservoir is not safe for ice fishing or to even walk on, Zach Merchant found four to six inches of fishable ice in one of the coves. Fishing tip ups with live shiners Sunday afternoon, Zach and his buds managed five Perch in an hour and had one of his tip ups spooled before he could get to it. Some nice size Northern Pike were caught through the ice last winter so one can only imagine.

Ice Fishing Tip-Up at Spruce Run

The weather is expected to continue to be very cold between today Sunday 11 Jan. 2015 and Friday 16 Jan. 2015 so the hope is that ice will expand across the lake and get thicker. If you do decide to go out, don’t go alone and as always, safety first! Call the ranger station (908) 638-8572 or visit their site to see if they have more ice info as well. If you’re in need of bait in the area, check out our bait page for some local options.

February 22, 2014 – Spruce Run Ice Fishing Report

Went out and hit the hard water again at Spruce Run Reservoir a few weeks ago on Saturday, February 22 with a few other people for the meet and greet.  I got out a little late, around 8:00 a.m. and most other people had already set up their tip ups, or were almost finished doing so by the time I made it out to everyone.  Between all of us, we had a pretty good spread around us and had pretty much every type of depth and structure covered; from five feet of water, to about 15 or 20 feet of water, river channels, drop offs, and everything in between.  For bait, most people were either using live Shiners, or big dead baits.  It didn’t take all too long for us to get our first few flags, which was on Matt J.’s (The same Matt that taught Chris and I how to fish for Carp) tip up with a big dead bait on the hook.  While this was happening, I was on the other side of our tip up spread finishing up getting my lines in the water, but Matt landed a nice fat 32-inch Pike.

Spruce Run Pike
Matt J. with his fat 32-inch Pike caught on a large dead bait.

Before all that somebody else landed a decently sized Channel Catfish on a live Shiner (Which I missed as well), so we definitely started our day off pretty decently.  About an hour or so after that, Matt got another flag on another dead bait on the bottom, so we started our journey over to his tip up and about half way there the guys that stayed by our stuff started yelling that we had another flag, on the opposite side of our spread of tip ups, and this time it was one of mine.  So Rob J. and I started our way back over that way to my tip up, and by the time we got to it, it had all the line spooled off of it and was doing a little dance in the hole for us.  So I got the tip up out of the hole, immediately felt a fish on the line and set the hook.  After pulling in what felt like a mile of line, I finally got the fish to the hole and the first thing we saw was the big head of a nice Largemouth Bass, and with the help of Rob J. we got it through the hole and onto the ice.  While we didn’t take any exact measurements since we were a good distance from our gear and I wanted to get the fish back into the water, we estimated it to be somewhere around 4 or 5-lbs.

Spruce Run Bass
Me and my 4-5 pound Largemouth Bass caught on a live Shiner about two feet off the bottom in 10-12 feet of water.

Meanwhile, after we took a few pictures and got the Bass back into the water we found out that while we were handling my fish, Matt had landed another 25-inch Pike on a dead bait fished on the bottom.  After that, the action slowed down for probably about an hour or hour and a half.  Though soon enough we got another flag, this time on one of Dave’s tip-ups rigged with a live Shiner, conveniently (For me at least, haha) Dave was too far away from his tip-up when the flag went up, so I was able to get in on the action.  When I got to within 20 feet or so of the tip-up, I could see the spool spinning out like crazy as the fish stripped the line off the spool.  So I got the tip-up out of the hole, set the hook, and started taking line back.  Once I was able to get the fish within reasonable distance of the hole, it went on a pretty strong run and took a few more yards of line back out.  Though that was it’s last big run, we ended up landing a decently sized 25-30 inch Pike.

David Allen with his 25-30 inch Pike caught on a live Shiner.
David Allen with his 25-30 inch Pike caught on a live Shiner.

That ended up being our last fish of the day before I headed out, but I know the guys that stayed behind landed another nice 30+ inch Pike shortly after I left.  Overall I’d say it was a great day of fishing; met some new people and saw a few people I haven’t seen or fished with in a while, catching fish on top of that was really just an added bonus for the day.  All of the fish we landed were in pretty shallow water, about 10-12 feet of water or less, and were all on either live Shiners on or close to the bottom, or big dead baits on the bottom.


Round Valley Fishing Report

I personally have been going to Spruce Run to fish for Pike the past few weeks, so I’m not certain of the current ice condition at Round Valley as of March 6th.  Though I do know that over the past few weeks people have been catching Lakers out in deeper water on Shiners on the bottom under tip-ups, as well as jigging with lures such as Swedish Pimples and Binsky’s.  I’ve also heard that people have been catching Browns and Rainbows in close on Shiners under tip-ups in 5-15 feet of water.  As far as the swimming side goes, I haven’t heard much buzz about fishing on that side, but last time I fished there around mid-February the Pickerel bite was still going strong.  We were having success with them in 5-10 feet of water or less, and were catching on live Shiners under tip-ups set about a foot off the bottom, as well as on jigs such as Binsky’s, Rattle Traps, and Rapala Rippin’ Raps.

Me with a nice Chain Pickerel I caught on one of my last Round Valley trips in mid-February on the swimming side.
Me with a nice Chain Pickerel I caught  (and released) on one of my last Round Valley trips in mid-February on the swimming side.

October 12 & 13, 2013 – Shore Fishing Report

Woke up bright and early at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 12th to meet up with Zach Batren for a full day of fishing.  I managed to get a late start since I fell back asleep after getting everything ready in the morning, but luckily Zach texted me and woke me up before I missed too much.  I arrived at Round Valley around 7:15 a.m. and Zach B. had already landed a beautiful 15-inch Rainbow Trout on rainbow Powerbait.  So I got both of my lines into the water and about an hour later I hooked into another nicely colored Rainbow Trout that took my salmon peach Powerbait.  Within the ten minutes that followed that; the fisherman to my right landed another Trout, and Tom (Who is a regular reader of this website) lost another good fish, which we assume was a Trout.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
My 15-inch Rainbow Trout caught on salmon peach Powerbait

Though after that flurry of action, we didn’t get anything else by the time Chris Moran met up with us around 9:45 a.m. so we gave it until 10:30 called it quits and packed up to change spots.  As we were walking back to our cars, we saw another fisherman fishing on the swimming side with live Shiners about 3-feet under bobbers hook into a nice chunky Chain Pickerel, probably around 25-inches.  So we stopped and talked to him for a little while and he told us he had been getting Pickerel all morning, so we decided to stop and try for a bit.  We didn’t get anything besides a few boils behind our topwater baits we were casting (Zara Spooks, Rapala’s, etc.).  After about 45 minutes or so of that, we headed off to the South Branch of the Raritan River for some more Trout action.  There were definitely a good amount of anglers fishing the stretch of river we were fishing, but none seemed to be catching much of anything as far as we could tell.

South Branch Brook Trout
Zach B. with his 15-inch Brook Trout caught at the South Branch of the Raritan River on a gold Panther Martin

Probably about three minutes in, Zach B. was into a nice fish that hit his gold 1/8-ounce Panther Martin, and after a pretty strong fight he netted a nice 15-inch Brook Trout.  We tried for about another hour and a half or so without anything else besides some Smallmouth Bass Chris had hooked into while bouncing worms along the bottom.  Zach B. and I decided to head on over to Spruce Run to try for some more Pike, Catfish, and Bass.  Unfortunately Chris had to leave for work, so he decided to stay at the South Branch instead of joining Zach and I at Spruce because of his time restrictions.  So Zach and I headed to Spruce and after making a stop at Behre Bait & Tackle for some Herring and another stop for some lunch, we arrived at Spruce Run around 3:00 p.m.  The wind had picked up a good amount since we left Round Valley and was blowing right back into our faces, which made casting out a little challenging at times but we managed to get our lines out perfectly fine.  After waiting for what felt like forever (But in reality was probably only 45 minutes at most) Zach got a hit on one of his lines that took out a decent amount of line, which was shortly followed by a hit on one of my lines that also took out a few feet of line.

Spruce Run Bass
Me with my Smallmouth Bass (Left) and Largemouth Bass (Right); both caught on live Herring

For the majority of our time there, that was all we got; good hits that just didn’t stick the hook.  Though after a while I started to get into some smaller, but decent Channel Catfish, all around 3 or 3.5-lbs or so.  By the time we decided to end our trip around 7:30 p.m. I had landed four Channel Catfish (One away from limiting out), one decent sized Smallmouth Bass, as well as a pretty bulky Largemouth Bass probably around 3-lbs.  Zach B. on the other hand was only able to land one fish by the time we headed out, but he did manage to get the biggest fish of the day; a 23+ inch, approximately 4-lb Channel Catfish.  So we definitely had a great day of fishing overall and we probably would have stayed out longer at Spruce, but we wanted to get back, fillet our fish, and make ourselves a nice fish dinner so we called it a night.

Spruce Run Channel Catfish
Zach B. with his 4-lb Channel Catfish caught on live Herring. Our biggest fish of the day!

The next day (Sunday, October 13) I headed over to DeMott Pond since I woke up too late to go to Round Valley like I had planned.  But I managed to get out to DeMott around 1:30 p.m. and got my lines into the water for some Carp fishing, and as usual I was using sweet corn along with an oat pack.  About 45 minutes after getting my lines into the water, one of my rods gets a hit and starts peeling out drag and I immediately know it’s a Carp.  At first I wasn’t sure how big it was since it swam towards me at first, then to the left instead of straight out like a lot of Carp at DeMott tend to do.  Though as soon as I got it about half way in the real fight started and became a stalemate since every time I would gain a few feet of line, it would take it right back out and we started again back at square one.  After a while, I was finally able to start gaining some ground on the fish and was able to get it close to shore, almost within netting distance.  Right around then is when I got my first real good look at it, and was able to see that it was definitely an above average sized Carp for DeMott.  For a little while it became a stalemate again with the fish holding it’s ground right outside of netting distance, but after a few more minutes it finally began to tire out and after a few attempts, we were finally able to net it.

DeMott Pond Carp
My 25-lb Carp out of DeMott Pond

The fish weighed in at 25-lbs and was around 35-inches in length.  Definitely one of the biggest Carp I’ve been able to pull out of DeMott to this day!  Unfortunately that was the only fish I was able to land that day, though I got a few more hits and bumps that were definitely Carp, but none took.  All in all, despite the fact I only landed one fish, it was a great trip, and if I only land one fish a trip that would definitely be one I wouldn’t mind hauling in!