Category Archives: Trout

September Fishing Report

The Sunday weather was mild, hooded sweatshirt weather in the early morning hours for sure. A fog covered the late and we parked ourselves under a light to help us see what we were doing while setting up our gear…well, Zach’s gear…the dude has everything. Our plan was to troll for Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout on Zach’s boat using 8 planer boards and 2 downriggers. So with this in mind, we hit the water at 6:30am for a day of fishing Round Valley Reservoir. Surface water temperature was 70.5 in the morning.

Zach Merchant fishing boat set up for trolling
Zach Merchant’s fishing boat, set up for trolling trout at Round Valley.

Trolling Setup

We started trolling with the planer boards higher in the water column, most of our marks on the fishfinder indicated fish hanging out in 20-30feet of water. If you’ve ever fished Round Valley in the early morning fog, it’s not uncommon to see fish feeding at the surface so don’t hesitate to put out a couple lines right on the surface. We also put a couple spoons down deep for the lake trout which we were marking at or near the bottom. Trolling speed was 1.5mph.

Lures

Lures consisted of various Warrior spoons 2 to 4 inch in size, single and treble hook, as well as jointed J-7 Rapalas. We used darker colors in the early hours and brighter colors after about 10am when the sun was up and the fog was gone. Be sure to attach your spoons to snap swivels or you will get terrible line twist.

Robert Ivan holding a Rainbow Trout
Author, Robert Ivan with a 17inch rainbow trout showing red spawn colors.
Zach Merchant holding a Lake Trout
Zach Merchant holding one of two Lake Trout caught during the day’s fishing trip.
Zach Merchant holding Rainbow Trout
Zach Merchant showing off one of the larger Rainbow Trout caught on this trip.

The Fishing

From 6:30am to about 9:30am the action was steady. We picked up about 15 rainbow, two lakers and one yellow perch. Once the sun burned off all the fog the bite turned off and for the next 3 hours we picked up only 3 more rainbows, though one of them was the fatty Zach is holding in the image above. All fish were released successfully. Note too that we are in Lake Trout spawning season so any Lake Trout caught 16 September to 30 November must be returned to the water. Read this article to learn more about fishing for trout with a downrigger at Round Valley. Check out this older post with video if you want to learn more about trolling with planer boards and lead core line.

Trolling Big Rainbow Trout – Video

A video my good friend Jimmy from Rawr fishing put together from back on Memorial Day weekend with Rob S. and myself. It was Jimmy’s first time trolling out on Round Valley, and boy did we spoil him! Despite the fact we had a rough start to our day and got out super late, we put somewhere around 2 dozen Rainbows in the boat, including three Round Valley Trout Association tagged Trophy Trout!

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.

Big Lake Trout Takes First Place in April Tournament

My buddy Rob S. and I had a long day of fishing in the first Round Valley Trout Association fishing tournament of the year this Sunday 17 April 2016 at Round Valley, but it was definitely worth it! This particular contest was scheduled from 6am to 3pm, however we were off the water by 1:30, eager to weigh in a Laker. Visit the RVTA website to learn more and get involved.

Our basic trolling spread for Round Valley consists of; two 10 color lead core rods (18lb Suffix) out of the back of the boat and two rods on downriggers for Lake Trout, as well as three planer boards out of each side of the boat with lead core for Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Here’s a sample of some go-to lures that are almost always productive Fishing on Round Valley, they’ve become a staple in my tackle box anytime I go out. In addition to these, meatheads are also a very effective lure when targeting Lake Trout.

Common Round Valley Trolling Lures

We had a tough start to the day trolling planer boards; at our first drop we connected with a big RVTA tagged Rainbow and fought it all the way in but lost it at the back of the boat. Our struggle for Rainbows continued for a while after and eventually we made the call to go out deeper for Lake Trout with downriggers and lead core.

Zach Merchant w/ Lake Trout

Once we went deep and got our Laker lines in it was game on for about an hour with hook ups left and right once we got dialed in on their location and depth. Before it was over we managed to get the fish pictured above, what would become the 1st place Laker for the tournament, weighing 6.90-lbs and measuring 29.25-inches. Slow pick of Lakers for the rest of the day after our morning bite, but overall a very rewarding day on the water.

Shout out to the local shop, Behre Bait & Tackle at 1239 Route 22 East, Lebanon NJ.