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.
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!
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.
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.
Zach Merchant with a 23.5inch Brown Trout caught recently while fishing from the Round Valley shoreline. The trout fell for a live shiner suspended under a slip bobber in the early morning hours.
Zach was using his ultralight spinning setup with 4lb. test mono when he connected with this beast. The trout made some strong runs and leaped out of the water at least four times, that he can remember, but to no avail. Note – when fighting a fish, it’s important to keep your rod tip UP which allows the flex of the rod to act like a shock absorber.
Zach and the trout later photographed (above) at Behre Bait & Tackle on Route 22 in Lebanon, NJ where he bought the live shiners and slip bobbers. If you’re looking to get into this kind of shore fishing this Fall, head on over there and get hooked up!
NJ trout fishing report for the second week of March 2014. Rainbow and Brown Trout from Ken Lockwood Gorge and Round Valley Reservoir.
I was finally able to get out for a solid week of fishing again last week, and while I didn’t have enough to put up a report for any given day, I feel like the week as a whole deserves a short report on here.
Ken Lockwood Gorge
I started out the week by fishing over at Ken Lockwood Gorge on Tuesday morning (March, 18) with Chelsey Hoover. We got out around 7:00 a.m. and started off to see if we could get into some Trout for the day. Since Chelsey’s just starting to get into fishing, she was spin fishing with Trout Magnets and Panther Martins while I was fly fishing with bead head nymphs.
New Jersey Monthly magazine has called Ken Lockwood Gorge one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Places in New Jersey.” With its steep slopes, huge boulders, impressive rapids and northern hemlocks, Ken Lockwood has long been a famous and much-loved site to birders, naturalists, kayakers, photographers, hikers, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts. This is the southernmost hemlock glen in New Jersey and the cool microclimate—created by the hemlocks, local geology and rushing water and mist—is home to a number of species of birds, other animals and plants that are more typical of far northern New Jersey and New England.
We started off by trying a few spots that were holding some fish last week when I fished with David Allen, including a spot where Dave landed a nice Rainbow and I got a few more hits. Though that morning, we had no luck there and eventually made our way down to a spot after about a mile hike where I had hooked into a beautiful wild Brown Trout a few days before. Didn’t take too long for me to hook into another fish at that spot, which ended up being another wild Brown which took a #16 bead-head pheasant tail nymph. That was about it for action that day for us, and after trying for about another hour or so we called it quits for the day.
Round Valley Reservoir
I got word that Round Valley had some open water for fishing the shoreline early in the week last week, and Chelsey H. and I decided to give it a shot. We first headed out in the rain on Wednesday afternoon (March, 19), and it was about a 1/2 mile hike to open water. While our day started off pretty slow and miserable, we got one nice fish on the line that took Powerbait off the bottom, but unfortunately it took us around a snag and spit the hook so we called it quits after another hour and a half. Though we went back the next morning and had our lines in the water by 7:00 a.m. It didn’t take too long for us to get some action, which picked up a little after 7:30. By the time 8:30 a.m. rolled around we had gotten about six hits, all on Powerbait.
Though the fish were just lipping it and hitting too lightly to stick the hook, so up until that point we hadn’t actually hooked into any fish. Though a little after 9:00 a.m., we had a hit on another one of our rods, and Chelsey hooked into and landed a 14.5-inch Rainbow Trout; her first fish out of Round Valley! That was it for the rest of our trip, but at least we beat the skunk! As far as the ice went that day, it had receded about another 100-150 feet or so from the previous day when we were there, and we even saw a few ice chunks up to 30-40 feet wide float by as the ice broke up. Also, as for the current ice situation; the ice completely broke up by last weekend and Round Valley is 100% ice free, which I’m sure everyone’s happy to hear!
With Winter now in full swing, the majority of fisherman and woman have put their rods away for the year. But for those of us that brave the cold weather, Round Valley can offer some great shoreline fishing to hold us over until the Spring! So in this series articles, I’m going to explain the basics for fishing the shoreline at Round Valley, which can be applied during the Fall, Winter, and Spring for Trout!
There’s a wide selection of baits you can use when fishing from shore. Though the two most widely used, and successful baits are Powerbait and Shiners, so I’m going to mainly cover using these in this article since we’re covering the basics of shoreline fishing. I’ve often found that the time of year does effect which bait the fish will be hitting more readily. Usually Shiners fished under slip bobbers work better during the Spring and Fall, while Powerbait and Shiners fished on the bottom work better during the coldest months of the year.
If targeting Rainbow Trout, your best bet would be Powerbait on the bottom, or Shiners fished both under slip bobbers as well as on the bottom. For Brown Trout, Shiners fished both under slip bobbers and on the bottom will produce. As far as Lake Trout go, they’re a little trickier at times. I’ve caught them on Shiners fished one foot under slip bobbers as well as fishing Shiners on the bottom casting to about 40-50 feet of water, and everything in between. Though the most consistent way of catching Lake Trout from shore would be Shiners on the bottom. While this is what I’ve observed while fishing Round Valley through the seasons, of course this isn’t always the case. So just to be on the safe side, even if the bite is hot on say Shiners under slip bobbers, I’ll almost always have one rod out with Powerbait as well just in case the bite switches to that throughout my trip (You never know what can happen!).
So pretty much to sum things up:
Shiners under slip bobbers in Spring and Fall, when there’s warmer water temperatures. (But not too warm of course)
Shiners and Powerbait fished on the bottom during the coldest months, usually between November/December and March/April. (Depending on water temperature)
Powerbait, nine out of ten times will produce Rainbow Trout.
Shiners under slip bobbers will produce Brown and Rainbow Trout.
Shiners fished on the bottom will produce a mix of Brown, Rainbow, and Lake Trout.
When in season, Shiners can be replaced by live Herring, which can be a more effective bait.
Also, in addition to the baits that I went over in this article. They are not in any means the only baits that will produce Trout from shore at Round Valley. A few other baits that are commonly used while fishing the shoreline are:
Marshmallow and mealworm combos fished on the bottom
Garden worms or Night-crawlers fished on the bottom or under a bobber
Cooked salad Shrimp fished on the bottom
Stay tuned in for more shoreline fishing 101 articles! Next I’ll be covering things such as; rigs for shoreline fishing, finding a good shore fishing location, and casting lures from the shoreline!
Very excited to be able to share a consecutive three day fishing report with everyone! It’s been a great past few weeks of shore fishing at Round Valley, and if you’re looking to fish anytime soon, now would be the time to do it while the action is hot!
Thursday, December 19
Baits of choice:
Salmon peach PowerBait fished approximately 12-inches off the bottom
Live Shiners fished five to seven feet under slip bobbers
Zach Batren and I decided to head out to Round Valley a little later than usual, just to kill some time before the Round Valley Trout Association Christmas party, and wet our first lines around 1:30 p.m. We started out fishing the rocks by the cement boat launch, just for a slight change of scenery and to stay out of the wind, and were fishing with Shiners fished five to seven feet under slip bobbers, as well as salmon peach Powerbait fished on the bottom. At first we were a little unsure how our luck would pan out seeing as we were starting in the middle of the day, with no cloud cover, while we were usually out fishing early in the morning and out by 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. after the bite died down. Though we only had to wait about 20 minutes or so until we started getting some action, which started off with Zach B. catching and releasing a nice 16-inch Brown Trout that took a Shiner under a slip bobber, while I had a swing and a miss on my slip bobber.
Pretty much from then until we left at 5:00 p.m. we had a hit at least every half an hour to 45 minutes or so, which wasn’t anything too crazy, but definitely made for a fun day! We ended our day right as we ran out of sunlight for the day with Zach B. landing a 15-inch Rainbow on salmon peach Powerbait and a 16-inch Brown that took a Shiner 7-feet under a slip bobber. Meanwhile, I was only able to land one beautifully colored 13.5-inch Rainbow, though I missed a good amount of fish, and at one point had constant hits on both of the slip bobbers I had out for about five minutes straight, but nothing stuck the hook. Everything was released that day, seeing as we were practicing some CPR, or catch-photograph-release for those of you that aren’t familiar with the term.
Friday, December 20
Baits of Choice:
Live Shiners fished three to seven feet under slip bobbers
Rainbow and salmon peach PowerBait fished 12-inches off the bottom
Made it out for day two of shoreline Trout fishing at Round Valley with Zach Batren and Chris Moran. As stated above, we were fishing with live Shiners fished under slip bobbers, as well as rainbow and salmon peach PowerBait fished about 12-inches off the bottom. We finished wetting the last of our lines by 6:30 a.m., and we eagerly waited to see what the early morning bite would give us, and soon enough we were into fish! I was the first to get a good hook up with a fish, and landed a 15-inch Rainbow that took a live Shiner about 5-feet under a slip bobber. Right after I was able to get the hook out of the Rainbow, I saw my second slip bobber, set about 7-feet down, start bouncing. After about a minute of being toyed with, it went under and I set the hook on another fish, shortly followed by a nice Trout jumping out of the water, and I landed a nice 17.25-inch Brown Trout!
Shortly after that, we had a slight lull in the action for about 30 minutes or so, during which we were joined by Zach B. Probably about 20 minutes or so after he arrived, Chris was into his first fish of the day, which took a Shiner under a slip bobber and ended up being a short 14-inch Brown Trout. From there on, we had constant action for the rest of our time out, and finished it off with Zach B. landing a beautifully colored 18.5-inch Rainbow Trout that took a Shiner about 7-feet under a slip bobber.
Our final tally when we ended our day around 12:30 p.m. was three Rainbows to 18.5-inches, three Browns to 17.5-inches, and about ten hits that didn’t take. Everything was caught on live Shiners under slip bobbers, with the exception of one 16-inch Rainbow that Chris landed on rainbow Powerbait.
Saturday, December 21
Baits of choice:
Live Shiners fished about 5-feet under slip bobbers
Salmon peach and yellow PowerBait
Round Valley seems to have save the best for last for us in this three day shore fishing report, and I’m very grateful for it! I arrived at Round Valley a little before 6:30 a.m. and wet my three lines shortly after, one with salmon peach PowerBait and two with Shiners 5-feet under slip bobbers. Within ten minutes of arriving, one of my slip bobbers goes under and I’m into a fish, which unfortunately spit the hook about half way in. While I was a little bummed I wasn’t able to land him, he didn’t feel like anything too special and I decided to take it as a good sign that fish were there and feeding, rather than another fish lost. Five minutes after that, I landed a short maybe 13-inch Rainbow that also took a Shiner under a slip bobber, which was released. About another five minutes after that, something slammed my PowerBait and my pole was doubled over, though by the time I made it to my rod, my pole was straight and my line slack. So I waited a few seconds, slowly reeled in the slack, and felt my sinker bounce on the bottom. But the same second I began to think I just missed yet another fish, I felt two taps on my line, and I get a good hook set on a fish. Now, taking into account that I was fighting the fish with a 4’6″ ultralight rod with 4-lb test and a 4-lb leader, I wasn’t sure exactly what sized fish I was fighting. Though it was peeling a good amount of drag so I figured it was at least a decent sized fish, that was until I got it about 20-feet out and was able to get a decent sideways view of it and saw it was definitely a good sized Rainbow Trout. Luckily I had Round Valley Fishing reader Mitchell fishing next to me, who quickly grabbed my net when he saw I was into another fish, and was able to help me land the big Rainbow once I got it close to enough to shore. The Rainbow ended up measuring in at 24-inches and weighed a hefty 4-lbs, 4-oz, and was a Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged trophy Trout!
A little while after that, I was joined by Robert I., who brought some much needed coffee! He got his lines into the water and after about half an hour or so of waiting, he got a hit on yellow PowerBait fished 2-3 feet off the bottom, though the fish was lost shortly after the hook set. After that, the bite completely died off and we were joined by Zach B. and Holly E. We had no action at all after the hit on Rob’s rod a little after 8:00 a.m. all the way until 3:35 p.m. when Rob get a hit on yellow PowerBait again. Rob’s rod got a few good pulls, but just like with my tagged Rainbow, by the time Rob reached his rod and picked it up, his line went slack for a few seconds, shortly followed by him setting the hook on a fish. We knew it was a good fish within a few seconds of him hooking up, but when we finally got a glimpse of it’s head breaking the surface, we all immediately thought of the possibility of it being another tagged trophy Trout. Now this fish definitely gave a better fight than my fish, and actually managed to tangle lines with another one of Rob’s lines while going on a run during the fight. Though Rob, coincidently also fighting his fish on a small ultralight rod with 4-lb test, was able to wrestle the fish in to be netted by Zach B. (I was manning the camera). The fish ended up being yet another large Rainbow which weighed in at 3-lbs, 15-oz, measured in at 24-inches, and was also an RVTA jaw tagged Trout!
After that, Zach B. and Holly missed a hit on PowerBait, and that was it for us for the rest of the day. We packed it in at 4:30 p.m. after a painfully slow, yet very successful third consecutive day of shore fishing at Round Valley!