On August 30th, myself, Zach, and my buddy Chris headed out to Round Valley to do some night fishing for rainbow trout. At our first drop, we caught a dinner-plate sized sunfish in 65 feet of water so we moved deeper in search of rainbows…chasing rainbows? Heh #dadjokes.
At our second drop, we doubled anchored in 85feet, surface water temp. measured 74.5F. After a few hours of soaking cut shrimp without success, I finally get a no-doubter of a hit on my line, set the hook, and start fighting a nice size fish on my light spinning outfit which has 6lb test mono all the way to the size 8 baitholder hook.
The fish wasn’t fighting like a rainbow trout, it was sounding like a damn tuna, what the heck is this thing? I call for Zack to get his fancy rubberized net ready just in case I’ve got a new state record sunfish on my line… Slowly I start gaining line on the fish and as it comes up we see that it’s a lake trout! Zach snapped a quick pic and back into the drink went the fish. I got another solid hit about 15 minutes later but it snapped my line. My fault. I should have checked it for damage after the first fish, what a stupid mistake on my part. You’d think after fishing for twenty something years I’d have some of this stuff memorized but nope, live and learn.
We bobbed around for a few more hours without a hit or a fish and I think we finally packed it in around 3:30am. It was a beautiful night even though the fish were few and far between. A more ambitious group of anglers would have pulled up anchors and kept trying locations, but that’s hard work with double anchors and honestly the part I love most about night fishing is how peaceful and relaxing it is. If you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest going out with a friend or two, you’ll have a blast I guarantee it.
Last weekend the wife and kids went to visit their aunt and I had the great fortune of remaining in NJ. If you have a wife and especially a wife and kids, you know that their schedule takes precedence over everything else in your life. Sure I can go fishing here and there, but I have to be back by a certain time or the world will stop spinning on its axis.
Like I said, last weekend the wife and kids were gone so I had absolutely no obligations, nothing forcing into a schedule. I was on my own and for a brief moment in time I knew what it was like to be single again… kind of. It’s not like I could have gone down to the Borgata and played 5-10 no limit, I still have a mortgage and NO bankroll.
What I do have is a boat, and friends and a fanatical desire to catch a trout longer than my arm. I decided to spend my freedom on an epic fishing trip – 15 Hours at Round Valley.
I charged up my 2 deep cycle marine batteries overnight, made sure I had a big bag of cooked shrimp and a couple bags of frozen corn. As soon as I got out of work on Friday I stopped at Efinger’s in Bound Brook, the only place in town that was open, and bought 3 dozen shiners, some hooks and sinkers.
My father helped me load up the boat with all the usual gear plus extras for the extended trip.
One cooler filled with sandwiches, snacks and drinks
One cooler filled with ice for the expected catch
Two fully charged batteries
Two 50 watt floodlights
Hooded sweatshirts, caps and winter coats
Nine fishing rods and reels
Batter charger for cell phone.
3 Gallons of Gas
A couple of RoundValleyFishing readers Anthony and his son AJ were waiting for me at the dock when I finally got to the water and I found Dave and Jenn fishing the docks whom I had met at last week’s meetup. With the sunlight fading fast and having to pick up my brother-in-law Jay at 9pm I had my hands tied as to how to fish with Anthony and AJ. I decided to drift the bottom for Lakers, mostly because I didn’t want to anchor up and then have to pull all my gear again in an hour.
While drifting the north point and dam area, we had two hits on the shiners and that was it. It started getting cold, AJ was getting cold and my buddy called to pick him up at the dock around 9pm so I headed in. I was sorry we didn’t connect with a fish in the short time we were together, but I promise the next time we’ll put in a good day or night of it. Anthony and AJ were both appreciative and I’m sure I’ll be seeing them again soon.
At the last minute Jay decides he’s not ready for an epic 12 hour fishing odyssey so he bails out!!! Now it’s just me and my old man! Now don’t get me wrong, I love the guy but he is NO fisherman. What my dad does love is talking world politics, not exactly relaxing conversation material. So for the next 3 hours I hear about communism, capitalism, dictators, world economies, the growing Chinese consumer base and blah blah blah.
We were double anchored up along the south shore somewhere east of the pavilion in 55 feet of water, water surface temp 73 degrees. At 9pm the wind was coming out of the Southwest then at 10pm it was coming straight out of the west and by midnight it was coming out of the Northwest. Crazy. We fished through the wind and the politics and managed to limit out in no time at all. We were chumming with mixed vegetables (I grabbed the wrong bag, corn still at home!) and fishing with small 1/4 inch sized pieces of cooked shrimp on size 8 snelled hooks. At one point we had Damian from our RoundValleyFishing Facebook page anchored next to us and we were able to yell back and forth our introductions.
About 1am my buddy Chris is out of work and ready to do some fishing so we pull up anchor, head over to the docks and exchange my father (who was freezing and tired) for Chris’s company. By now it’s pretty late and cold (upper 40’s?) and we are the only fools left on the lake. The Dunkin Donuts coffee Chris brought was exactly what was needed.
We zip on over to the North shore campsite 72 area, but I can’t really be sure because it’s dark and I have no GPS. Again we double anchor, this time in 59 feet of water. Chris brought corn but we first used up the remainder of the frozen mixed vegetables. We laughed our assess off as the peas simply floated on the water surface every time we through a handful in. Down below I’m sure the fish were loving their vegetable buffet.
Now if you’ve never read any of our night reports or gone night fishing yourself you will come to know that MONSTER sunfish love to eat at night. I do not know why but here we were again in close to 60 feet of water catching HUGE sunfish. After a while the sunfish moved on and the rainbows came. Over the next 5 hours or so we caught and released close to two dozen rainbow trout from 15 to 22 inches. I kept the 22 incher mostly because I felt so bad for it. It’s jaw was mangled from an old fight and worse yet it had a foot of mono hanging out of its ass. I kid you not. This poor fish had somehow swallowed a hook, digested it, turned the line around in its intestines and crapped out the line. The only problem was the hook was still embedded in the guts of the fish.
When I filleted this fish, the hook was buried in scar tissue and not going anywhere soon. So crazy. Anyway, that fish was the last trout we caught, the sun was coming up so we put the lights away, pulled up anchor and headed over to the place marked bass area number one. We were throwing rubber worms, grubs, salamanders, you name it, we threw it. In the weeds, over the weeds, through the weeds. It made no difference. We were tired and frustrated.
The winds kicked up and now we had a one foot chop to contend with as the wind blew us around constantly. We shot over to Ranger Cove to get out of the wind, but it made no matter. At 11am we called it a trip.
I had lasted 15 hours. The batteries lasted the entire night as did my cell phone. we still had a couple dozen live shiners which we let go. We had caught somewhere around two dozen Rainbow Trout and we all went home with dinner.
Here are my 16 and 22 inch rainbows I kept. Notice how much bigger the 22 is? I cooked the fish in 3 sticks of butter, 4 sliced lemons and a dash of salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 40minutes. All in all it was a good trip. Next time though I think i’ll bring more food and coffee!
Got out fishing Saturday night with a full boat. Chris D., Chris F. and Jay joined me for a night of fishing on Round Valley Reservoir. I was especially excited because I built a couple of night fishing lights and was eager to try them. The weather and moon phase were great too. 1/4 moon so our lights weren’t competing with the big light in the sky.
We fished from 9:30pm to 3:30am in 3 different locations throughout the night, the red x’s above indicate our approximate locations. The reason we moved the first two times was because we didn’t like our depth and bottom structure. The last time was just on a whim to shoot over to the other side of the lake.
It’s really peaceful at night on the valley.
We double anchored as best we could. I don’t have nearly enough anchor line to set the boat right so that was a challenge. We were using some lights I made from 12volt 55watt marine “deck” lights I got at West Marine for $29. A trip to home depot got me 2 extension cords, two dowels and some zip ties. The lights worked 5.5 hours and never killed my battery.
We were using cooked shrimp for bait and whole kernel corn for chum. The fishing was a slow pick all night but we all had fun and everyone caught fish, also the four rainbows we caught were taken home and eaten and they were delicious! If you’d like to learn more about the technique we used to catch these fish at night, check out our night fishing for Rainbow Trout article. If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat the next few weeks, I suggest a night fishing trip on Round Valley Reservoir.