Tag Archives: Featured

1st Annual Howie Behre Memorial Round Valley Lake Trout Tournament

Behre Bait and Tackle

For all of you Lake Trout fisherman; Behre Bait & Tackle will be running its 1st Annual Howie Behre Memorial Lake Trout Tournament at Round Valley next Sunday (August 17, 2014).  There will also be a pig roast and BBQ to follow the tournament at Behre Bait & Tackle; starting at 3:00 p.m.  I hope to see you all out there!

To enter tournament:   Stop by Behre Bait & Tackle, which is located at 1239 Route 22 Lebanon, NJ.  If you have any questions you can call Behre at (908)625-2326.

  • Hours of contest:    4:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Bait shop will be open at 3:00 a.m. morning of contest
  • $50 entry, per two-man boat:    $15 per extra man
  • All people on board must be entered in tournament
  • Prizes for top 3 places:    1st – 50%  2nd – 30%  3rd – 20%
  • 7 fish bag limit:    Total weight of all seven fish
  • One bag limit per team:    Every angler can keep limit
  • Biggest fish gets $50 bonus
  • Buy bait and supplies at Behre Bait & Tackle:    10% off for tournament anglers

Carp Fishing Basics

Carp fishing is some of the easiest and most entertaining fishing around and anyone can be successful if they follow the carp fishing basics below.  With this being said, Carp fishing is very different from other types of fishing that most people participate in (i.e. Bass and Trout fishing), and in my personal opinion can’t be approached in the same manner; both in terms of mindset and technique. Read on for Carp fishing basics.

Common Carp
16-lb Common Carp I caught using the same carp fishing basics I’ll be explaining in this article.

Carp Fishing Gear

Before heading out for a day of Carp fishing, you need to make sure you have the right gear and tackle for the day. Go ahead and leave your ultralight trout rods at home. For small to medium sized carp, a 7 to 9 foot, medium/heavy action rod and spinning reel with 10lb mono should suffice. I’m just going to stick the basics for this article, so I’m going to explain a very simple rig that I like to use when fishing for small to medium sized Carp; and it may be a rig that you have already used for another style of fishing.

Basic Terminal Tackle For Carp:

  • 8 to 10+ pound monofilament OR 15+ pound braid for your reel
  • 1-ounce egg sinkers
  • Size 6 baitholder or plain shank hooks
  • 20+ pound test fluorocarbon leader
  • Barrel swivels

As with any rig, your first step is deciding which line to use, I prefer to use the heavier braided lines whenever I fish for Carp, but 8-lb or 10-lb monofilament line works perfectly for your average sized Carp as long as you don’t try to horse the fish in too fast.  Now that you know which line to use, we can move onto the rig itself.  You’re going to want to have a 1-ounce egg sinker on your main line, followed by a barrel swivel with safety snap (size 12 or larger) tied onto your main line.  All that’s left now is your leader and your hook.  I usually tie my own leaders with 20-lb fluorocarbon tied to a size 6 bait-holder hook which I make into pre-tied leaders so I can easily switch them out, or if I get broken off I can simply put a new one on (This is where your snap swivel comes into play).  Though to simplify it even more you can even go pick up some pre-tied leaders from Walmart or your local tackle shop instead of making your own.

Basic carp fishing rig
Basic carp fishing rig
Basic carp fishing rig - detail
Basic carp fishing rig – detail of sinker and swivel

Creating Your Carp Fishing Bait

Choosing a bait for Carp is fairly easy seeing as it can be as simple as using a can of corn or garden worms, both of which Carp will readily take.  Though, one simple way to increase your chances of catching more Carp is to increase the appeal of your bait to the fish.  When fishing for Carp, I create a simple, though effective, bait made from foods you can find in your local supermarket.

Carp Bait Shopping List

  • Two or three cans of cream style sweet corn
  • One can of whole kernel sweet corn
  • One or two larger containers of 5-minute quick oats (oatmeal)

Baiting the Hook

Start off by putting enough of the regular sweet corn onto your hook so that the hook is covered, but the tip and barb are still exposed.  For size 6 hooks, usually three or four pieces of corn will do the trick.  Once you’re done with that, you’ll need to combine the creamed corn and quick oats to make your oat pack.  Your first step in this process will be to pour some of your oats into a bucket of some sort; I usually start with half of the container of oats.  After you have your oats in the bucket, you’ll need to pour about a quarter of the can of creamed corn into the bucket as well.  After that, you’ll need to mix them up a bit, and add a bit more creamed corn after that so you’re mixture is just wet enough to stick together when you cast out.  Usually at this point, the question of “how much of the mixture do I put on the hook?”.  I usually do an entire handful, but when you’re first starting out, smaller handfuls are easier to mold around the hook and cast out until you get the hang of it.  Another common question I get asked about this process is “how do the carp get to the hook with that big oat ball around it?”.  This brings me to the point of the oat pack; after about a minute or so in the water, the oats fall apart and fall around the hook.  Now instead of having the big oat pack around your hook, the oats are loose and in a pile around your hook, and when a Carp comes by it sucks up the oats around the hook, and will eventually suck your hook up along with them.  This way the Carp have something extra to draw them in as opposed to only having sweet corn on your hook for bait.

Casting a Bait Ball

Casting this bait out might take a little while to get used to, so don’t get frustrated if you lose your oat pack on your first few attempts!  When casting out an oat pack, you can’t really whip your bait out there like you normally would.  Instead, you have to take it easy and make your casts a little slower and just pitch it out there without whipping your rod too much.  It definitely takes getting used to, but after your first trip or two you should start to get the hang of it. Now that you have your bait all ready to go and in the water, all you need to do is wait for some action!  

Hooking, Playing, and Landing a Carp

Right after you get your lines in the water, I can’t stress enough that you should either have bait-feeder reels, or have your reels in free spool.  The reasoning behind this is that you don’t want the fish to feel any resistance when taking out line while it’s inspecting your bait, and most importantly, you don’t want to lose your rod to the fish!  This leads me into my next point, just because you get a bump on your line, doesn’t mean the fish is on yet.  When your line bumps, it’s usually either the Carp sucking up the oats around your hook, or bumping your line itself.  As soon as the Carp feels the hook, 99 times out of 100 it will go on a strong run and start to peel out line.  Now when this happens, you can’t set the hook like you would on other fish, like a Bass.  Though it is always good to still set the hook, you don’t have to do it as hard as you normally would since Carp have very soft mouths and you don’t want to rip the hook out.  Usually just simply lifting your rod up and taking it out of free spool, or engaging the drag if using a bait-feeder while the fish is on it’s initial run will be more than enough to set the hook in it’s mouth.

Fighting the Fish

While the fish is on it’s initial run, you’re going to just want to keep your rod tip high and pointed away from the fish, just as you would any other large fish.  Once it’s done making it’s first run then you can finally start reeling and fight the fish.  When fighting a Carp, it’s just like fighting any other large fish, but you have to take it easier on them since if you pull too hard you’ll pull the hook out of their soft mouths.  General rule of thumb is; if the fish is running, let him run and tire itself out against your drag, only reel once it’s done with a run, and ALWAYS keep tension on your line otherwise the fish will be able to shake the hook.  By doing this, you minimize the risk of pulling the hook out while also making for a more enjoyable fight!

Carp Fishing
Fish on! Fighting a smaller, 5-lb Carp.

Landing the Fish

Once you get the fish under control and close to shore, he might stay just out of netting distance for a while or go on one final run, so be ready for that.  But once you have the opportunity to net the fish, guide it in head first and get the majority of the fish in the net before trying to scoop it up so the fish doesn’t flop back out of the net and injure itself.  Once the fish is in the net, take the hook out, snap a few pictures, and get it back in the water to fight another day!  If you wish to weigh your fish, the best way to do this is by using a weigh sling, or if you don’t have a weigh sling you can weigh the fish in your net and subtract the weight of your net later on.  This method is much easier on the fish than weighing it on a conventional scale that goes through the gills since Carp are so heavy.

25-lb Common Carp caught using the same method
25-lb Common Carp I caught using the same method explained in this article.

With the information in this article, you have all you need to get out for a fun day of Carp fishing.  I hope everyone found it helpful, and if you have any additional questions feel free to ask!

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!

Kayak Fishing Reports – Spruce Run Reservoir

Finally brought the kayaks out for a fishing trip at Spruce Run Reservoir with Frank Deluca on Sunday July 14, 2013. Despite getting a late start, we managed to get out on the water at 4:30 p.m. in some sunny 90 degree weather, with a slight breeze coming from the west.  Surface temperature was 80 degrees and the gage height was 272.35 feet.  We started out working the shoreline for some Bass with Rapalas and other various crankbaits, with no luck.  After probably about an hour or so of that, I put on a bigger Rapala to troll behind me and moved out to deeper water and trolled along a rock ledge for a bit to try for some Pike, also with no luck.  Though while I was trying for Pike, Frank put on a large Shiner and dropped it down to the bottom in 5 feet of water and not even a minute after dropping it down, Frank was into a fish.  After putting up a nice hard fight, Frank landed a 15-inch Largemouth Bass.

Spruce Run Largemouth Bass
Frank with his 15-inch Largemouth

Shortly after that, both Frank and I decided to move out into about 25 feet of water and try for some Hybrids, but it became clear after one drift that the wind was making us drift too fast for that to be effective. So we went back into the same cove we were fishing before, though this time we set up a drift going along a rock ledge in 10 feet of water.  Shortly after I began my first drift through the area, I got a nice hit on one of my rods and was into a fish.  Once I got it up to the surface, it turned out to be a Channel Catfish, which weighed in at 4.5-lbs and 20-inches, so I wouldn’t really say it was big, but it was definitely a decent size and put up a fun fight from the kayak.  On my second drift I hooked up with a decently sized fish, which turned out to be another Channel Catfish, probably about 5-lbs, though unfortunately it spit the hook right next to my kayak before I could net it.  After that, we set up a third drift through the same area.

My 4.5-lb, 20-inch Channel Catfish
My 4.5-lb, 20-inch Channel Catfish

Right as we started our drift, I hooked up with another decently sized fish which shook the hook before I could get it in close enough to see it, though I’m pretty certain it was another Channel Catfish judging from how it was fighting. A short time after that, as Frank and I continued our drift, we started getting a lot of smaller hits from smaller, more finicky fish. Frank managed to pull one up and it turned out to be a 10-inch Crappie, which led us to believe that we were drifting over a school of Crappie, though that was the only one we managed to land. We tried one more drift after that, with only one or two hits, so we decided to call it a day and got off the water at 7:45 p.m.

A few days later, on Wednesday July 17, I headed back out to the same spot, this time with Chris Moran. As opposed to last time, we started out later in the day and got out on the water at 7:30 p.m. so we could target some Channel Catfish, and by that time the water temperature had dipped down to 76 degrees.  We went straight to the same area over the rock ledge that Frank and I had fished the other day and immediately dropped our bait to the bottom and began drifting.  I was the first to hook up with a fish after a slow start to our trip, and my fish turned out to be a small, 14-inch Channel Catfish. After trying a few more drifts over the same area, as well as a few different drifts in different areas with no luck, I moved over to the same area Chris and I had been catching all of our fish back in April.  Shortly after I began my first drift there, I was into another fish and managed to land a slightly larger, 16-inch Channel Cat.  A few minutes later in the same area, Chris hooked into and landed another Channel Catfish, about the same size as my last one.  After that, it slowed down for about 15-20 minutes with nothing hitting our lines, until out of the blue, Chris got a big hit on one of his lines.  He was using a light 4-lb leader we normally use for Trout so he had his drag set fairly low so the line wouldn’t break, which made for a fun fight.  After a good fight which lasted a few minutes, Chris finally landed another Channel Catfish, which ended up being our last and biggest fish of the night.  Chris’ fish ended up weighing in at 4.75-lbs and measuring 22-inches.

Spruce Run Channel Catfish
Chris with his 4.75-lb, 22-inch Channel Catfish

We kept trying for about another 45 minutes or so with no more luck.  All of our fish were caught on live Shiners fished on the bottom while we were drifting between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  Didn’t land any real big fish this trip, but definitely had a nice night fishing from our kayaks and had some fun reeling a decent haul of Channel Catfish.  This trip was also Chris’ first time kayak fishing…or is it fishing from a kayak, so it was something new for him and I’m sure we’ll be getting out on them yaks again real soon!

Spruce Run Kayak Fishing
Sunset on Spruce Run

Beneath These Waters, a history of Round Valley Reservoir by Hunterdon County Historian Stephanie Stevens

Beneath These Waters - Round Valley ReservoirBeneath These Waters, a history of Round Valley Reservoir by Hunterdon County Historian Stephanie Stevens, has sold more than 2,000 copies and is in its seventh edition. The book , in its 7th printing is available at the Readington Library, the Hunterdon Co. Planning Board on Rt. 12, the Califon book store, or by mail. Checks made out to Hunterdon County for $10 will have the book mailed to the addressee.

Round Valley wasn’t always a reservoir. In 70 pages of indexed text with 84 photographs, maps and illustrations, Ms. Stevens tells the Valley’s whole story – from its geological formation and Lenape habitat to summer refuge for early Revolutionary Patriots, rich fields farmed by some of Hunterdon’s oldest families, and the reservoir that took the land for drinking water and recreation.

A circa 6300 B.C. Lecroy spear point found in the Valley in 1982 by local residents is proof that the Lenape Indians lived there for thousands of years. Ms. Stevens relates that in 1708 some 100,000 acres, including the Valley, were purchased from the Lenape by British land speculators of the West New Jersey Society. Wealthy aristocrats who purchased land in the Valley for estates included James Alexander (namesake of Alexandria Township) and his son William, Lord Stirling; Robert R. Livingston (an author of the Declaration of Independence); Peter Van Burgh Livingston; John Stevens (the Father of Railroading in the U.S. and founder of Stevens Institute of Technology); and Walter Rutherfurd.

The book is dedicated to the “many families [who] loved this Valley, farmed with plans for a bright future, and then had their world crash down on them when their land was taken away.” Ms. Stevens quotes Goska, Haver, Kolodinski, Muckelmann, Sauerland and Scheer family members’ stories of life in the Valley. The actual “taking” of 4,150 acres of land began in 1956 and was almost complete by the end of 1957. Sixteen houses were moved out of the Valley and the rest, along with barns and supporting buildings were demolished leaving the Valley floor, as Ms. Stevens puts it, “a desolate wasteland”. Photographs of many of those houses, taken at the time by State assessors are included in the book.

Ms. Stevens credits Linda Young Kennedy for suggesting the need for the book because “there are at least two generations of Hunterdon homeowners who never knew that Round Valley was anything but a beautiful lake.”

As for the actual construction of the reservoir, Ms. Stevens relates quite a story of an underworld grab-for-control, yet the water pipeline to serve Newark (and other eastern New Jersey cities – the stated reason for the project) – was never built. That led the author to wonder: “…if not for the reservoir, would the Valley be one huge housing development? Or because of its Indian and Revolutionary history, would it be a preserved area…? We’ll never know,” she says and adds, “The heartbreaking sacrifice of a few has provided recreation, and life-giving water, for many.”

Stephanie Stevens has served as Hunterdon’s Historian since 1987. Beneath These Waters is the most popular of her five books. Her other titles are Forgotten Mills of Readington, Readington’s Reflections, For A Better Lifea History of the Polish Settlement in Readington Township, and Outcast – The Story of Slavery in Readington Township. She also has written numerous pamphlets on historic subjects like stone arch bridges and Hunterdon’s historic districts and takes no remuneration for her work.

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I would like to thank the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission for providing me with this information and also for providing me with a copy of the Beneath These Waters.

CONTEST: One lucky Round Valley Fishing reader will win this book!

ELIGIBILITY: Only NJ / PA / NY residents are eligible… sorry Tennessee

RULES: In the comments section below please share with your fellow readers a short story about Round Valley as it relates to its history.  You can write about how your anchor pulled up a fishing reel from the 1970’s or you found a spear point hiking the camping area or that you saw the reservoir being built, whatever! You can comment as many times as you want, though it will only be counted once towards the contest.

DATES: 10/18/2010 TO 11/18/2010 11:59pm

WINNER: One winner will be randomly selected from all the comments. The winner will be contacted via their email address and the book will be mailed to them.  You will be give 3 days to respond to the original email and then I will chose another winner at random.  The winner’s username will be published here.