Early Spring pike fishing at Spruce Run Reservoir is off to a great start…at least for Zach! This Northern Pike was caught fishing a shiner on bottom in five to ten feet of water. More info about Spruce Run fishing at their Facebook Page.
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 NJFishing.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
Started off the day fishing the Musconetcong River at Hampton Borough Park off of Route 31 with Chris Moran. We ended up leaving after only fishing for a little over an hour or so due to Chris having some problems with his reel. So after getting three Brook Trout, the biggest being 12.5-inches, we decided to head out and go over to try our luck at Spruce Run.
Seeing as I hadn’t fished Spruce Run since August 15 and this time of year last year was rather inconsistent for me while fishing at Spruce, I wasn’t entirely sure how we’d make out for the day. After stopping for some breakfast on the way, we got our lines into the water at about 9:30 A.M. at one of the spots off of Van Syckles Road. Water temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water level (Gage height) was 271 feet, which is two feet below the spillway crest (273 feet) or maximum capacity of the reservoir, for those of you who don’t know.
We decided to fish with large Shiners fished on the bottom since we weren’t sure what would be biting. After about 20 minutes or so, Chris got a hit on one of his rods. He ended up reeling in a nice 16-inch, 2-lb 12 oz. Largemouth Bass for his first Bass of the season, as well as his first fish from Spruce Run!
We fished for about another 30 minutes with no more action before deciding to move to another spot farther down the road where I had luck with Bass and Pike last year. Once we got situated at our new spot, we put our rods in the water and decided to try wading and throw some lures for Bass in the shallows. Not even 10 minutes after we started casting, one of our rods on shore doubles over and starts going crazy. We both run over to the rod and I set the hook and start reeling. After a good fight I finally get it close enough for us both to realize (to our surprise) it’s a nice big Channel Catfish, which weighed in at 5.5-lbs and 23-inches.
From there on, the entire day was non-stop action for us. Between the both of us, we landed 5 Channel Catfish up to 5.5-lbs, 4 White Catfish up to 2.5-lbs, one small Yellow Perch, Chris’ 2-lb 12-oz Largemouth Bass, and a 30-inch, 6.5-lb Pike I was lucky enough to hook into. Definitely a great day out at Spruce Run, especially considering we were used to getting maybe one fish per trip (If we were lucky) all winter!
Stay tuned for future reports!