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.
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.
Fished over at Spruce Run Reservoir on Friday, October 11, 2013 with Zach Batren in some cloudy, overcast, and rainy weather (Sounds like fishing weather to me!). We met up at Spruce Run around 1:30 p.m. and got our first lines into the water around 1:45 p.m at one of the coves on the Northern side of the reservoir, and had a six rod spread between the two of us. We were using live Herring fished on the bottom with a basic rig consisting of an egg sinker, barrel swivel, short leader, and a hook. After not even ten minutes, I was into a fish, which turned out to be a nice 4-lb Channel Catfish, probably around 22 or 23-inches. It didn’t give much of a fight since it swam towards me for pretty much the entirety of the fight, but still a good way to start any fishing trip! After that, we kept getting constant hits on almost all of our rods for a good hour or so until the action seemed to die down for a bit. Then out of nowhere one of my rods doubles over and I’m into a nice fish with a lot of fight in it. At first I thought it was a big Channel Catfish judging from the fight, until I saw it jump and was able to see it was a nice big 17-inch Smallmouth Bass.
After a hard fight; with several strong drag peeling runs, and not one, not two, but five jumps where it went completely airborne, we were able to net it. That Smallmouth was definitely a nice surprise for the day, especially seeing as it took a dead Herring that was meant for catfish.
After that the action slowed down for a little bit again, with the occasional hit here and there. Though just as we got used to the lull in the action, Zach B. was into another fish that took another dead Herring. We weren’t sure what exactly it was that he had hooked since it wasn’t fighting too much, but after we got it in closer we were able to identify it as a Northern Pike. While it wasn’t anything huge, it was still a nicely sized and beautifully colored 25+ inch Pike. We were definitely making out with a good mixed bag of fish up until this point with one Channel Catfish, one Smallmouth Bass, and now one Pike landed, though we released the Smallmouth as well as the Pike.
After that the action really slowed down for the next few hours, other than a few more hits we got but the hook didn’t set well so we lost the fish, as well as a snapping turtle I reeled in. Our next landed fish was a little while later after dark. Zach B. hooked into something just as the sun slipped under the horizon, and he was able to wrestle in another nice Channel Catfish; almost identical in size to the one i landed when we first started fishing. A few minutes after we finished up with netting and unhooking that fish and Zach got his line back out into the water, I was into another fish which ended up being another Channel Catfish, a little smaller than our other two. Maybe about a half an hour after that, I got a hit on one of my lines and my line snapped right after I set the hook, which was another disappointment on top of all the missed hits we had earlier in the day. After that I got my line back into the water, and about an hour after that Zach was into another fish. Now landing this fish started off normal, but ended up being one of the weirdest and most confusing ways to land a fish I’ve had all year. At first we weren’t sure what he had on the line, and at one point Zach thought he had lost the fish, but luckily it was only swimming towards him. Anyways, once we got it close enough we were able to see it was a nice big 31-inch Northern Pike with a good amount of girth to him.
But the weirdest part came after we landed it and realized that Zach’s hook wasn’t in the fish at all, but about 10-feet away tangled in another fishing line which had the hook attached to the fish, and we decided was definitely one of mine since it was the same exact line, swivel, leader, and hook I was using. So we assumed that the Pike had somehow taken one of my other lines without us noticing and gone right over to Zach’s line and his hook snagged my line. But I then reeled in my lines to see which one it was, and it wasn’t any of mine that I had out, which means that it was the line I had that broke off an hour earlier after setting the hook. This in turn meant that the same fish that my line had broken off on was in the same area for one whole hour, and Zach’s hook had somehow managed to snag my line trailing behind the fish while it was going by. Now what are the chances of that?! Definitely was one of the weirdest coincidences I’ve ever had happen while fishing to this day. I think it’s only fair to give Zach B. the credit for the catch, but I came in with the assist and we both get to add another crazy fish story to our collection!
A little while after that, we decided to call it a night at 8:30 p.m. after getting two Northern Pike up to 31-inches, one 17-inch Smallmouth Bass, three Channel Catfish to 4-lbs, and missing countless other fish that hit our lines. As usual, both the Pike and the Bass were all released. But as for the catfish, those were dinner! Definitely one of the weirder days I’ve had fishing in a while, but we definitely got some nice fish and despite the amount of missed hits we can’t really complain one bit about the outcome of our day.
Fished at Spruce Run again with Chris Moran on Tuesday April 23rd. Fishing was completely dead, especially compared to the days we were having last week. We wet our first lines around 7:00 A.M. at the spot mentioned in my previous report, though this time we decided to throw some lures around as well. Chris was throwing a Senko Worm for Bass while I was trying various Rapalas and Chatterbaits.
After a few hours of no action except for one missed hookset, we decided to go back to Hampton Borough Park to fish the Musconetcong again for some Trout, nothing there either. We were starting to get a little frustrated, so we decided to take a break for lunch at 25 Burgers.
During that time, we tried to decide what our next plan of action was seeing as everywhere we went we weren’t having any luck and eventually ended up deciding to go back to a different spot at Spruce Run. Once we got our lines back in the water, fishing was painfully slow again. But after almost two hours of no action again, one of my rods doubles over. Whatever it was, both Chris and I knew it had some power behind it seeing as it didn’t bounce the rod back and forth like Catfish and Bass sometimes tend to do, it just simply bent it down to the water and it stuck there. So I got up, set the hook and the fight was on! As soon as I began fighting the fish, it was very clear that it wasn’t a Bass and most likely not a catfish seeing as it was making long, hard-pulling runs from left to right and vice-versa. Once I got it close enough to shore, we realized that what we were both thinking to ourselves was right, it was our first Hybrid Striped Bass of the year! I landed the fish on shore and it weighed in at 4.25-lbs and 18.25-inches, a beautiful fish! Yet again, we were using our basic rig with live large shiners that we used in my last report, which consists of a 1-ounce egg sinker, barrel swivel, size 6 hook (As well as size 2 or 4), 20-lb Fluorocarbon leader, and 15-lb braided line.