Recent storms played havoc with local fishing conditions so anglers may want to hit the Jersey shore
After cleaning and painting the trout holding ponds and getting delivery of 14,600 trout fingerlings at Allentown’s Lil-Le-Hi Trout Nursery, Mother Nature dealt the site a nasty blow during the recent storm with its flooding conditions.
According to Herb Gottschall, President of Little Lehigh Fish & Game Association, the adjacent Little Lehigh Creek flooded all but one of the holding ponds at the nursery. Because of this, Gottschall thinks they probably lost fish but they won’t know until the site can be cleaned, the water clears and the remaining fish re-counted.
This storm also made local streams and the Lehigh River high and muddy with floating debris. This Friday, the Little Lehigh was supposed to get 60 trophy palomino trout from Cabela’s to stock in the Little Lehigh section of Lehigh Parkway. This is in addition to 60 they stocked last Frday. But the parkway too experienced damaging conditions with roads washed out and debris all over the place. So it’s unclear when those trout will be stocked although Gottschall said it may be this upcoming Friday if the City of Allentown can get the parkway repaired and cleaned-up. Gottschall added that this flooding problem was worse then what the nursery experienced during the Sandy storm.
Until local streams and lake conditions improve, anglers may want to head to the Jersey shore to try their saltwater luck. The following reports come compliments from our On the Water Magazine fishing reporters. The shore areas also experienced power outages and losses, but seem to have recovered quickly.
Rick Hebert. at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, said fluking was holding up nicely before the blow and now we have to wait and see. He fished the Axel Carlson Reef last weekend and got his limit with fish up to 6 pounds. He’s also received reports of schoolie stripers along the beaches hitting shads and small plugs.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, of The Tackle Box in Hazlet, reported the fluke fishing had been very good in Raritan Bay and out front prior to the blow. The shop weighed in a 10-pounder last Thursday from an angler fishing from a kayak.
Sciortino said the crabbing is excellent at all the usual spots around the bay. Snappers are all over the place as well. He also reported good porgy fishing on the local rock piles.
Joe Julian Jr., at Julian’s Bait and Tackle in Atlantic Highlands, reported losing a lot of killies due to the power outage caused by Tuesday’s storm, but that was the extent of the damage. He reports big fluke have been caught in the Shrewsbury River close to the ferry dock and the porgy fishing has been good in the bay. He’s had reports of cobia in the bay as well. And the crabbing, he added, has been awesome, especially in the Navesink River.
Mike Pinto, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said the best thing going on locally is the crabbing in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. The fluking in the surf is okay, but added, it’s still mostly shorts. There were small blues and bass in the surf before the storm, so we’ll have to wait and see if they’re still around once the water clears.
Mike Gleason, at Tak Waterman in Long Branch, reported a lot of schoolie bass caught in the surf on shads and small plugs prior to the blow. It was a dawn-and-dusk bite. Spanish mackerel too were found off the beach, and there were tons of adult bunker in the area as well. Peanut bunker are back in the rivers along with snapper blues. Last weekend saw a lot of yellowfin tuna caught on jigs, Gleason said, but there haven’t been any reports since the storm.
The Ocean Grove surf has plenty of short fluke but I’ve yet to get a keeper. Short bass are hitting shads and small plugs and one took his Gulp lure at the beginning of the week. Sand bugs will probably still work for them. “Watch out for the big rays, Gleason cautioned. One spooled me over the weekend and I was lucky to get most of the line back.”
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, said the Shark River continues to give up some nice fluke with Steve Adamo weighing in a 4.5 pounder and A.J. Earley with a 5.5-pound fluke. Matthews added that there are loads of snappers in the river right now along with peanut bunker. Folks are picking up some stripers in there as well on shads.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.