Weather permitting, this weekend brings a smorgasbord of hunting and angling opportunities.
Spring gobbler hunting season opens April 28 in Pennsylvania and at the same time, shad have started their spawning run up the Delaware River. And right behind them, striped bass are entering the lower Delaware River and all along the New Jersey shore during their spring spawn run.
But that’s not all. Recently stocked trout streams have become fishable now that water levels have receded after two days of rain. So sportsmen can essentially have foul and fish when going afield and stream. And this week sees portions of Jordan, Little Lehigh, Hokendauqua, Little Bushkill and Switzer creeks stocked.
Local trout action will pick up now that streams came down said Willie Marx at Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon. Marx said Lehigh River trout action was slow due to high, swift water. But he hears a few anglers are picking up a few on minnows and nightcrawlers along the slower edges of the river in Northampton below the dam. Indian Creek has lots of leftover trout per one customer. As for Leaser Lake, it’s still yielding some catch-and-release muskies and panfish, but few trout. One customer reported catching a couple trout where the creek enters the lake at the North launch area. As for Delaware River shad, he had good reports until the rains came last week.
The Delaware River Shad Fishermen’s Shad Hotlines (610-954-0577/0578) echoes Marx’s’ report saying the Delaware River is high, stained and running cold (46 degrees). A few shad, however, are still being caught on large, brightly colored spoons, says the hotline reporter. And Steve Meserve of the Lewis Fishery in Lambertville, hasn’t had much luck in his commercial shad netting operation.
As for stripers, On Water Magazine reports Raritan Bay in new Jersey is hot for stripers right now. Both shore and boat anglers are catching linesiders with some up to 30 pounds, the latter on stretch lures and Mojo’s. Beach guys are luring them to hook on clams, worms, bunker chunks, metal-lipped swimmers and 4-inch shads.
Capt. Phil Sciortino at The Tackle Box in Hazlet, NJ, said from shorts to 30-pound stripers are all over the bay. And everything from bait to plugs to rubber shads are hooking them.
Giglio’s Bait & Tackle in Sea Bright reports the bay is yielding some big fish that are very clean and free of sea lice. And the shop is surprised action is so good with the water being so cold. They report the bass are falling for bone-colored SP Minnows and chartreuse metal-lipped swimmer lures.
Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, NJ., also says the bay is hot for anglers using Mojos and shads. It appears the fish are spreading out from the shallows where bait and plug guys were having fun catching them, but the area is crowded with anglers. They have also received reports of a few small stripers in the Belmar, NJ surf and that the bunker have moved into the back of the Shark River.
If you’re interested in learning some new fishing line-to-lure knots, check “animatedknots.com” and by clicking on the knot, it will show each step in tying it.
And if we ever get temperatures in the high 70’s maybe low 80’s, fishing action should really turn on.
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.