Now that the rains have ceased, area streams and rivers have receded somewhat and water clarity has cleared making for improved fishing.
On the trout scene, the Lehigh River was stocked again from Bowmanstown to Glen Onoko by the Lehigh River Stocking Association. At the dam in Cementon/Northampton, Willie from Willie’s Bait & Tackle reports that anglers there are finally catching brown and rainbow trout that are averaging 14 inches in length. Most fishermen are using minnows, night crawlers and spinners to lure these trout to hook. But Willie noted that while fishing for trout, river anglers are also hooking suckers, perch and fallfish by default. He added that the fish commission has stocked 1,000 trout in the Jim Thorpe stretch of the river, but most fish are averaging 10 inches. The commission also stocked Hokendauqua Creek last week. So there’s a fair amount of trout remaining in these and other local streams including the Little Lehigh, Jordan, Coplay creeks.
But the big news is shad. They’re finally making their way up the Delaware River. Mike’s Bait & Tackle in Nazareth said shad fishermen are crushing them from Easton on up to Milford. According to Blaine from the shop, he heard one boat caught 200 shad in a day while others reportedly averaging 100 per boat. Even shore fishermen are doing well. And the fish are running large this year with some 7-pound roe shad being hooked.
When asked what shad are falling for, Blaine said spoons and jigs in any color as it seems they’ll hit anything.
The Delaware River Shad Fishermen’s Hotlines (610-954-0577/0578) is also reporting good shad catches and so far better than last year at this time. Their hotline said water temperature at Riegelsville was 52 on Friday of last week, and they’re recommending anglers fish close to shore where the water flow isn’t as strong. And again, it seems any color dart/spoon works.
YOUTH FISHING DERBY
South Whitehall Parks & Recreation is hosting a trout fishing derby on April 22 from 8 a.m. – 12 noon at Covered Bridge Park at the Wehr’s Dam area. The stream is being stocked with approximately 500 trout from Lehigh County’s Cedarbrook Co-Op Nursery.
The event is free and parents or guardians don’t require a fishing license for their children to fish in the derby. The only requirement is that children must furnish their own equipment and bait. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase at the event. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the contest beginning promptly at 8:45 a.m. For information check www.southwhitehall.com.
Brinkman’s Bait & Tackle in Philadelphia says saltwater fishing is starting to pick up for stripers in the Raritan Bay. Everyone has been snagging and dropping bunker, catching fish 30 to 45 inches. There have been a few guys throwing poppers and SP minnows but these guys have been catching smaller fish.
With heavy winds last week, there were no reports from the cod and Pollock fisherman.
Down in the Delaware Bay there are some stripers showing up, however only smaller fish have been caught at the rips. But up at the bay, one fisherman at Money Island picked up a 42-inch, 35-pound striper on live bunker. He also had a bunch of smaller fish.
Stripers too are hitting fairly well in the lower Delaware River with fish up to 40 inches being caught at Station Avenue, Tacony Bridge, Salem and at the Philly airport. Most being caught on bloodworms, clams and bunker head.
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.