Even with the cold-then-hot-then-cold again temperatures, fishing action is finally starting to heat up all over the Lehigh Valley.
Trout are biting, the shad are running, and walleye season is about to start.
Over at the New Jersey and Delaware shores, stripers are biting, bluefish are getting hungrier and shore shop owners are smiling broadly for the first time since pre-Hurricane Sandy fishing.
It's time to hit the water, but those hitting the streams in Pennsylvania need to remember that Saturday kicks off spring gobbler season in the state, so if you're going out to a wooded stream or lake in the early morning, make sure you have some type of blaze orange to reveal your presence.
Be smart and be safe!
2013 Pennsylvania Fishing Regulations:
2013 Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Schedule: http://pfbc.state.pa.us/pfbc_webgis/TroutStockingDetails.aspx
Pecks Pond Boat Rentals, Tackle & Bait, Dingmans Ferry, (570-775-7237) firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peckspond.com: Charlie says bass and pickerel are going after in-line spinners in gold and silver, as well as chug bugs. Some of their boat renters reported catches of 25-35 pickerel and eight to 12 bass per outing over the weekend. The streams are near capacity with catches of trout on red mealies and wax worms. Fathead minnows and in-line spinners are producing some good catches at Little Mud Pond and Minisink Lake. Shohola reports good caches of bass and pickerel. Report from Fairview Lake talked of nice trout and walleye. Shad have made their way to Bushkill.
Sportsman's Outlet, 205 Applegate Road & Route 611, Stroudsburg (570-424-5450): Ron says the statewide opening day of trout seemed successful on local streams. Customers reported some nice catches with a variety of baits and lures. The shad are starting to move up the Delaware River, and the weather is finally cooperating. Mike Devers Jr. and daughter Molly had a great outing, netting 10 trout in their secret spot on the Bushkill. The store now offers Gamma fishing line and leaders.
Mauch Chunk Lake Boat Rental and Bait Shop, 625 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe, (570-325-0100): Jeremy says the fishing at the lake has been slow but picking up. Early morning is doing well from about 5-9 a.m. off the fishing pier, and then in the evening after 7-10 p.m. He is getting reports of blue gills, perch and bass being caught with worms and minnows. The Cove down by the dam is doing well for pickerel and bass. Leeches and minnows work the best there. They are catching nice perch and catfish by the second boat ramp. The shop is open for the season 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends only starting May 4. It features minnows, leeches and worms as well as snacks, boat rentals, and tackle. Stop in or give the shop a call at 570-325-0100.
Willie's Bait & Tackle, 5105 Main St., Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says the Jordan Creek has been fishing really well. The Lehigh River is OK, with a 21-inch tiger trout being pulled in, but the water temperature is still really cold for the trout. Despite the cold water, there have been reports of smallmouth bass catches. The Hokendauqua has just been stocked, and the Little Lehigh has been stocked practically every week. Good reports have also been coming from the Monocacy. The shad run is definitely on in Easton. Fishing has been good despite the wind and cold.
Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says the heavy rains that fell after the last fish stocking did the job, spreading fish throughout the streams. Plenty of anglers are coming in reporting catch-and-release outings exceeding 20-30 fish. Most of the successful anglers are using small light tackle and baits. Butter worms have been the top reported bait. If you're fishing clear water and like small baits, Bob just got in a load of baby-size blackhead worms that are perfect for No. 12 or 14 hooks. These are the worms the old-timers talk about. Several anglers are reporting that good shad activity has started, and smallmouth bass and catfish being caught as well. For the anglers enjoying the streams out in turkey-hunting country, remember that spring turkey season opens Saturday, so you should wear some bright orange color with your clothing. It looks like some great outdoor weather is on the way. Remember to share your time afield with a kid or and old-timer, and as for a tip for the week, it's soon time to plant your garden tomatoes, so place a trout's head and guts about 10 inches below your plant. The bones, heads and guts are rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and trace minerals, all vital to plant growth. It worked for our Native Americans, and it works for Bob. He said good luck and tight lines.
Archery @ the Glenn, 7 Auburn St., Allentown, (610-791-7665): Brian says the Little Lehigh continues to get stocked full of trout each week. Customers are doing well with meal worms, super meal worms, red worms and minnows. Small lakes and ponds are heating up on panfish going for fathead minnows and nightcrawlers. Big lakes are slowly warming and should turn on any day just in time for next week's walleye opener. Big trout this week are from Rich Mulicka with a 19-inch, 4-pound, 4-ounce rainbow on a minnow in the Little Lehigh, and Rich Kunkle caught a 21-inch, 3-pound, 8-ounce brown trout in the Little Lehigh on a nightcrawler.
Heritage Fly Shop, 2643 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown (610-248-8836): Dave says nymphs, Pheasant tails, Hare's ears and sucker spawn are working on the bottom. Green flies are working on the surface. Caddis are showing up with the very good water conditions.
Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, 328 East Lawn Road, Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Mike says trout fishing seems to be getting better. Trout are taking fatheads and hitting more on live bait than artificial. Blaine got two 25-plus-inch brown trout from Lake Wallenpaupack on Tuesday. Shad have been going crazy. Crappies are being caught in the Pocono lakes. Turkeys are gobbling.
Klotz's Bait Shop, 216 Hess Ave., Hellertown (610-838-7970): Caroline says Stan Smith's grandson Jay caught a 21-inch rainbow on minnows. Lincoln Spitzer, 6, of Hellertown caught a 16.5-inch Palomino on butter worms. Bob Weaver of Hellertown caught three big trout on butter worms in the Little Lehigh
Cabela's, 100 Cabela Drive Hamburg, (610-929-7000): Jon Reilly, the fishing and fly fishing department manager at Cabela's, says large and smallmouth bass action has been on the increase this week with many anglers reporting success. Water temperatures have the bass moving into shallow water looking to feed and warm up during the day. These fish will soon be scouting for spawning areas near the shoreline. Wacky-style worms and other slow-sinking soft plastics have been performing very well and are a great bait to fish in shallow water. Use little or no extra weight on the line whenever possible to get the best sinking action out of these baits. Smallmouth action has been hit or miss on the Susquehanna with some big fish being caught on jerk baits and tubes. Fishing slow will get you more bites this time of year. Look for the bass activity to really pick up next week as waters warm and fish activity increases. Good luck!
2013 Marine Regulations for New Jersey:
The Tackle Box, 1134 State Route 36, Hazlet (732-264-7711) http://www.striperspecial.com: Phil says the stripers are turned on. They weighed in an 18.5-pounder that was caught on clams from Keansburg Beach on Thursday, as well as a 17.25-pounder on bunker chunk from Keyport. Ed Sosnovik of Allentown caught a 25-pounder from the boat while clamming. Boats are trolling stretch plugs and catching with clams and bunker.
Brielle Tackle, 800 Ashley Ave., Brielle (732-528-5720) http://www.brielletackle.com: Greg says the stripers are being caught from the party boats. Inshore, blackfish are being caught between the 5- and 6-mile wrecks. Stripers are there within a mile of the inlet while jigging and clamming. Some are keepers. Herring and rubber worms are working. The Manasquan River is producing winter flounder up to 18 inches on sandworms. Small tautog and stripers are being caught there as well. The action is good all over, and there isn't a lot of angler pressure.
LITTLE EGG INLET
Scott's Bait & Tackle, 945 Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor Township (609-296-1300) http://www.scottsbt.com: Scott says there is some fantastic fishing going on with stripers, bluefish and drum action hot right now, and they are getting hammered. High tides are preferred for the best action. Fresh clams are working for stripers and drum, with blues going after bunker and mackerel. The big drum fish on Wednesday was 37 inches, and 32.4 pounds. On Monday, a 36-inch, 17.5-pound striper got weighed in. Scott says it's nice to finally have some hot action going on, so come on down.
Avalon Hodge Podge Bait & Tackle, 2389 Ocean Drive, Avalon (609-967-3274) http://avalonhp.com: Dave and Tammie say the fish have shown up, especially in the surf. Stripers and tautog have been plentiful in the surf just about every morning. The stripers have been taken on both clam and bucktails, but the bigger ones have been hitting fresh clams. The tog have been mostly throw-backs with a few keepers mixed in using green crabs. Finally, Gray from Green Holly Campground weighed in from the surf a 31-inch, 19-pound black "puppy" drum he caught using fresh clams. Also special mention to the speckled trout that Mike L. caught in the back bay using Fin-S pink shad on bucktail.
2013 Delaware Fishing Guide: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/Documents/2013%20Fishing%20Guide.pdf
Old Inlet Bait & Tackle, Highway One, Rehoboth (302-227-7974) http://www.oldinlet.com: Jim says it's been up and down. Sunday was a great day from the beach for stripers and bluefish. Monday, it went to pieces with the wind, which continues to blow. Tautog fishing is OK at the inlet.