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Trout fishing contests should make for big catches this weekend

Gary Blockus

Gary Blockus

9:26 PM EDT, May 16, 2013

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If you're into trout fishing, this is the weekend to get out there and do it.

Two great contests take place this weekend.

Saturday features both the 2013 Lunkerfest on the Lehigh River from the East Penn Township Boat launch in Bowmanstown, and the Little Lehigh Junior Fishing Derby.

The 2013 Lunkerfest is conducted by the Lehigh River Stocking Association as one of its fundraisers for its effort to stock legal size trout in the river. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission only stocks fingerling trout in the Lehigh, so the work accomplished through the LRSA is critical for area trout anglers to enjoy their favorite pastime in the river. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and fishing begins at 9 a.m. Specially tagged fish can bring you big prizes.

The Little Lehigh Junior Derby begins 10 a.m. on the stretch of the Little Lehigh between the Robin Hood Bridge (the first bridge off the 15th Street entrance to the Lehigh parkways) and the next bridge down. This contest is for those anglers under 16, so no license is required. You must be under 16, and you must register at the tent on the grassy area before you begin fishing in order to be eligible for prizes.

The Little Lehigh Senior Derby, for those 16 and older, begins 9 a.m. Sunday from the same spot and the same registration rules apply. Participants in this contest must have the required state fishing license and trout/salmon permit.

The main tent at the Little Lehigh Derby, which is celebrating its 77th year, will also have bait, tackle and refreshments on sale. The Little Lehigh Derby is run by the Lehigh County Fish & Game Protective Association, which is one of the three sportsmens clubs (including Trout Creek and Pioneer) that operate the Queen City Trout Nursery farther upstream in the parkway before Cedar Crest Boulevard. The nursery has been stocking the creek all season, and there is a special stocking with tagged fish for this weekend's contest.

Pete Burkhardt, president of LCF&GA, said that because of the nice weather predicted for the weekend, the group is hoping for about 1,000 contestants between the junior and senior derbies.

More information on both contests is included in the Outdoor Calendar.

And don't forget to upload your fish photos to the online Photo Gallery at http://www.mcall.com/outdoors .

FRESHWATER REPORT

2013 Pennsylvania Fishing Regulations: http://fishinpa.com/

2013 Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Schedule: http://pfbc.state.pa.us/pfbc_webgis/TroutStockingDetails.aspx

Wallenpaupack Sports Shop, Route 6, Hawley (570-226-4797): Mark says stripers are still hitting at night on Rippling red fins and Bomber A's, and walleye are also hitting in the flats from the shore on the same lures. Perch in the 14-15-inch range are hitting fathead minnows and small herring. Wallenpaupack smallmouth bass are getting slammed using Kai-techs or other swim baits with jig heads. Calicoes are spawning in Ledgedale and Martins Cove and are striking at floats with a fathead. Everyone is catching pickerel. A correction to last week's catch: it was a 42-inch channel catfish and an 18-pound northern pike, not those combined statistics for a pickerel. Calicoes are hitting fatheads in Shohola. Trout are going after copper blue foxes and woolly bugs in the Lackawaxen River. Shad darts and shad spoons are producing 5-7-pound shad.

Pecks Pond Boat Rentals, Tackle & Bait, Dingmans Ferry, (570-775-7237) peckspondrentals@yahoo.com; http://www.peckspond.com: Roger says area lakes like Shohola, Pecks and Greeley are drawing pickerel and bass with poppers. The pop frog Zs, chuggers, scum frogs and other top waters are drawing in the warmer lakes. Pickerel are taking shiners, jerk baits and even some tube baits with a slider jig head. Live bait like red worms and wax worms are good for panfishing in the lakes. For trout in the lakes, try Castmasters and bigger rooster tails. Saw Creek, the Bushkill and Lackawaxen River trout are chasing spinners right now. There are still shad around Shohola.

Sportsman's Outlet, 205 Applegate Rd. & Rt 611, Stroudsburg (570-424-5450): Ron says trout action seems to have leveled off, but customers are reporting above-average size trout, and most limit out when they go. Lake fishing is starting to heat up with the weather getting warmer and water temperatures rising. Striper action is fast and furious on Lake Wallenpaupack with big ones taken at Beltzville. John Reccek of Lower Saucon Township landed three stripers in the 20-pound range at Beltzville using Rapalas and live bait. Frank says that before you head out with your boat, have your battery tested. Nothing ruins a great day of fishing like a dead battery, so better safe than sorry.

Mauch Chunk Lake Boat Rental and Bait Shop, 625 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe, (570-325-0100): Jeremy says the perch are very active at the lake this week. The shop is getting lots of reports of fishermen catching perch along the beach area, the opposite shore line and down at the cove. Average size of the perch is 9 inches, with wonderful color. Also by the beach area, the bluegills and crappies are extremely active. Most of the fishermen were catching the perch, bluegills, and crappies on worms. The last few days the bass and pickerel were picking up activity as well. They seem to prefer minnows. The most activity for them is the mountain shore line directly across from the beach area, and the cove area. Two 17-inch bass were caught over the weekend.

Willie's Bait & Tackle, 5105 Main St., Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says Randy Knopf of Northampton caught six trout in the 17-22-inch range using spinners in the Lehigh River. Beltzville walleye and striper action is on. Walleye are between 17-23 inches, and stripers have been over 20. Some of the customers headed to the Upper Delaware River on Thursday and hit into five shad not long into fishing. The Little Lehigh and Jordan creeks are producing good trout. Mud Pond was good for small crappies, bass and pickerel.

Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says there's not a whole lot of fishing reports coming in. Pockets of trout are still being found in the creeks, mostly smaller now that the big ones have been picked out. Bob was at Leaser Lake on Sunday and said the water has about 10 feet to go before it hits the spillways. Customers are going for stripers and catfish contests. Spring gobbler action has slowed as well. Bob hears gobbles early in the morning, but then it quiets down. Autumn olive has started to bloom, which Bob has found makes it better for gobbler hunting. Mushrooms are getting sparser, but it has been a good morel season. The ticks are starting to show up now that the weather is warmer.

Archery @ the Glenn, 7 Auburn St., Allentown, (610-791-7665): Brian says the Little Lehigh should be in great shape for the weekend fishing contest. Local streams still have plenty of trout and customers have been doing well with butter worms, baby nightcrawlers and suddenly popular salmon peach Powerbait. Local lakes have been turning on drifting large shiners and trolling bigger stick baits.

Heritage Fly Shop, 2643 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown (610-248-8836): Dave says the Little Lehigh continues to fish well on the bottom. Zebra midges work well early in the morning. Crane flies are the most abundant surface flies followed by caddis. Ants are also a good fly to use both as a dry or sunken fly.

Backwoods Angler Guide Service, Bethlehem, (610-868-9349): Blaine says that the Delaware River smallmouth bass went into spawn mode last week. Lots of bass are in current areas that are not usually associated with the spawn. The water rose 1.4 feet late in the week and is on the way back down already. Top water lures and Case magic sticks were best for taking bass up to 19-inches last week. The north branch of the Susquehanna River has been on fire. Bass are in the current and eating most anything thrown at them. The spawning bass are in the eddies, but there are so many available to be caught in the current, there is no need to target slack water.

Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, 328 East Lawn Rd., Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Mike says a nice 30-inch walleye was caught in the Delaware River. Shad are being caught in good numbers pretty much everywhere on the Delaware. One day it's Easton, the next it's PPL. Pocono lake pickerel action has turned on. Trout fishing is still good if you're fishing small, and salted minnows and work wax worms are best baits.

Klotz's Bait Shop, 216 Hess Ave., Hellertown (610-838-7970): Caroline says things are busy and Jon Bauer of Bethlehem caught two 18-inchers and a 16-inch bass on nightcrawlers in Otter Lake.

Cabela's, 100 Cabela Drive Hamburg, (610-929-7000): Jon Reilly, the fishing and fly fishing department manager at Cabela's, says that water temperatures remain cooler than usual for this time of year. The Susquehanna River is still averaging water temperatures in the low to mid 50's. This has helped extend the big smallmouth bite, but is delaying the big carp and catfish feed that many anglers look forward to in the spring. The cool nights will help sustain the lake and reservoir trout fishing opportunities into the summer. Many of our local bodies of water warm too much or have too low of an oxygen content during the hot summer months to support trout. Look for feeder streams or any cooler water source as the summer months inch closer and you will probably find the remaining trout in our local still-waters. There have been a lot of customers in this week reporting success catching stripers and some bluefish off the New Jersey coast. Bucktails and spoons have been popular buys here at the store. Be sure to call or stop by for any product recommendations and advice. Good luck!

SALTWATER REPORT

NEW JERSEY

2013 Marine Regulations for New Jersey:

http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/saltwater.htm

The Tackle Box, 1134 State Route 36, Hazlet (732-264-7711) http://www.striperspecial.com: Phil says they weighed in a 39-pound striped bass caught on bunker off the Raritan Bay shore. Fluke opens Saturday and bluefish are still all over the place.

BARNEGAT BAY

Brielle Tackle, 800 Ashley Ave., Brielle (732-528-5720) http://www.brielletackle.com: Greg says there have been reports of stripers, bluefish and weakfish in the river. The striper fishing for boats has been sporadic outside the inlet. Sea bass and fluke open on Saturday.

AVALON

Avalon Hodge Podge Bait & Tackle, 2389 Ocean Drive, Avalon (609-967-3274) http://avalonhp.com: Dave and Tammie say that it was another tough week for fishing because the weather had not been cooperating. Despite that, however, the striped bass action has not slowed up at all. There were several nice-sized fish caught in the surf using clams and bunker. The biggest weighed in this week was caught by Bob Helinek at 43-inches, 28.56 pounds. There were also a few reports of 20-inch-plus fluke and tautog that were caught/released on clams while hunting for those striped bass. The bluefish are also still around in both the back bay and surf, being caught mostly on clams, but also on mackerel and mullet. Check out http://www.avalonhp.com for all the fish pictures from the shop and latest news of specials this year as they celebrate their 15th year of ownership.

DELAWARE

2013 Delaware Fishing Guide: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries/Documents/2013%20Fishing%20Guide.pdf

REHOBOTH BEACH

Old Inlet Bait & Tackle, Highway One, Rehoboth (302-227-7974) http://www.oldinlet.com: Jim says action has slowed down considerably. Some bluefish and shad were at the inlet in the incoming water. Surf action has come to a near-stop. Night anglers are doing better.

gary.blockus@mcall.com

610-820-6782