Fall fishing picks up; archery deer season opens Saturday

This weekend is a great time to be a hunter or angler. In addition to fishing activity on the rise on all the local streams, rivers and lakes and ponds, all kinds of activities are taking place at the New Jersey and Delaware shores, and up north on the popular Salmon River in New York.

But the best news of all, of course is the start of statewide archery season for deer. While local WMU 5C hunters have been able to legally harvest antlerless doe for the last two weeks, the entire state opens up for both antlered and antlerless deer on Saturday.

In celebration, the Fish Report is once again switching to the Outdoor Report to include some of the chatter on hunting deer, turkey, migratory birds and small game now that those seasons are pressing into our daily schedules.

Also, people are spreading false rumors about Klotz's Bait Shop. The shop is open but has assumed fall hours as it always has at this time of the year.

FRESHWATER REPORT

Willie's Bait & Tackle, Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says the brown trout are spawning in the Lehigh River and the catching is pretty good with one customer catching three, one at 17.5 inches. The brownies are actually trying to jump the falls. Smallmouth action is sporadic, but they are there. The creeks still have trout in honey holes. The Monocacy and Pohopoco and the Jordan above Wehr's Dam have activity. Reports from the Salmon River in New York are calling it the best run in 20 years.

Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says that good weather and just the right amount of rain have kept the farm crops on track. Deer are hammering soybeans right now as the leaves turn yellow. Corn is coming along and will be the hot spot later in the season. He has been receiving lots of emails of huge bucks on trail cameras. The bucks are some of the best he has seen in years. If the weather stays right, we should have a banner year on trophy bucks. Oak trees are showing an average yield and early dropping white oaks are always a sure bet. Chestnuts look big and plump. As far as scents and lures go, Bob uses mostly straight buck urine to cover scent, especially on feet walking in, as most bucks are in bachelor groups at the start of archery season. He has had bucks follow buck urine like it was a doe in heat because bucks will follow and seek out other bucks this time of year. Abundant rubs are visible throughout the region, and haphazard scrapes are starting to show up. Air out that rain gear and get it as scent-free as possible. You also want to keep your travel through the woods to a minimum. He loves hunting in the rain and has seen some of the biggest bucks in it, but always limits travel and keeps his rain gear clean and ready to go. Going into the season, keep in mind wind direction. Keep your nose to the wind. Thermals generally rise in the morning and fall in the evening. If you have a really good stand, and the wind isn't right, stay out of it and leave it for another day. Hunt another spot even if it isn't as good. Hunt that good spot when conditions are right. Be safe, shoot straight and wait for that good shot. Archery hunting is all about being up close and personal.

Archery @ the Glenn, Allentown, (610-791-7665): Brian hooked up with a couple of pickerel early in the morning Thursday at Beltsville. The Little Lehigh trout are said to be hitting at first light. The Lehigh River smallmouth and catfish are hitting minnows and worms. The lakes were hot last week, but not this week. Pickerel are hitting large shiners. For archery, some customers are reporting sightings of nice bucks while doe hunting. Hunters are looking forward to Saturday's statewide archery deer season.

Heritage Fly Shop, Little Lehigh Parkway, Allentown (610-248-8836): Dave says the Little Lehigh is in great shape. Tricos are appearing later in the morning. There are PMDs and PEDs. Midge activity is heaviest after 5 p.m.

Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Blaine says flathead catfish are showing up in the Delaware River. One customer caught a 30-pounder and 20-pounder and quite a few in the 14-pound range, as well as channel catfish up to 11 and 12 pounds. Bluegill fishing is fantastic on Lake Minsi. Temperatures are coming down in the creeks and customers are picking up trout. A lot of big bucks are showing up on trail cams, but it's been a little to warm for the doe hunters. Goose action has been pretty hot with most people limiting out.

Klotz's Bait Shop, Hellertown (610-838-7970): Caroline says that Jennifer Purcell of Bethlehem caught a 12.5-inch brown trout on a nightcrawler in the Saucon Creek and says the brownies are biting. Rumors that the shop is closing are false. Fall hours are in effect, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and Sundays 7 a.m.-2 p.m., and the shop is closed on Wednesdays.

SALTWATER REPORT

NEW JERSEY

Capt. Dave Riback of the Queen Mary, Point Pleasant (732-996-2579) http://www.njqueenmary.com: Capt. Dave reports that the great fishing continues. Slammer size bluefish were caught on trips Sunday and Monday, some of the biggest blues of the year so far in the 13-18.5-pound range. Jigs with red tails were working best. The false albacore are still in the mix and were thick at times late last week. Laura from Philly caught a 15-pounder. Monday finished off with lots of 3-5 pounders as fast as you could pull them for over an hour.

The Tackle Box in Hazlet (732-264-7711) http://www.striperspecial.com: Phil says the stripers are hot right now and biting at night, taking eels at the Sandy Hook rip and the channels. Bass are in the 12-15-pound range. Bluefish are in the bay from Sandy Hook to the Shrewsbury walks. Bottom fishing is good as well. Fluking ends Friday.

BARNEGAT BAY

Brielle Tackle (732-528-5720) http://www.brielletackle.com: Cathy says there are a lot of fluke in the inlet and surf, but keeper season closes on Friday. The boat for sea bass is doing fairly well. Bluefish are still being caught, as well false albacore. There are very few reports on tuna. Blackfish are in the canal and in the rocks at the inlet.

LITTLE EGG INLET

Scott's Bait & Tackle (609-296-1300) http://www.scottsbt.com: Scott says there must plenty of fishing because no one is around. Bluefish were by the Mile 10 marker earlier in the week, and there's a lot of small stuff, but angler traffic is light, and that's an understatement.

DELAWARE

REHOBOTH BEACH

Old Inlet Bait & Tackle (302-227-7974) http://www.oldinlet.com: Jim says they're catching sheepshead with sand fleas. There are a lot of bluefish in the inlet surf. Stripers are still being caught in the surf, fluke action is good and is still on after Friday. Tautog season opens Saturday.

gary.blockus@mcall.com

610-820-6782

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