Oliver arrived a little before me and spoke to two guys coming off in a jonboat who caught nothing but sunfish, fishing all day from early morning. We got on the water at about 5:15, fishing from Oliver's double kayak, Oliver insisting on fly fishing while I brought along my 5 1/2-foot St. Croix spinning, as well as a 6 wt. fly rod. I trolled a weighted Clouser minnow for a short while. Then I concentrated on bass fishing, allowing a weightless Chompers worm to slip down among towering weeds as deep as 25 feet.
The results: six bass, the largest 17 inches, others 16, 15, and nine or 10 inches, all quickly released. Oliver caught sunfish on a dry fly, including a couple of them really panfish-sized. One of those actually hit a small streamer. But he hooked something mysterious on the dry fly--bass-sized--though none of us got a sighting other than commotion on top.
Mid-lake, flying ants speckled the surface, and we spotted something pretty big sipping them. Brown trout exist in the lake, very few. The surface must have been 77 degrees, and yet who knows. Would a straggler brown surface to sip a few dozen and dive back down?
Certainly the salmon shoot up from cold depths and crash herring on top. We saw this action long before sunset. Water clear, they see the herring and zero in. Besides, lateral lines can sense those herring better than sight, at least on calm days. At sunset and thereafter, we eased about mid-lake for an opportune moment for Oliver to fly cast a streamer, and for me to heave my heavy Kastmaster a mile.
We saw some crashes. I kept throwing my Kastmaster where a single salmon had surfaced and splashed minutes before, and hooked one. The Kastmaster has a single, large hook more suited for bluefish. I fought one for 10 or 15 seconds before it got off that hook.
Yeah, hooking a salmon in New Jersey makes me feel young again. You look out on the lake from shore--you'll never hook one! But all that space is fair game. The herring cruise and the salmon shoot like silver terror anywhere and everywhere so long as it's deep below, which is a lot of water, but not too much.
Sometimes when they crash on top it really is a sight to see with water splashing around like kids in a pool forcing it in each other's faces.