Saturday, March 28, 2015

Open Water in New Jersey

A week ago Thursday, my neighborhood bass pond opened up. The fountains left on all winter helped keep some water open, and besides, a small creek feeds the pond; heavy rains erode ice fast. That's especially to look for, if you want to catch bass while people continue to ice fish the likes of Lake Hopatcong. In fact, guys were out this past weekend on the ice. Ponds with creeks entering them serve an alternative. Rain may muddy water, but once that clears, bass can be caught.

The photograph is of my black lab Sadie and Bedminster Pond along the Hike and Bike Trail and just off U.S. 206. While my neighborhood pond was open, I visited here last Friday and though ice was on the way out, it still covered. See the other photo.

The report from Beher's Bait and Tackle indicates Round Valley Reservoir yet frozen, and Hopatcong isn't expected to be completely open for Opening Day trout season. Who knows, really, given a couple of 70-degree days. Tomorrow night, teens. We hoped to fish Round Valley for trout Sunday, but with the chill, I can only hope some time next week.

My buddy Noel told me on the phone earlier that his favorite private pond is still frozen. I had a look at the Wood Duck Pond here in Bedminster. The ice is shot, but still covering. Noel suggested Manasquan Reservoir remains iced over, though his information is dated and he was unsure. Go to the Pinelands and fish pickerel. I'm sure open water awaits.

The Delaware's a bet for walleye, if the water's clear, and the Passaic River yields a lot of pike during the past week or more down below the sections reserved for stocked trout. Spruce Run Reservoir, last I heard, is not entirely ice-free, but pike may be attempted near the creek entrances.

Ponds here and there offer some fishing. I think Mercer Lake is open too. Given a very mild day, bass, crappie and pickerel move into shallows and a Rebel Minnow is hard to beat for surface fishing as sunset nears. This plug sits at an angle on the surface, rear submerged. Twitch it just to lift the rear and bass may take it like a trout's sip rise.