Cold brings high streams
Jim Stabile
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Trout anglers have found fishing ranging from fantastic to terrible, but cold weather and less fishermen have been consistent this season.

Our global warming cold and rain made fishing uncomfortable and now streams could be high during the spring season's heaviest week of in-season stocking -- 80,990 fish -- that starts tomorrow. Bigger trout being stocked twice required two truckloads instead of one to carry fish last week, but fishermen haven't complained.

Spring Lake's big opening day kids' contest with big trout drew "at least 2,000 people during the day," more than 500 of them kids, according to Greg Hueth, president of the Shark River Anglers Club, which sponsored the event and served food, 40 cases of soda, 75 gallons of hot chocolate, plus coffee. A 9-year-old's 8 1/4-pound tiger trout caught on Power Bait won the event, but there are plenty of big fish still there.

Hueth, who works in New York, was fishing for them Thursday because he figured "with the bad weather, there wouldn't be many people out," and trout over 10 pounds still hadn't been caught.

Bob Decker, a Rockaway resident and former sports editor of the New York Post and Daily Record, fished with friends and kids at Mount Hope Pond opening day, had line freezing in the guides, terrible fishing, but did good in the Rockaway River last week on tan Power Bait and Phoebes.

Shad watch

High and dirty water didn't help nonexistent shad fishing last week, but when the water level drops and the water warms and clears, fishermen should start catching shad in the upper Delaware. The nets at Lewis Island in the Delaware River at Lambertville failed to bring in any before the rain started.

Fishing on a lake or reservoir is a lot colder than stream fishing, but that didn't keep diehards from trolling on Lake Hopatcong and picking up state and Knee Deep Club-stocked trout. Strong winds bring a warning not to go out in a boat of Round Valley, but Hopatcong's only uncomfortable, not as deadly.

Tim Clancy of the Knee Deep Club expects some outstanding trout fishing ahead on Lake Hopatcong, which was stocked by the club and the state and will get more state trout.

"There haven't been a lot of guys out," Clancy said on Thursday. "Many guys didn't put their boats in early (because of ice), and I've found trout don't bite well when the water temperature's in the 40s. It was 47 today. When it gets into the 50s, some great fishing's going to break out."

Tim has caught early trout in Woodport, which is shallower than most of the lake, so the water warms into the 50s earlier than on the south side of Brady's Bridge. Get those gold Phoebes ready to troll, folks.

Coyote ugly

New Jersey coyote attacks on pets and people should be expected to increase as coyote numbers increase from the estimated 3,000 we have in the state now. A child was attacked by a coyote last weekend in Middletown, where cats and dogs also have been killed by coyotes.

The Department of Environmental Protection, which also avoids giving bad news about bears, said that was the first, when there was one at William Paterson College last fall, another in Boonton Township on Sept. 15, 1999, another in the 1970s reported by the state Department of Health, plus two kids who were bitten by zoo coyote that had escaped in Westfield. Who knows how many?

California leads the country in coyote attacks, having had 89 on humans between the late 1970s and 2003, according to a scientific paper that pointed out 79 percent of the attacks have occurred in the past decade, indicating the problem was increasing. A high proportion of bear attacks also have occurred during recent years in North America.