DoorGunner

Stretch your fishing season.

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I can see it from our dock as each day fewer and fewer boats are heading out. The holidays are here and god only knows what the weather will do. Many marinas are closing and boat lifts will be shut down soon so is it over? NO.

When I first moved to South Jersey I all bu gave up on fresh water fishing but lately it's been the lifeline that keeps the fishing mind working and the rod bending. So many beautiful lakes in my neck of the woods and the great thing about lakes is the fish can't go anywhere. Trapped here just like us. 

Fish have to eat even in the winter and some actually do very well in cold even icy waters. The lake I fish has an abundance of pickerel, yellow perch and crappie and on light tackle they are a lot of fun and usually very cooperative. 

I see a few guys fishing artificial's but it's slow because the fish are not as aggressive when the water cools way down. A live or even a dead minnow always draws interest and there is something real cool about sitting or standing at the edge of a lake in December, January and February and catching fish. 

If you get the bug during the winter then pick up some light tackle and catch some bait and go at it. also check your maps for trout stocked lakes as they are another fish that will take a hook. The one lake near me just received 200 new trout just this past week so I may have to take a ride over and check it out. 

Hope to bump into some of you guys who want to stretch the season out a little longer.  

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23 hours ago, DoorGunner said:

I can see it from our dock as each day fewer and fewer boats are heading out. The holidays are here and god only knows what the weather will do. Many marinas are closing and boat lifts will be shut down soon so is it over? NO.

When I first moved to South Jersey I all bu gave up on fresh water fishing but lately it's been the lifeline that keeps the fishing mind working and the rod bending. So many beautiful lakes in my neck of the woods and the great thing about lakes is the fish can't go anywhere. Trapped here just like us. 

Fish have to eat even in the winter and some actually do very well in cold even icy waters. The lake I fish has an abundance of pickerel, yellow perch and crappie and on light tackle they are a lot of fun and usually very cooperative. 

I see a few guys fishing artificial's but it's slow because the fish are not as aggressive when the water cools way down. A live or even a dead minnow always draws interest and there is something real cool about sitting or standing at the edge of a lake in December, January and February and catching fish. 

If you get the bug during the winter then pick up some light tackle and catch some bait and go at it. also check your maps for trout stocked lakes as they are another fish that will take a hook. The one lake near me just received 200 new trout just this past week so I may have to take a ride over and check it out. 

Hope to bump into some of you guys who want to stretch the season out a little longer.  

Awesome positivity! I need to find a place with pickerel, I had a spot that was private but was taken away from me. I have gone LMB fishing but it is usually not very eventful. The biggest LMB I caught in 2018 was in February on that 70 degree day we got though. Which was sweet. I have tried cat fishing in the river but it was slow as well.

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On 12/1/2019 at 9:04 AM, DoorGunner said:

I can see it from our dock as each day fewer and fewer boats are heading out. The holidays are here and god only knows what the weather will do. Many marinas are closing and boat lifts will be shut down soon so is it over? NO.

When I first moved to South Jersey I all bu gave up on fresh water fishing but lately it's been the lifeline that keeps the fishing mind working and the rod bending. So many beautiful lakes in my neck of the woods and the great thing about lakes is the fish can't go anywhere. Trapped here just like us. 

Fish have to eat even in the winter and some actually do very well in cold even icy waters. The lake I fish has an abundance of pickerel, yellow perch and crappie and on light tackle they are a lot of fun and usually very cooperative. 

I see a few guys fishing artificial's but it's slow because the fish are not as aggressive when the water cools way down. A live or even a dead minnow always draws interest and there is something real cool about sitting or standing at the edge of a lake in December, January and February and catching fish. 

If you get the bug during the winter then pick up some light tackle and catch some bait and go at it. also check your maps for trout stocked lakes as they are another fish that will take a hook. The one lake near me just received 200 new trout just this past week so I may have to take a ride over and check it out. 

Hope to bump into some of you guys who want to stretch the season out a little longer.  

Would love to hear some suggestions on how to raise some LMB's in winter. Have tried often with different presenations. Always strike out. Amazed by guys who are able to get a few on a given winter outing. 

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7 hours ago, joefishnj21 said:

Would love to hear some suggestions on how to raise some LMB's in winter. Have tried often with different presenations. Always strike out. Amazed by guys who are able to get a few on a given winter outing. 

It took me 2 winters but i eventually caught LMB in every month of the year. I'm talking going out maybe twice a month from late November through February. 

 

The advice i was given was to fish on the north side of bodies of water; the reason being that it gets more Sun (heat) than the south. Also I was told to fish around rocks/rip-rap because they absorb and radiate heat. Small presentations like 3" slug-gos with a 1/32oz pegged weight have worked for me.

 

Fish beyond-slow with ultra light tackle and watch the line because pick-ups aren't likely to be felt. 

 

Gotta remember, fish are cold blooded

 

 

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Due to work I get very little time for fresh water fishing during the warm months. It's November thru March where I get some free time for the fresh. 

I know to the fresh water guys this may sound strange but I never had the desire for LMB since they are sluggish at best during the colder months. On the other hand the pickerel, crappie and perch seem to get more aggressive as the water cools and come out to play. On Thanksgiving morning two of us had a total of about two dozen fish with most being decent size pickerel in a little more than an hour. It was cold and windy so it took good action to keep us out there. 

Last winter I had some incredible days in January and February with great numbers of the three fish. As a joke I would count from 10 down to 0 after my minnow hit the water and many times I didn't get past 5 before I had a strike. 

I'm old now but as long as I have action like that my joints don't ache as much and my face might stiffen up but it has a big grin on it. 

There is just something so special when you set the hook and the rod bends and then you feel the head shake. Anyone who has never caught fish can't understand that feeling and someone who has can never explain it. . 

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With the popularity of striper fishing, and more so that every banana head has a 4WD now, I find myself going back to FW more and more. I love to fish and don’t want or need the glory that comes w striper fishing. In the winter finding a good white perch hole is more gratifying than any striper I can catch..  And crappie and both yellow and white perch, even sunfish, are delish..  

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I agree 100%.

I have drifted away from saltwater fishing these past few years. Found a good carp lake for some of the big ones. Even match fight wise against stripers and my cold water lakes give me a lot of fun when the stripers are long gone. 

It used to be fun when I could take a flat bottom boat out into the real skinny waters even in July and be all alone because there wasn't a channel marker within a mile of me. Now I go to these places and get buzzed by the waverunners. 

I still do a decent amount of salt fishing but it's loosing it's appeal faster and faster. 

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I’ve been fishing freshwater in NJ for 40+ years and I’m telling you, these are the good old days you’ll look back on. The variety of fish and sizes is excellent. As to OP point, it’s opened up my season to 12 months. 

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Honestly I am very surprised to read this thread.  I have never had any luck catching freshwater fish after turnover (late October) through March.  I live in central Jersey and am close to several rivers, lakes, ponds, and canals.  Besides the minnows mentioned earlier, what type of lure and presentation do you use to have success during the cold months?  I would love to drop a line again more locally - and not feel like I am just standing in the cold.

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We fished the end of a river here in South Jersey to catch the fish we stocked the lake with. We used very small jigs with tiny twister tails or Marabou jigs like these

Image result for marabou jigs pics

A friend I met while fishing turned me on to the Marabou and his secret concoction he sprayed on the hairs. He boiled down chicken thigh skins to get the fatty oil off them then strained it and put it in a pump spray bottle. Worked like magic. About every third cast we would spin the jig around real fast to get rid of the water then spray on the chicken oil. 

The lake I now fish that we stocked is a little difficult for artificial's because it's the shallow end of the lake and has a lot of weed thats kind of slimy and fowls up whatever I toss out there. So since I have unlimited access to live minnows I avoid the hassle and just fish them under a float. Still have a problem with the slimy weed sometimes. During the summer the end of the lake is pretty thick with lily pads and they are gone now but the stems are still there just a few inches below the surface. The minnows love to swim to them and pick up some of the weed. I have to make sure every bit of it is off or no strike. 

If you have a body of water or a river near you there should be a supply of minnows even in the winter. They will gather in shallow quiet pools where there isn't much current to fight. Also around bridges or any concrete structure because it will hold heat and minnows are drawn to even a degree warmer water.

When the water at our dock gets real cold the minnows vanish but I have a go to place that never fails. It's a street sewer that feeds out through a storm drain into the intercoastal waterway. The minnows swim right up and enjoy the warmer water where the concrete around the drain reaches into the water. I just took an old rusted minnow trap and flattened it enough to slide it into the sewer. Full of minnows every time.

Now I just keep one of our yellow and white minnow buckets staked at the lake with about thirty minnows in it. When I need more I just restock it from the minnows I catch at our dock or from the sewer. Where there's a will there's a minnow. 

Half the fun for me is using the imagination to find the bait. Hit our big box store for a container of meal worms last winter when I was going trout fishing. They didn't carry them in the winter and figured I was out of luck then remembered Pet Smart and people with reptiles for pets. Turned out the meal worms were less expensive and much larger than the ones from the big box store and they carry them year round.     

.     

Edited by DoorGunner

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On 12/2/2019 at 10:34 AM, joefishnj21 said:

Would love to hear some suggestions on how to raise some LMB's in winter. Have tried often with different presenations. Always strike out. Amazed by guys who are able to get a few on a given winter outing. 

I used to FW fish 12 months of the year and compete throughout the winter. Like all fishing, nothing is set in stone but generally, you should be throwing jerkbaits, ned rigs, hair jigs and blade baits. All worked slow is your best bet. Rattle traps and jigs have their days and also even spinner baits(usually double colorado blades). If it were me, the first 4 lures are what I would focus on. Small and big tournaments are won, across the entire country, on those 4 when the temps drop. Another thing to add to the list and works for all species is the float n fly. Don't hesitate to hit me up if you need any help

 

 

To the post about Northern coves. Note: Im more so talking about bigger water, not a small pond. Another big factor as to why the North coves(south facing) come in to play are 1) they offer direct protection from the typical north and north westerly winds we get in the NE during fall and winter. 2) this does indeed help with warmer water, especially early spring. A lot of what you find during winter is where you will find them during pre-spawn and spawn. They usually just slide up and in as the water warms. A misconception is the winter fish are in a totally different area of a lake come pre-spawn but its quite the opposite and usually are the same fish. They just make adjustments in a given area providing it has the depth and structure for winter plus good cover and right bottom composition for spring

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