Fishing in October is very unpredictable

October 2011 News

With better than 25 inches of rain in the last two months, we can only hope the wet pattern doesn't continue into October. One thing is for sure: some fisheries will benefit, while others will be hurt.

So here is a look at what we might see this month.

Local Fishing

Most of the lakes and ponds are very high. Water temperatures are in the 60s and will more than likely drop into the low 50s by the end of the month. Most lakes are seeing an early and late day crappie bite, while bass fishing has been very good on live bait. Because of the high water levels, most lakes will see plenty of holes in their vegetation. This means live-lining minnows will continue to give excellent results. You will also find some good fishing on floating swimming plugs and soft swimbaits.

Delaware River
Fishing has been some of the poorest we have seen in many years with the river being unfishable for better than eight weeks. Smallmouth fishing in the river north of Trenton was well below that of recent years, and the discovery of the Columnaris virus more than likely means we have lost a lot of smallies in the river. Combine the loss in numbers of smallies because of the virus and the high water conditions we are most likely to see in October, smallmouth fishing is going to be tough.

On the up side, we saw a very good spring for walleyes, and the high water is sure to help these fish, unless they, too, contracted the virus. Biologists with whom I have spoken said they believe the virus was confined to the smallies.

From the lower river, I have received reports of bass and crappie hitting in the backwater areas, and there are no problems with the virus in the tidal river. Look for some good tide water fishing in October, especially on live bait and jigs.

Largemouth Fishing
Bass fishing throughout the state has been seeing mixed results. Many lakes are still in bad shape from the floods. Look for the bass fishing to be slow to start in the upper and lower parts of the state. Mid-state waters fared better, and fishing is already starting up. Most of the fishing throughout the state will be on live bait, with the better fishing during the early part of the month being in the shallow areas, gradually moving into the deeper water as the month progresses.

Smallmouth Fishing 
Most of the better rivers are running high. Smallmouth fishing has started up in the South Branch and the main stem of the Raritan River, the Passaic River and the lower portions of the Musconetcong. Here, too, anglers should see some good fishing on live bait.

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