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Mainstem Delaware

Joined:
2013/1/13 20:57
From Bucks Cty
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Although I fly fish for trout a few times a year. I'm not a fly guy for trout that much. I do fly fish the Delaware river for smalmouth, shad and stripers.

I've seen pics of some monster browns caught in the lower river - below Easton. They've been caught in the dead of winter on spinners and plugs by guys fishing for walleye. I'd like to try it with my fly rod. But I'm not sure what flies and how to present them for these type of fish. I suspect these fish drop back down river during the coldest months ?

Posted on: 2013/1/13 22:08


Re: Mainstem Delaware
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Duff,
Welcome to PAFF and our online community.
The phenomenon of brown trout (often large ones) being caught in larger rivers associated with warm water species occurs pretty much statewide. There are seasonally transient population of brown trout in most large rivers that have trout upriver, or cold water tribs and these fish can often move move many miles as waters warm in spring or cool in the fall. However, these big river brown trout - in my experience - are sparse and a difficult fishery, esp for fly fishers as the fish move so much and aren't always in predictable areas. Anyway, with that said, if you're jazzed to go get 'em, I'd talk to some of the walleye guys and see if they'll give you some intel on where these fish are in the river.....then I'd target them with a large streamer fished low and slow with a sink tip line. Mid day with cloudy skies and a warming trend would probably be best.

Posted on: 2013/1/14 8:37


Re: Mainstem Delaware

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2011/8/25 14:57
From Upper Bucks
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The large trout being caught in the lower Delaware are hard to specifically target. They are generally caught accidentally and they've always been caught by guys tossing hardware or bait.
All of the larger brooks or browns that I have caught below the trout section of the river have either been caught on hardware or centerpin gear.
I love fishing the Delaware because you never know what is going to be on the end of your line. Trout, smallies, stripers, walleye, muskie... they all eat the same foods and can occupy the same areas.

Posted on: 2013/1/14 13:37


Re: Mainstem Delaware

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From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
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I have done well on them over the years on muddler patterns "V" waked below the surface. Also some of them might be sea runs and they take bright salmon patterns along with streamers. I always caught them below the wing dams on the river and at tail outs on the pools. For getting down a lead core shooting always worked best.

Posted on: 2013/1/15 6:46
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Re: Mainstem Delaware

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2013/1/13 20:57
From Bucks Cty
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snadfly - Small World - PM Sent

Posted on: 2013/1/16 21:20


Re: Mainstem Delaware

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those browns if they are sea run will largely be nocturnal.

i'm not surprised if they'll take a muddler waked, bombers too i'd imagine.

would the lower delaware be too warm for them in summer ?

if not then they may be there all year, venturing only at night to pick off juvie bait and birds, mice etc.

Posted on: 2013/1/17 19:19
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Re: Mainstem Delaware

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Some are stocked fish from all the tributaries that are stocked, some are wild fish from all the wild trout streams feeding the river, some are wild river fish. Big woolly buggers should work.

Posted on: 2013/1/17 21:00
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Re: Mainstem Delaware
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Call me skeptical on the notion of sea run browns in the Delaware. Sure, there are browns, and big ones, in the river.
To be "sea run" however, they need to migrate down into tidal, brackish water. It's certainly possible during the colder months, but I think it's highly unlikely.

If anyone has any scientific evidence of this....I'd be curious to see it.

Posted on: 2013/1/17 21:46


Re: Mainstem Delaware

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2010/7/24 12:59
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The average temps around say Trenton are well into the 70 even low 80 for June- September. Not sure about sea run kinda think guys down this way would have had some experience with them but I only hear about em up north

Posted on: 2013/1/18 6:16


Re: Mainstem Delaware

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Be skeptical all ya want, I along with a few others have caught them. Not saying there is a lot but they are there. Temps might be 70-80 on surface but the deeper water is cold. Browns can get into to tidal water at trenton and below there the water is 40' or deeper. November is best time for them. Kenny Schram (r.i.p.) did a slide show for Buck's TU one year and showed them. Its not an every day thing you have to put your time in. The river tigers are easier to catch if you want big trout below frenchtown to new hope. how many guys are fishing the delaware in those areas in nov.-dec. ? not many I'm sure, especially fly rodders. and looking for trout too..probally none. Even when we did it there were no others on the river...just like fishing for shad in march we caught them when no one else did..

Attach file:



jpg  tiger delaware river 9-12-03.jpg (31.74 KB)
112_50f9381e6a64f.jpg 350X239 px

Posted on: 2013/1/18 6:51
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Re: Mainstem Delaware
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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Call me skeptical on the notion of sea run browns in the Delaware. Sure, there are browns, and big ones, in the river.
To be "sea run" however, they need to migrate down into tidal, brackish water. It's certainly possible during the colder months, but I think it's highly unlikely.

If anyone has any scientific evidence of this....I'd be curious to see it.


From the NJDEP site: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/crunbrn.htm

Occasional catch reports of sea run brown trout from the Manasquan River prompted the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries to initiate a stocking program to create a sea run brown trout fishery. Since 1997, in addition to the regular spring and fall stockings, over 300,000 eight-inch brown trout have been stocked in the brackish and lower freshwater sections of the river for that purpose.

During the first years the trout were stocked at the end of October below the freshwater license line midway down the estuary, and at the Route 70 Bridge. Some of these fish were preyed upon by seagulls as they were being stocked, and by cormorants shortly thereafter. There were also reports of people cast netting and angling for these trout for use as bait for striped bass. The majority of these trout, however, did move upstream to the tidal freshwater and freshwater portions of the river as evidenced by anglers' reported catches (and mostly, releases).

Therefore, in subsequent years, these trout have been stocked in the tidal freshwater section of the Manasquan River Wildlife Management Area (pdf, 490kb) where there has been no observed bird predation. Some of the brown trout remain there for the winter, while others move upstream to non-tidal freshwater where a number will stay for the rest of their lives, retaining normal brown trout coloration. During late winter or early spring, as the daylight increases and the water warms, some brown trout move downstream and out to the estuary where they find abundant forage.

The time individual brown trout spend in an estuary varies widely. Some may remain there for years before returning to freshwater during the fall and winter to attempt spawning. These fish are much heavier and silvery in coloration. Others remain in an estuary for much shorter periods, apparently making frequent migrations back and forth well before they are even ready to spawn. Their coloration, too, changes just as frequently. During any of these migration scenarios, individual brown trout may choose to remain in freshwater where they take on and retain normal brown trout coloration.

The mature, heavier, deep bodied, silvery sea runs returning to freshwater during the fall and winter to attempt spawning, do not migrate together in large schools, but apparently return individually or in pairs. High river flows enable them to move upstream through riffles and past obstructions that they could not negotiate during low flows. When the river drops, they reside in deep water, awaiting another rise in water level to migrate further upstream.

Of the three species of trout raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery (brook, brown, rainbow), browns are the most difficult to catch. Sea run brown trout are even more elusive. A casual approach to the stream bank will spook them. An angler can present a lure or bait to a sea run brown trout 500 times without a strike, but on the 501st time the fish may take it.

This cautious fish is eagerly sought by anglers in the United Kingdom (where they are referred to as "sea trout"). There, most sea run brown trout are caught at night. In some countries, fishing for sea run brown trout at night is banned or limited to only two hours after sunset. Some fish are caught on worms during the day after a rise in the river, as it is dropping but still discolored - conditions found on the Manasquan River.

Rivers in the U.K. have been maintained (cleared of debris, snags and obstructions) by private landowners for thousands of years. Today, the rivers are similarly maintained by the government. This affords the night angler relatively safe conditions in which to pursue these very wary fish. Free of major obstructions and snags, the only cover the sea run trout have are in deep pools and undercut banks. With this minimal cover they are still very difficult to catch.

In comparison, the Manasquan River is a wilderness. The river has numerous snags and obstructions. In addition there are, of course, pools and undercut banks. The stream banks are brushy, thorn filled and overgrown, and often lack any visible trail. Most angling has to be done by wading the river. Just imagine all of the places that a sea run brown trout can hide and take cover, especially in the more remote areas where these fish can remain undisturbed. Anglers who can safely access such areas, especially at night, increase their chances of catching a sea run brown trout.

Anglers seeking spring or fall stocked trout in close vicinity to regular season stocking points have sometimes been surprised with the catch of a large sea run. Examples: An angler fishing with his sons for fall stocked rainbow trout on 11/01/03 caught a 17", 2 lb. sea run brown (the fish was releasing eggs) on a salmon egg near Allaire State Park Village. Another angler fishing in the spring of '03 for recently stocked trout below Hospital Road caught a 19", 5 lb. sea run brown on a nightcrawler at dawn. Both those trout were released.

There were reports of 112 sea run trout being caught from 1998 through October 2004. Ninety-four (94), or 89%, of these were caught from the Squankum Dam through the Manasquan River Wildlife Management Area. Seventeen (17), or 15%, of these sea runs reportedly weighed from 5 to 13 pounds and would have qualified as the NJ State Record, a distinction waiting to be bestowed. Since 2004, there have been only a few, sporadic reports of catches. Rumors persist that a group of local anglers regularly catch sea run brown trout, but remain tight-lipped.

Any angler looking for a new trout fishing challenge, or the opportunity to catch a trophy size and a first-ever recognized state record fish, should consider a trip to the Manasquan. They may be rewarded with the catch of a lifetime.

Manasquan River Sea Run Brown Trout Fishing Tips

Fish the Manasquan River one to two days after a rain as it is becoming less muddy but not too clear. Evening through the night is the best time.

Mid-October to January 1: Bait is the most productive - pink, white and chartreuse spawn sacs, night crawlers, worms or killies. The sea runs move into freshwater and are actively feeding.
January 1 to February 1: The sea runs are spawning and not actively feeding but will strike at 2" long lures such as Rapalas, C.P. Swings and Rooster Tails. The most productive lure colors are silver, chartreuse and hot pink. Use a slow retrieve.
February through May: Use bait as described above.

The Manasquan River is very difficult to fish - it has brushy, overgrown banks. Anglers should use caution - the mud is very slippery, there are many deep holes and many underwater snags.
Expect to put in a lot of time. If you get a bite, that's a good day, if you hook one that's a great day, if you land one that's an unbelievable day.

Anglers should report their catches to biologist Mark Boriek at the division's Lebanon Fisheries Office at 908-236-2118. You can also contact Mark via e-mail at mark.boriek@earthlink.net. You can reveal as little or as much information about your catch as you wish. We just want to know that you are catching them.

Posted on: 2013/1/18 8:14


Re: Mainstem Delaware
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From Gettysburg
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Sandfly,
You've posted that tiger pic countless times. Tigers aren't sea run browns.
Yes, there are internet rumors - usually the typical stuff: "My brother knows a dude who caught one in the Delaware Bay on cut bait".....or "the fish commission caught a bunch in a trawl net but there's a cover up" etc, etc.

I'll continue to be skeptical of this sort of thing.

Does the late Mr Schram have any published material?
Are there any scientific studies? I'm sure the PFBC has surveyed the lower river at some point either with towed boat or electrofishing. I'd be curious to know what has turned up. Again, I'm not denying that there could be browns down there. I'd imagine there are some stray fish that migrate waaaay down the river....but I wouldn't call these stray fish "sea runs." The sea run concept suggests an actual population that lives in tidal water or the ocean and moves upstream to spawn.

Posted on: 2013/1/18 8:19


Re: Mainstem Delaware
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Afish,
I'm familiar with the Manasquan River fingerling program. We're talking about the Delaware here.

Posted on: 2013/1/18 8:21


Re: Mainstem Delaware

Joined:
2010/7/24 12:59
From Morrisville
Posts: 214
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Yea the squan does have em myself and friends have caught them targeting other species just not sure about the Delaware, not saying they are not but just haven't seen any evidence of it.

Posted on: 2013/1/18 8:37


Re: Main stem Delaware

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5635
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Quote:
You've posted that tiger pic countless times. Tigers aren't sea run browns.


fish read my post;
never said tigers are sea run browns just stated they are there easier to catch. I have caught sea runs myself, though i don't have pics (before I started to take them) they are there. N.J. and pa. will not recognize them. for what reason they will not say. Mr. schram was a fly shop owner that spent countless hours on the delaware. Once you get below trenton wing dam water is very tidal and deep something sea runs like. to shock the river would be almost impossible as the size and depth of the system. Average hole on lower river is over 20 feet in depth. temp samples of these holes average 55-65 deg. even in summer..For the states to do a viable study on the lower river would cost millions I would think and there for they rely on fishermen alot. All I got to say about this if anyone has ??? pm me..

Hey did you know there are Piranna caught at trenton every year when the shad run..shadders catch them at the wall...(have to see it to know the wall)

Posted on: 2013/1/18 9:53
_________________
sandfly

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..
https://www.facebook.com/BigMeadowsFlyShop





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