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Discussion Starter #1
Since the Newark Reservoirs are closing this week (Echo Lake stays open until November), I figured if I wanted to hit Canistear one more time this season I had better go Saturday. I got out around 11am and it was sunny and windy with water temps anywhere from 58-62 degrees. The first bass came on a spinnerbait but then that bite died out quickly. I started flipping and it was one nice LM after another. The best was a 4 + and the smallest bass was the spinnerbait smallmouth that was close to 2. I probably caught 10 LM bass from 11-4:40pm. It figures the lake is really turning on and they are closing on 10/15. I had a buddy tourney on Highland Lakes in Vernon on Sunday and my partner and I had a great day. 17lb + bag and a 6 pound lunker that was caught on....you guessed it...a jig & pig. I love it when the big girls come out to play on a jig day!!! Later...Mark
 

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Jigs

Ok, I'm convinced, lol. Sounds like you had a very good outing.

Normally I reserve the Jig/Pig for Milfoil on hot summer days.... but

Perhaps it's time to plunk that sucker down again ?

What type struture/cover/depth were you finding fish ?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wood, wood, wood, and more wood

That was the ticket Saturday....see the wood...present the jig..set the hook...and enjoy. Big girls make big swirls!!!
 

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Thanks Mark.

I usually hit the wood with T-rigged Senkos, but I might as well keep my Jig rod rigged, sounds like fun.

I've heard of Highland Lakes, is that private ?
 

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Glad you had a nice day Mark,

I fished Clinton on Tuesday before they closed and I didn't have a spetacular bite like you did. Canistear is a bit different than Clinton and I decided to go deep for smallmouth with livebait and dragged tubes. Ended up with 6 fish, all smallies, nothing over 12".

I guess I should of throw the jiggy and piggy I guess.

Nice work
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Clinton is much different

Clinton does not have nearly the amount of shoreline cover that Canistear has. There are big bass in Clinton and an excellent smallie population but they are often difficult to get on late in the year. Since the hurricane last month Clinton has been dead. Canistear also has some good weedbeds and shallow water coves to fish...Clinton has almost no weeds anywhere and the one big cove is only productive in the spring. As a rating system goes I would rate the lakes like this:

1. Canistear - Good structure, fish can be caught shallow and deep, nice mid lake hump with defined weedlines, lots of wood and rocks to fish, ramp and parking are poor.

2. Oak Ridge - Used to be an excellent smallmouth fishery but too many have been taken out over the years. Still has good fishing though...especially LM bass. Lots of shoreline wood and buckbrush...some humps and holes...old roadbed still produces fish...back creek is fun sometimes too. Good ramp...limited parking.

3. Clinton - Big and healthy LM and SM when the conditions are right. Offshore structure is the key in the summer due to limited shoreline cover. If you see some wood...fish it!!! Good spinnerbait lake when th wind is right. Hit or miss type lake, but which lake in NJ isn't? Good ramp...decent parking.

4. Echo Lake - Sometimes this lake is much better than Clinton and easier than Oak Ridge. No coves...just a big, long circle, with limited wood structure. Lots of chunk rock, some weeds by the ramp and in the back. Big musky's roam these waters and many people say that has hurt the bass population. I can't completely disagree...look whats happened to Greenwood Lake. The back marshy part can be fun with a topwater...good jig lake but be prepared to lose a few...to rocks...and muskys....best ramp and best parking of the 4...open until November while the rest have shut down for the year.

Enjoy...Mark
 

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Mark,
I'm a relatively new poster here. I pass by those lakes on my way home from work. Last year they were down to a trickle from the droughts. How could they have recoverecd so well, so quickly?
BB
 

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Newark Watershed

Mark,
I fished these lakes before they were officially opened to the public. You had to reserve a date and show up to sign out a key to old wood semi V bottoms that must have weighed a ton. There were no more than five boats per lake. I rowed plus used an old Shakespear trolling motor. The fishing was awesome. Back then, my brother and I fished more for chain pickerel than bass. Clinton had no weeds, but the pickerel were huge. We caught them in the five and six pound range. I guess that a back swamp served as a nursery for small pickerel. We saw many chain pickerel that would have gone eight or nine pounds. Canistear had a great largemouth population. Caught them at will on rapalas and creme worms (now I'm really dating my age). Oak Ridge was indeed a smallmouth factory. I now fish exclusivelly for bass and like most anglers, I curse when I catch a pickerel or pike during a tournament. Sometimes though, I miss hunting for huge pickerel on Clinton.
Nick A
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello Benj and Nick

The reservoirs were very low in the summer of 2002 and a few were closed due to the conditions. Canistear got almost 2 years off from heavy fishing pressure when it was closed for dam and spillway repairs. The reservoirs have come back well, and they do every year since they are really only open for 6 months out of the year. I don't think they get hammered too bad....some do for a while then it seems to calm down. Since I am a teacher and have summers off I can drive to Canistear (4 miles from my house) during the week...and often have the lake to myself..or only see a few other boats. Oak Ridge used to be an awesome smallmouth fishery but the bigger ones may be in Clinton now. Oak Ridge has had too many quality smallies taken out of it over the past few years. There are big pickeral in all of the reservoirs who will give you a run for your money. Echo Lake has a huge musky population...I saw one there last year that looked like a shark in the water next to the boat. The walleye have really turned on in Canistear...and the LM bass population is good in all of the lakes. Clinton is the toughest of the 4 in my opinion because of the lack of shoreline cover. But for $40 a season you can't beat it for the quality of fish and the scenery. Too bad they don't allow ice fishing on there....the perch in these lakes are huge!!!! Enjoy....Mark
 

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hey Nicky, I quote you:

"like most anglers, I curse when I catch a pickerel or pike during a tournament"

too bad, I enjoy every one I get regardless of species....ahh, the joy of REC fishing! LOL.....

and MarKS.....what do you teach my man?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MarkF is the teacher

...and that would be me....I'm a special education teacher, wrestling and track coach in high school.
 

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Watershed

The only complaint I have about the watersheds are the lack of those nice deep grassbeds I use to fish off. These were goldmines during the summertime at Clinton. I'm sure you snagged some before Mark, it's not really your standard average weed, it was more like long the grass you see on your lawn but they were 15 feet down and you cant' spot it unless you're dragging a football jig or something heavier.

You're a teacher huh? That's great. You can teach me how to fish Canistear by taking me there.


:D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sure Bill

Someday next season I would be more than happy to take you out of Canistear. It's a great reservoir for flipping/pitching and throwing a blade.
 
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