Anglers Asked To Report Shad In Musconetcong River
Surveys Show Strong Rebound of American Shad In the Delaware River (DEP News Release, 10/30/17)
Andrew and Steve Meserve mix fish roe and chicken eggs to create a unique dish (Travel Channel)
Every year American shad migrate up the Delaware River to spawn. The numbers and timing of the "shad run" vary year to year depending on water temperature and conditions. Having accurate, up-to-date information on the run can greatly impact on angling success and enjoyment. Fortunately, there are resources anglers can use to get this information.
"The Big D" - 2006 Freshwater Fishing Digest article about the river and its fisheries. (pdf, 165kb)
Why You Should Care About What Fish (Shad!) Swim With You In N.J. Rivers - nj.com, 3/24/15
4/11 & 12 Reports
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/29/18
So we finished up the season on another beautiful evening. The river is still running a bit high at 2.76'. The water temp was 70F. We added the second 100-yard piece of net on and gave it one last try. All we got was 1 smallmouth bass. Water was still a bit muddy. We managed to finish the season never pulling in on the side. In fact, the lowest the river got was 1.99'. Quite a difference from most years where we regularly go below 1'. So that puts 2018 in the books. I will send out a final report in a week or so.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/25/18
A great night to be on the river! The water temp was 66F and the height was 4.14'. We got out the 100-yard net we put up last Friday (has it really been a week since we last fished?). We were a little light on crew but had plenty for what we were going to do. Everything went well but no fish. With all the rain in the forecast for the weekend I'm not sure we will get back on the water. We won't go out tomorrow or Monday for sure. We'll take a look at what Tuesday has to offer. Even if we end up not going out again it was a great year. I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/24/18
Another beautiful day and again the river was too high to fish. The river was at 5.01' at 6 PM. Not too different from yesterday. So again I say, maybe tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/23/18
What a beautiful day. Wish I was down on the river. With all the rain so far this week the river is on the rise again. As of 9:45 PM it is at 5.17'. The forecast crest is for 5.5' at 2 AM Thursday and staying there until 2 PM Thursday. I'm not sure it will make that. Riegelsville looks to be just about at its crest and it about a half foot below the forecast crest of 11.5'. With any luck we might be good for a Friday haul. We'll just have to wait and see.
The good news is we have caught 864 shad for the year so far. We did that in 37 hauls. That gives us a rate of little over 23 shad per haul for the year. I'll have more details when we are finished for the season.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/22/18
As forecast it was a rainy evening. The river is slowly making its way down but is still at 4.52' as of 9:45 PM. and it looks like it stops going down at 4.5' later tonight and then starts making its way back up to 5.4' by 2 PM Thurssday. All I can hear is Dogbert saying to someone "Today's not your day and tomorrow is not looking good either". Maybe Friday it will be down enough to try another haul. As always, I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/12/18
Just a quick update. No fishing tonight, Monday 5/21. River started the day at 5.38'. At the time we would have been fishing it was still over 5 feet at 5.15'. Still too high to take the boat out. The river forecast for tomorrow is better, about 4.3' at 8pm, but about a quarter inch of rain and chance of thunder storms in the afternoon looks to be keeping us off the river again. All that rain gives us a forecast of another rise in the river for Wednesday. Now we are looking too far out to make any real good decisions. We'll just have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. As always, I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/18/18
The weather and river decided to let us get out tonight. The skies were gray and there was a little breeze but nothing too bad. We went down to 100 yards of net. The water temp was 60F and the height was 4.19'. All we got for our efforts was a single carp. Right now the forecast is for a rainy weekend and the river to get up to 5.8' by 8am Monday and maybe going up more. We will not be going out Saturday for sure. Best case is that we might get back out late next week for another haul to see if the shad got pushed back to us or not. We'll see what nature gives us. Stay tuned.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/12/18
Sorry I haven't been around for the last couple days. Bad weather and now a high river have kept us off the river. Tuesday there was a horrible wind and then storm that kicked up about 5 PM. I was just leaving the island and you could hear the trees creaking from being whipped around by the wind. Lots of old trees on the island and I didn't wait around to see if any would fall (I think all is good).
Last night it was just rain and another night "off". This morning I woke up to a river coming up fast and headed down to move the boat and with some help from crew member Peter get the nets a little higher. Good thing since the river went from 3.07' at midnight to 4.88' at 11:30 AM. It's settling down a bit now, going to 4.75' at the last reading at 2:45 PM. That is still too high to fish so we will keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow night. I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/14/18
Quite the nice night on the river tonight. The river was up to 2.53'. The temp was 62F. We still have the 200 yards of net on. We kept 5 roe but also returned 37. Another night over 40 shad. We also had 3 catfish, 1 gizzard shad and 1 quillback. Not bad for this late in the season. We won't be going out tomorrow night. The weather looks miserable. We will be back at it Wednesday if the weather is better.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/12/18
It was a gray cool day Saturday. The river was at 2.12' and 65F. Looks like the 200 yards of net will be in use for a while yet. We ended up with 1 buck and 9 roe. We returned 3 and also had 3 carp and 1 quillback. We'll be back at it on Monday night. Have a Happy Mother's Day.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/11/18
It's late so this will be short. The river was at 2.0' and coming up. The temp was 66F. I thought about adding another 50 yards of net but the forecast is for the river to continue coming up over the weekend so we left it alone. we caught 11 bucks and 12 roe. We returned 2 shad along with 1 smallmouth bass and 3 gizzard shad. There was also a turtle in the nets again. We'll be out there again tomorrow morning at 10:30 am.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/10/18
It was yet another great night to be on the river. A little wind out of the east-southeast. First, let me fill in the details from last (Wednesday) night. We ended up with 6 buck and 8 roe. We returned 55 shad. We also had 6 catfish, 3 gizzard shad, 2 quillback 1 smallmouth bass and a turtle.
For tonight the water temp was 64.5F. The river was down to 1.99' but it looks like it could be coming up for the weekend. There is still 200 yards on. we kept only 4 roe. We returned 81 shad. We also had 3 catfish, 1 bass, 5 gizzard shad and a herring. We'll be out again tomorrow night, weather willing. We will most likely fish all of next week. Catching fish like this we could go to the end of the month. We'll just have to wait and see.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/9/18
Another great night to be on the river. I don't have all the details again (sorry about that, I'll have them tomorrow) but it was another good night. The water temp was 67F and the river was at 2.25'. We kept about 5 bucks and 12 roe. We returned over 40. There was a monster smallmouth bass, a couple catfish and a gizzard shad. We'll be back at it tomorrow night if the rain holds off.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/8/18
Another beautiful night on the river. Sunny and not too hot. A slight breeze out of the south. The water temp was 66F. The river was at 2.35', up a bit from Monday. We are still fishing the 200 yards of net. Everything went according to plan. I don't get to say that too often.
We had 3 bucks, 10 roe and we returned 31. We also had 1 smallmouth bass and one gizzard shad. For the record we had 2 bucks, 14 roe and returned 78 on Monday. We also had 2 smallmouth bass, 5 gizzard shad, a carp and 2 quillback. Also of note, we are running about 4 degrees cooler water temp through this date (5/8) this year compared to last year.
So far this year we have caught 629 total (roe+buck+returned) American shad. This compares to 1122 for 2017 up until 5/8. We've made 31 hauls this year compared to 30 this time last year. And for the last bit of comparison, this time last year we had 3 hauls of 0 shad. this year we had 12 so far. OK, and one more thing. We started fishing on 4/12 last year and didn't skip a day as of 5/8. This year we started on 4/3 and missed 9 days. Just food for thought.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/7/18
Another beautiful night on the river. Not too hot, not too cold, no wind to speak of and plenty of crew to make a haul. The river was at 2.28'. The temp was 64F. We still have the 200 yards on. We kept 14 roe and 2 bucks. We returned about 70 (details tomorrow). We also had a smallmouth bass, 2 quillback and a carp. All in all a very good night. We'll be at it again tomorrow.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/5/18 - Update
Just going to fill in the blanks from yesterday. The water temp was 63F, the river was at 2.51'. We still had the 200 yards of net on. It was a very good looking haul. We fished it the same as the second haul on Friday. We got 11 roe and 1 buck. We returned 15. We also had 6 gizzard shad and 1 quillback. Not bad to a Saturday morning. We'll be out again on Monday. It will be interesting to see if the rain today cools things off and slows them down again.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/5/18
This is going to be a quick update, mostly because I don't have my sheet fro the day. I'll send the details out with the update on Monday. The water temp was ??F, the river was at 2.51'. We still had the 200 yards of net on. It was a very good looking haul. We fished it the same as the second haul on Friday. I'm not sure what we returned but I know we had about 11 roe and maybe 2 bucks. Not bad for a Saturday morning. I'm pretty sure that we returned more then we kept. We'll be out again on Monday.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/4/18
After all the excitement last night tonight was a little more subdued. The river was about the same as last night at 2.79' ( 2.78' last night). The temp was 63F and we still had the 200 yards of net on. We fished the haul about the same as last night, without the thrill of the wind change and all the issues that caused. All we got were 3 roe and returned 2. We also had 8 gizzard shad. We still had pleanty of people who wanted fish so we went out again. This time we started a little further up the river. Otherwise it was the same haul. We got 39 roe, 14 bucks and returned 64. We also got 44 gizzard shad. It pays to try different things. We'll be out agian tomorrow morning about 10:30am.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/3/18
What an exciting night it turned out to be tonight. When I got to the island it was hot and sunny with a nice breeze out of the southwest. As we were getting the net on the sky was getting darker and the wind picked up a bit. It was still out of the southeast and would help get the boat in. That was good since we were a little short handed for the night.
As we finished loading the boat the sky was looking a little better and we headed up river. We started out and was making the haul as we did the night before going out to the fourth upright last third pier. That's when the wind changed and was coming out of the north-north-east. All of a sudden we were fighting the river and the wind to get back into shore. And as if that wasn't enough one of the guys rowing thought he heard one of his oars cracking. In an effort to not leave ourselves in too much trouble I headed us to home very early. however the wind was not helping at all and wee were drifting downriver fast. While one man continued to row the second tied the rope we use to pull the boat upstream on to the rope on the sea end of the net. That would get us another 50 feet going in.
We were below the cabin when I pulled the pin and the rope started paying out. It didn't take long to get to the additional rope that was added on. Then that rope got tangled up in some gear in the boat and had to be freed from that. Rowing as hard as they could the oarsmen got us to shore just as we ran out of all our rope. I cut the line from where it was attached to the boat and the rest of the crew went about puling about 75 feet of rope before they got to the net. During all of this the landsmen was doing his best to slow the net down by holding it back from his end. Once everything was under control and all the net, 200 yards, was in the eddy it was just a matter of getting it all in.
With all that happened I was not expecting much in the net. There was quite the opening for them to use to go downstream and the bag of the net was about two thirds of the way to the first pier by the time we were back in control of it. As it all cam in the bag was getting narrow which is not a good sign for a big catch. But as I like to say, it looks the same with no fish or 100 fish until the last 20 yards. And that was true tonight.
When we got the haul in we ended up returning 114 shad and keeping 60 roes and 4 bucks. We also had a quillback and 14 gizzard shad. Water temp reached 64F and the river was at 2.78'. And as I said, we still had to 200 yards on. Looks like the river is going to continue to come down slowly and it was even coming up as we fished tonight. Tomorrow could be another big night. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Lewis Fishery Report, 5/2/18
What a different day today was. After needing a fire in the wood stove Sunday today it was hard not to put on shorts. Even with the heat the river only went up to 59F. The river made it down only to 2.88' but we decided to go to 195 yards anyway. The first haul only got us 1 roe shad and a quillback. We went out again and changed the haul up a little bit. It made things a bit better. We got 4 bucks, 9 roe and returned 2. We also had 17 gizzard shad. We'll be at it again tomorrow night as long as the rain and thunderstorms hold off.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/30/18
What a beautiful night on the river. A little cooler by the end of it but the best place to be on a Monday evening. The water temp is still stuck in the mid 50s - 56F and the river was just above 3' at 3.03'. We stayed with the 140 yards of net but fished more of the river. The result of all of that was 0 fish, nothing, nada, zip.
We decided to give it a second try, couldn't get worse. Well, it didn't get better either. Another water haul. The guys in the boats are still getting good numbers so they must be waiting for lower water to get to our side of the river. That's what I hope it is. I have a talk at the Hunterdon County Library tonight (May 1) so we are taking the night off of fishing. If you are looking for something to do and want to hear some of the history of shad fishing in Hunterdon the talk starts at 7pm. More info is at www.hunterdon300th.org/2018/2018Events.html.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/29/18
And now for the special Shad Fest Sunday edition of the Fishery Report (Sorry it's coming out on Monday). After a great day weather-wise Saturday it turned windy and colder Sunday. I even got the old stove going for the first time this season. The water temp was 56F and the river was at 3.26'. We still kept the 140 yards on. All we got for the effort was water. Still a good weekend overall. We'll be out there again tonight (as I told more than a few people, we don't just fish at Shad Fest).
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/28/18
Lots went on today. We went out in the morning thinking we might get a few since we had the overcast sky's. No such luck. The river was at 3.37' and the temp was 54F. We got nothing. For the haul at 1pm the river was at 3.28' and the temp was 56F. We got 1 roe and returned one. We also had 5 gizzard shad, 1 quillback and a trout, a rainbow. We decided to try another one right away as the river moved down to 3.2' and the temp stayed at 56F. All we got was the same rainbow trout again. We'll be out in the water for a demo haul tomorrow at 1pm.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/27/18
Since it is a Shad Fest weekend I will keep this report short. The river was up to 3.56'. I don't have the temp with me, I'll send it in the report for 4/28. We swapped out 100 yards of net for 40 so we were fishing with 140 yards of net. It was a very quick haul. All we got were 21 gizzard shad. Decided not to try another one and save our energy for the weekend.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/26/18
A very nice night to be on the river. And there were a bunch of boats under the Lambertville-New Hope free bridge so I was looking forward to a nice haul of fish. The river was up to 3.33' and the water temp was up to 58F. We still had the 200 yards on. We got 2 bucks and 2 roe and returned 1. We also had 2 gizzard shad and a turtle. There was a big stick in the bag of the net that could have let a bunch of shad out so wqe decided to make another haul. Still had the 200 yards on and the river only moved to 3.34'. We got 1 buck, 1 roe, 2 gizzard shad and 2 carp. I'll be setting up a 50-yard piece of net to use tomorrow night. The river is expected to move to 3.5' by 8pm tomorrow and 150 yards of net is what I really should be using. We'll see what happens.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/25/18
What a weather day today was. Woke up to a forecast of heavy rain for the morning into the afternoon and a river getting up to 5.2' by sometime Friday. Wasn't sure we could even get a haul in tonight. And we might have troubles fishing for Shad Fest weekend.By noon time the rain had mostly stopped and by 2pm the river forecast had the river only getting up to 4.2' sometime late Friday or early Saturday. Now the river is only forecast to get to 3.5'. You have to love Mother Nature. So we were able to make a haul. The water temp was 55F and was running at 3.05'. We kept the 200 yards on but that might change tomorrow night if the river is a little higher. We netted 4 roes and a buck and returned 20. There were also 14 gizzard shad and a quillback. It's looking pretty rainy tomorrow but they were so right today we'll just wait and see.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/24/18
After a real nice day it started to get gray in time for fishing. The water temp for the first haul was 55F and the river was at 2.76'. We still had the 200 yards of net on. We fished it just like the second haul Monday night. All we got was 1 buck and 1 gizzard shad. I decided to give it another go and fished a little more river. It came in harder but we got 5 bucks, 16 roe and returned 9. A much better haul. Water temp had dropped to 53F and the river got to 2.8'. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. We could see over an inch by the time it's done.The river is forecast to get to 3.5' by 8pm tomorrow. We'll just have to see what happens. Stay tuned.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/23/18
Great night to be on the river. Sunny and warmer. River was warmer too at 54F. The river was down to 2.87'. We went back to 200 yards. The first haul netted 1 shad and 1 gizzard shad. I decided to try a second haul and do it a little differently. It paid off getting us 8 bucks, 5 roe 1 sucker and 12 gizzard shad. We had the extra bonus of seeing a wonderful sunset. Now I just hope the heavy rain holds off this evening until we can get one in.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/20/18
We finally got back on the water last night. The river was back down to 3.89'. Temp was also down to 43F. And the net length was back down to 100 yards. And to finish it off the catch was back down to zero fish. At least it was another pretty night on the river. We won't be going out Saturday (job interview for Steve. Keeping fingers crossed). We will be at it again on Monday night.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/19/18
Another day not fishing. And just now I looked outside (11PM) to find it's snowing. What a spring it has been. The river was at 4.46' at 6 PM which was just above what we can fish at. The wind was kicking up pretty good too. It started to rain just as I was leaving the island so it was a good night to stay in. As of 11 PM the river is at 4.35' so we should be good to go out tomorrow (Friday) night. Updates as they happen.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/18/18
The river made its way up to 5' by 11am today and again at 1pm. At least it didn't make it to 5.2' as was forecast. At 6pm it was still at 4.91' so we were not able to make it out. The forecast right now is showing the river at 4.4' by 8pm tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it drops a little faster so we can get a haul in before the next upturn. I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/17/18
Well, the river dropped then it came up again. It got as low as 4.29' yesterday evening but by 6 pm tonight it was back up to 4.56'. As of 9:45 pm it was up to 4.67' on its way to a forecast crest of 5.2' at 2 pm tomorrow. With any luck we will be able to make a haul on Thursday. I'll keep you posted. If you're looking for something interesting to read check this out: www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/20180416/shads-return-to-delaware-river-ensures-spring-has-arrived. The reporter was at the island on Saturday and even helped out.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/16/18
This will be a quick update. Rained like cats and dogs over night and this morning here. When I checked the website at 10am it looked like a nice steady rise through the day and maybe we could get a haul in if there wasn't too much debris in the river. Then I got the text from a friend and the river was closing in on the nets that we had put on horses on Saturday that should have kept them out of the water until Monday night at least. Forecast changed and the river was on the move.
Thanks to Pete, Dan and whoever Pete got to help move the nets out of harm's way. River went from 2.03' at 5:30 am to 4.76' at 1:15 pm. Needless to say we stayed off the river tonight. And tomorrow is not looking so good either. I'll keep you posted.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/14/18
What a warm clear day on the river. The River was at 2.19' and the temp was 56F. I'm afraid the height is going to go up and temp down with the rain Sunday and Monday. We still had 200 yards of net on. Saturday's are never that good for us and today was no different. We got 3 bucks and a roe. Depending on the weather we'll be out Monday and depanding on the river we'll try to get out Tuesday (see https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=phi&gage=nhpp1 for river forecasts at New Hope-Lambertville. We don't go out if the river is over 4.4' (for saftey reasons).
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/13/18
Another great night on the river. Warmer still and a wind still out of the south-south-west. The water temp was 52F and the river was at 2.34'. We still had the 200 yards on. We got 8 bucks, 13 roe and returned 6. We also had 4 quillback. We will be going out Saturday at 10:30am. Keeping fingers crossed for Monday. Weather is not looking good.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/12/18 - UPDATE
I meant to add this to the report sent out today but got distracted. I recorded a radio interview that will be aired Saturday at 6am on 1450am in South Jersey and will stream live on http://wpgtalkradio.com. It will play at 7am on 97.3FM in South Jersey and will stream live on www.973espn.com. IT will be an 8 to 10 minute spot sometime during the show Rack and Fin Radio. There is already a blog update at http://1057thehawk.com/nj-outdoors-april-2018/. Look for "Glad For Shad". I will be hearing for the first time Saturday too.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/11-12/18
It's a two-fer today; first Wednesday 4/11. We added another 100 yards of net. Really only needed 50 yards but didn't have a good piece ready to go so it was time it call in the new net (first hauls were with an older net to make sure the river didn't hide any new logs etc for us to pick up over the winter). Water temp was up to 46 and the river was at 2.78'. All we got was a quillback.
Last night (4/12) the river was at 49.5F and 2.52'. It was windy and I wasn't sure I would have enough crew to handle the wind. Finally enough showed and we made a little different haul, going up the island further and out a little more. We were rewarded with a total of 38 shad, 13 bucks, 18 roe and 7 returned. All were a good size. There was nothing else in the net. With the warming continuing tonight could be a big night. Keeping fingers crossed.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/10/18
It was a brighter night on the river tonight. Still cold and still windy. Water temp is stuck at 42F. The river is down to 2.92'. We will had 100 yards on. We still got nothing. Tomorrow night we will be putting out the new 100-yard piece that we made in November. We'll see if that brings us any luck.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/9/18
It was another cold gray night on the river tonight. But, I had a full crew so out we went to see what was in the river. The river temp was 42F and we still had the 100 yards on. The river was at 3.02'. An uneventful (and quick) haul it was. And all we got was a catfish. We'll be out again tomorrow night as long as the rain finishes up before we go out.
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/5/18
It turned out to be a beautiful night on the river. No rain, nice sunshine. It was windy and cold. We still had 100 yards on the boat. The water temp went down to 42F and the river was up to 4.15'. It was a quick haul but no fish at all. The weather looks bad for the next couple of days so we will be staying warn at home. We'll try again on Monday night (although that is not looking real good at the moment either). I'll keep you posted
Lewis Fishery Report, 4/3/18
We finally got out on the river tonight. While it was a gray and drizzly night everyone was ready to give it a try. We fished 100 yards of net. The river temp was 44F. The river height was 3.4'. All we got was a river chub. Still it was good to be fishing again. The next couple of nights are looking iffy for us to go out. We'll see what we can do.
Lewis Fishery Report, 3/26/18
Finally getting this out. On the good news side of things we were able to make a new 100-yard net just before the holidays. I can't wait to get it in the water. On the bad(ish) news side we lost 3 trees in the first nor'easter. They took out the power to one of the buildings on the island but we are back up and running again. With winter hanging on we will be starting the season later this week or early next week. Believe it or not I am getting reports of shad in the river. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have another good year.
If you know anyone who would also like these updates just send the e-mail address and contact info to me.
1 Lewis Island
Lambertville, NJ 08530
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