The Sunday weather was mild, hooded sweatshirt weather in the early morning hours for sure. A fog covered the late and we parked ourselves under a light to help us see what we were doing while setting up our gear…well, Zach’s gear…the dude has everything. Our plan was to troll for Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout on Zach’s boat using 8 planer boards and 2 downriggers. So with this in mind, we hit the water at 6:30am for a day of fishing Round Valley Reservoir. Surface water temperature was 70.5 in the morning.
We started trolling with the planer boards higher in the water column, most of our marks on the fishfinder indicated fish hanging out in 20-30feet of water. If you’ve ever fished Round Valley in the early morning fog, it’s not uncommon to see fish feeding at the surface so don’t hesitate to put out a couple lines right on the surface. We also put a couple spoons down deep for the lake trout which we were marking at or near the bottom. Trolling speed was 1.5mph.
Lures consisted of various Warrior spoons 2 to 4 inch in size, single and treble hook, as well as jointed J-7 Rapalas. We used darker colors in the early hours and brighter colors after about 10am when the sun was up and the fog was gone. Be sure to attach your spoons to snap swivels or you will get terrible line twist.
From 6:30am to about 9:30am the action was steady. We picked up about 15 rainbow, two lakers and one yellow perch. Once the sun burned off all the fog the bite turned off and for the next 3 hours we picked up only 3 more rainbows, though one of them was the fatty Zach is holding in the image above. All fish were released successfully. Note too that we are in Lake Trout spawning season so any Lake Trout caught 16 September to 30 November must be returned to the water. Read this article to learn more about fishing for trout with a downrigger at Round Valley. Check out this older post with video if you want to learn more about trolling with planer boards and lead core line.
My buddy Rob S. and I had a long day of fishing in the first Round Valley Trout Association fishing tournament of the year this Sunday 17 April 2016 at Round Valley, but it was definitely worth it! This particular contest was scheduled from 6am to 3pm, however we were off the water by 1:30, eager to weigh in a Laker. Visit the RVTA website to learn more and get involved.
Our basic trolling spread for Round Valley consists of; two 10 color lead core rods (18lb Suffix) out of the back of the boat and two rods on downriggers for Lake Trout, as well as three planer boards out of each side of the boat with lead core for Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Here’s a sample of some go-to lures that are almost always productive Fishing on Round Valley, they’ve become a staple in my tackle box anytime I go out. In addition to these, meatheads are also a very effective lure when targeting Lake Trout.
We had a tough start to the day trolling planer boards; at our first drop we connected with a big RVTA tagged Rainbow and fought it all the way in but lost it at the back of the boat. Our struggle for Rainbows continued for a while after and eventually we made the call to go out deeper for Lake Trout with downriggers and lead core.
Once we went deep and got our Laker lines in it was game on for about an hour with hook ups left and right once we got dialed in on their location and depth. Before it was over we managed to get the fish pictured above, what would become the 1st place Laker for the tournament, weighing 6.90-lbs and measuring 29.25-inches. Slow pick of Lakers for the rest of the day after our morning bite, but overall a very rewarding day on the water.
Shout out to the local shop, Behre Bait & Tackle at 1239 Route 22 East, Lebanon NJ.
On August 30th, myself, Zach, and my buddy Chris headed out to Round Valley to do some night fishing for rainbow trout. At our first drop, we caught a dinner-plate sized sunfish in 65 feet of water so we moved deeper in search of rainbows…chasing rainbows? Heh #dadjokes.
At our second drop, we doubled anchored in 85feet, surface water temp. measured 74.5F. After a few hours of soaking cut shrimp without success, I finally get a no-doubter of a hit on my line, set the hook, and start fighting a nice size fish on my light spinning outfit which has 6lb test mono all the way to the size 8 baitholder hook.
The fish wasn’t fighting like a rainbow trout, it was sounding like a damn tuna, what the heck is this thing? I call for Zack to get his fancy rubberized net ready just in case I’ve got a new state record sunfish on my line… Slowly I start gaining line on the fish and as it comes up we see that it’s a lake trout! Zach snapped a quick pic and back into the drink went the fish. I got another solid hit about 15 minutes later but it snapped my line. My fault. I should have checked it for damage after the first fish, what a stupid mistake on my part. You’d think after fishing for twenty something years I’d have some of this stuff memorized but nope, live and learn.
We bobbed around for a few more hours without a hit or a fish and I think we finally packed it in around 3:30am. It was a beautiful night even though the fish were few and far between. A more ambitious group of anglers would have pulled up anchors and kept trying locations, but that’s hard work with double anchors and honestly the part I love most about night fishing is how peaceful and relaxing it is. If you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest going out with a friend or two, you’ll have a blast I guarantee it.
Well, after a brief hiatus from fishing for a few weeks I got out this past Sunday (August 17, 2014) and fished in Behre Bait & Tackle’s 1st Annual Howie Behre Memorial Round Valley Lake Trout Tournament. Since this tournament was a team tournament, I brought Chelsey Hoover on board with me for the day for her first time trolling out on Round Valley, as well as her first fishing tournament. This tournament was run with the winner being determined by the total weight of one 7-fish bag limit (six fish 15-23.99-inches, and one fish greater than or equal to 24-inches) per boat, which is different than the Round Valley Trout Association fishing tournaments I usually fish at Round Valley where the biggest fish wins. This difference in rules made it anyones game in who had a shot at the money in the tournament, but added the challenge of consistently catching fish throughout the tournament. Personally, I like the tournament being based off of the total weight of all seven fish rather than just one fish seeing as anyone can get lucky and catch one big fish, while catching a limit of several decent fish requires more skill in my opinion.
Anyway, Chelsey and I were up at 2:00 a.m. the morning of and at Behre Bait & Tackle by 3:00 a.m. to grab some Herring for the day and get the boat ready. We managed to get the boat in the water a little before the start of the tournament, and once 4:30 a.m. hit we were off! Since it was still dark when the tournament started we motored over to where I wanted to start trolling for the day, turned the motor off, got some Herring on the bottom to kill some time before it got light out, and got all our lures on our trolling rods so we were ready to troll once it got light out. Then a little after 6:00 a.m. we began to troll and started off in fairly shallow water (60-75 feet) at this point since Lakers go shallower to feed at night and in early morning. Since we were fishing in a Lake Trout tournament, I decided to run two rods off the back and two off of planer boards for Lakers; all with 10 colors of lead core out. I also had two additional planer boards out with 5 colors of lead core out for Rainbows and Browns. Within 10 minutes since we started trolling, we got our first fish on the line which ended up being a 3-lb Lake Trout that hit a meathead in 65 feet of water. After we got that fish in the net, it was non stop action for the next 15-20 minutes, by the end of which we landed four Lake Trout. Out of those four; we caught one on a meathead, two on Warrior Spoons, and one that came up and hit a Rapala we had out for Rainbows behind five colors of lead core. During this, Chelsey reeled in her very first Lake Trout, which also happened to be our biggest fish of the day; 3.75-lbs!
After that first pass, the wind started to kick up enough where trolling back up against it was starting to become a bit of a challenge. So we decided to anchor up in 95-feet of water and drop some Herring down to the bottom to wait and see if the wind would die down. After about an hour of that with nothing producing for us, we decided to shoot up to the south tower and anchor off of there. Though that was also short lived and after about another 45 minutes of that with nothing, the wind died down a bit so we started trolling down the south shore in 75-100 feet of water. Since the wind was still just strong enough to make trolling back up against it frustrating, I decided to just troll down with the wind and then motor back up against it so we could troll back down with it again. This turned out to be a good decision since at some points we were able to put the motor into neutral and have the wind push us along at trolling speed (1.2-1.5 mph). At the end of our second to last pass down the south shore, Chelsey was reeling in our last line before we motored back up against the wind and actually had a Lake Trout smack the spoon half way up, and we landed our 5th fish of the day. After that, we were running out of time before we had to be back at the bait shop since we had to cut our day a little short so we could make it to a concert out in the Meadowlands. So we decided to make one last pass down the south shore, and picked up one last Laker on a Warrior Spoon to give us an even bag limit of six fish.
After we got the boat on the trailer and out of the water, we headed back to Behre Bait & Tackle to weigh in and to eat some food at the BBQ and pig roast that was also being held at the shop for the tournament. We ended up in 9th place with a total weight of a little over 16-lbs, so we didn’t place in the tournament, but we still had a great day of fishing regardless! Thanks to Behre Bait & Tackle for putting on a great tournament, and a special thanks to the owner James Behre for letting us take his boat out to fish the tournament! The tournament went great, and I’m looking forward to fishing it again next year.