Winter Micro-Fishing w/ Live Bait: Shiners, Waxworms, Nightcrawlers (Somerset, NJ)

What's up, fellow comrades?

Here is my fishing report for January 12th, 2017. The statistical fishing chart was updated as well.

Location: D&R Canal / Tenmile Run / Sixmile Run
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. / 12:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 23 Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)
-- 19 Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
-- 1 Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
-- 5 Fallfish (Semotilus corporalis)
-- 2 Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
-- 5 Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
-- 1 Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)
-- 2 Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)


Below are the highlights for this fishing session:

My 3rd outing of 2017! Don't forget to watch it in HD quality (1080p60)! If you enjoy watching my videos, please support my YouTube Channel by subscribing to it. More likes and more subscribes = more time to make videos .:)

Summary & Photos:

Since the weather for today was unusually nice for the Winter season, with a minimum of 46F and maximum of 66F, my friend Mike Caruso and I decided to go out and explore! After tinkering with Google Maps for quite a bit, we finally decided to choose the D&R Canal in New Jersey, which stands for the "Delaware & Raritan Canal." Our decision was based on a few factors: (1) considering two days of warm weather (>32F), we weren't entirely sure that all watersheds around us would be thawed; and (2) spillways and locks are amazing fishing spots for the Winter time. ;)

Now...truth be told, I have fished the D&R Canal one time in the past! Back in May 29th, 2014, my father and I went to the West Trenton portion of the canal for a day of Multi-Species fishing. We ended up catching a few Bluegill and Redbreast Sunfish. My father caught one Pumpkinseed, and a very unexpected Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). Thus, when I say that my friend Mike and I decided to "go out and explore," I mean that we went to portions of the canal that both of us had never been to before. 

So, our quest started...

We met around 6:15 a.m.. Then, we went to our local tackle shop. We grabbed four dozens of shiners and a 24-pack of waxworms. We didn't need to buy nightcrawlers or corn because we already had them. Yes, sir -- as you probably deduced already, we were 100%  ready for a full day of Multi-Species fishing. So, after a whole night of research (a.k.a. googling and online articles), we set our GPS to the lock 10 location of the D&R Canal. According to many different "credible sources," a "very productive fishing spot."

Upon arrival (after an one hour drive), those credible sources disappointed us right away. What the NJ Parks and Recreation classified on their website as a public parking lot by the D&R trail turned out to be an abandoned private lot with "no parking signs" everywhere. Damn son...we were certainly frustrated for about five minutes or so! Thankfully, we had a back up plan (6-7 back up plans, actually)... 

Our backup plan was to drive further North for 6 miles and hit the Lock 11. We arrived there around 8:00 a.m.

A front view of the Lock 11, at the D&R Canal. Parking lot to the right.

A back view of the Lock 11, at the D&R Canal. Parking lot to the left.

I am not going to sugar coat it, fellas! The spot looked really neat. 7-8 feet deep above the lock, 5-6 feet deep below. Strong current right below the lock, with eddies at the end of the wall. Talking from a textbook perspective, that spot just had to hold fish!!!

Mike and I wasted no time. We immediately setup two rods each -- one with live shiner and one with jigheads. Our initial plan was to catch some Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) on the live shiners and some smaller Species of fish on the jigging rod -- Crappie, Panfish, Perch, etc. We stayed there for 90 minutes, and I will tell you one thing, reader: with each minute that passed and no bites whatsoever, our hopes and expectations diminished a bit. Hah. Once our watches hit 10:00 a.m., we were entirely burned out. "Screw those Chain Pickerel!" We decided to hit the road once again and try our luck elsewhere.

Our third pick of the day was a weird spot on Google Maps. From a satellite view (above), the location looked like a pond that connected to the canal. The problem was that the spot itself was located in the middle of the D&R trail, two miles away from the closest road/parking lot. In other words, we were talking about 30-35 minutes of walking to get to a spot that could be good or could be bad! Back and forth, that would mean spending 60-70 minutes just for that single place. I briefly mentioned to Mike that a satellite view was very little information to rely on; however, I also mentioned that I wanted to take a bet and check the spot out. We started to evaluate the pros and cons of hitting the place:

-- the place was far away from any parking lots and roads. Therefore, less people would hit it. Less people = less fishing pressure = more chances of catching fish.
-- from above, the spot looked like a little pond connected to the canal. Textbook fishing indicates that a watershed's inlets and outlets are often productive spots for fishing! 

-- the only image that we had of the spot was from Google Maps, which is never a very accurate source for finding watersheds. The database itself is usually not up to date as well. In other words, there could be a possibility for the spot to be extremely shallow or even dry. 
-- from above, the spot looked very small in comparison to the canal. Smaller (and possibly shallower) watersheds tend to thaw slower when temperatures rise. In other words, the place could still be frozen and unfishable.

Thus, we were in a dilemma. Heh. But after much thinking, we decided to take the risk! And 35 minutes and 2 miles later, this is what we found:

A view of the Tenmile Run, which passes below the D&R Canal

For our surprise, the "pond in the map" actually turned out to be an entire different watershed! And even weirder -- one that passed below the canal. Summarizing -- the run didn't have any connections with the canal whatsoever. The curse of having a 1-dimensional image, folks. Haha. On a positive note, the place was almost all thawed out; therefore, it was fishable (YAY). So, once friend and I did not waste any time!

As soon as I cast my first rod in the water, with a drop-shot/nightcrawler setup, I got a hit! Set the hook. Fish was on! The first fish that came up for me was a Largemouth Bass.

Fish #23 and my first Largemouth Bass of the year.

Many nightcrawlers, shiners, and waxworms later, Mike and I ended landing a few more Largemouth Bass, as well as a few Bluegill and Fallfish.

Fish #25 and my first Bluegill of the year.

Fish #26 and my first Fallfish of the year.

After landing more than a dozen fish, we truly started to realize the power of the small Creeks that passed under the D&R canal! I mean...we never really expected so many fish to be stacked there. And guess what?! The Tenmile Run wasn't the only Creek under the canal around those areas. A few miles from us was another similar watershed -- the Sixmile Run. Thus, once the action slowed down, we walked to the Sixmile Run for a little bit more of Creek Multi-Species/Micro fishing. Heh.

A view of the Sixmile Run. Very similar to the Tenmile Run, but wider and deeper.

Once we arrived at the Sixmile Run, we didn't really get any bites there for our first 30 minutes. I had one rod cast about 15 feet straightforward, high-low rig. Another rod with a float and a jighead. Mike had similar setups as well. It was around 1:30 p.m. that I decided to change strategies: I took my float out and jigged along the concrete walls of the Run. That is when I had a little surprise...

Right after dropping my jighead, I got a bite on the bottom! A Bluegill came up almost instantaneously:  

Fish #33. A Bluegill on a 1/64 oz. jighead, tipped with a piece of nightcrawler

I took advantage of the bite and dropped my jig once again in the same spot. Another Bluegill came up! I dropped my jig once again, and this time a Black Crappie came up:

Fish #35. A Black Crappie. Caught on the same setup described above.

The rest of the day was pretty much robotic, folks! After deciphering the pattern of the day, Mike and I caught fish after fish along the concrete walls of the Sixmile Run. Two and a half hours of packed action! Species included the Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas), the Largemouth Bass, the Pumpkinseed, the Green Sunfish, the Fallfish, the Redbreast Sunfish, and even a hungry and feisty Common Carp that found its way to my jighead. :)

Fish #36. A Largemouth Bass.

Fish #40. A Pumpkinseed.

Fish #43. A Green Sunfish.

Fish #52. A Fallfish.

Fish #59. A Common Carp.

Fish #70. A Redbreast Sunfish

After 7:30 hours of fishing and a nice gamble, I ended my third outing of the year with 8 different Species of fish and a total of 58 fishes caught! Mike caught much less; however, he did end his day with a total of 6 different Species of fish, including two Golden Shiners that never showed up on my line today. :)

Overall, a very productive and blessed day!

Best of luck to all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights!

Tight lines!


Leo S. a.k.a. Extreme Philly Fishing.  


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