Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Laurie's Next Report

Matt got on the train for Boston at 11 this morning. There's more I could say.

Have to get up at 5, so maybe I'll disclose more later. But Mike was wrong about ice fishing on the reservoir. None of that's happened yet, judging by the evidence I saw yesterday.

Laurie Murphy:

Reports of several muskies caught over the weekend on tip ups, released back into the lake, 43 to 47 inches. Lots of perch and pickerel also, along with several walleye and even reports of some Smallmouth bass. The ice on average is still about 8 to 10 inches. Shorelines had opened up some with all that  rain, but with the colder weather have froze back up again.  The Knee Deep will be holding their first ice fishing contest this Sunday, Jan 21 st, from 6 AM to 4 PM. We will be open at 5:30 AM on Sunday morning for the contest. Have a great week...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fierce Pickerel, Nice Company

I drove to Advanced Power Equipment in Martinsville to pick up my auger with blades I assume were worked on. I paid some $23.00. We got to Round Valley Pond and found no difference whatsoever in the equipment's performance, compared to the recent trip to Lake Hopatcong.

I'm not pissed. Not only did we have an excellent time out, I leaned on the auger, burned at least $4.00 worth of Husquevarna 95-octane fuel, and cut three holes, not pressured under negative 20 wind chill as last week. We were offered a hand drill from a guy who caught a 12-inch perch and an 18-inch pickerel, and I admit I felt of twinge of guilt, wondering about the longevity of his blades, but Matt got holes cut as I did not refuse. Maybe I'll buy a grinder. Maybe I'll go protest in Martinsville, but whatever, I will be examining the blades with Mike Maxwell, who understands things practical a lot better than I do. As Matt cut the third hole, I called over to him, "the existential concrete lived experience!" This I get. But it's not the same as making things work.

I felt fully confidant about catching fish here, although I was a little concerned that the pond is getting pounded. I talked to Tom Tosco at The Sporting Life, and he told me to expect a couple of guys. I quipped that as long as they're not on my spots, (that would be OK), and to tell you the truth, as I walked into view...that's where I was looking to, my spots, as if whoever was out there was just an object. As he turned out, in truth--a real nice guy, and I have to credit myself in spite of evil intent at first. Once I stepped out, I looked to the guy at a distance (and not on my spots), anticipated our meeting glances....and raised hands of greeting. The bonds of relationship are so important. Things matter not at all without the concrete lived existential experience.

Before action flurried in a straight line near the straight-edged shoreline from about 12 to 20 feet deep, two young women approached Matt and me. Jena goes to Raritan Valley. I regret to say I didn't get the graduate's name, but she went to school in Pennsylvania. We hung out and talked for an hour or so before I noticed a high flag. Matt caught a 22-inch pickerel. Afterwards, I went to get the Husqevarna, fearing a stripped transmission, which I soon found out, to my great relief, was OK, while Jena caught a 20-inch pickerel. A gift from Matt.

A minute later, I caught my 18-incher. Later, as we began packing it in, Matt fought a pickerel of at least 22 inches, which broke off at the hole. Cut through 15-pound test fluorocarbon, which does happen on other rare occasions.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lake Hopatcong Foundation Gets Lots of Money

News from the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. Part of the message---Read Full Update--I clicked on copied, pasted at bottom. I'm just a little nervous about weed removal. That's not to say I'm right to be nervous about it, but that I don't know. I do know that since Lake Musconetcong was treated chemically with weed killer, water clarity so great that you could read a dime on the bottom five feet down, became a turbid mess like diarrhea. Fishing suffered. The best I've been able to estimate, and other people say same, the flourishing population of pickerel is all but gone from the lake.

To the best of my knowledge, chemical treatment of Lake Hopatcong vegetation is not in any of the plans. I interviewed the state and Knee Deep Club about the most recent fisheries survey on the lake, and my understanding is that weed removal here involves a harvesting device. This is not to say, however, that no concerns for fish populations with regard to weed harvesting exist. But the best I could gather is that the concerns are only marginal. If I rightly recall, some fingerling bass might get scooped in the process, but then maybe I'm only imagining this, rather than remembering. Maybe the issue is habitat, but not about serious loss.

I've got notes from those interviews. But God help me find them. The article I wrote for Lake Hopatcong News in final form doesn't go into the issue, I believe, but maybe I will check on this.

Overabundance of aquatic vegetation you can blame on lawn fertilizers, for a big factor. Other factors involve impervious surfaces and what's on them when rain washes over the concreate and asphalt. That's of lesser concern than fertilizer. I wish I could remember the percentage of impervious surface in relation to the total area of the state. It's a very high ratio. More than roadways, parking lots in paradise to paraphrase Joni Mitchel, are rooftops and patios, sidewalks and cartops. Another factor yet in some waterway situations, doubtfully Hopatcong, I believe is phosphate from washing machines...if I imagine correctly that sewage treatment does not alter the PH factor that affects water and plant life in turn. Last, but far from least, the biggest factor we may confront in our concern for waterways is climate change. PH balance, and nutrient balance with regard to fertilizers, depend a great deal on water temperature to possibly get things way out of whack.

I never forget. Late March 2012, standing at Lake Carnegie's aqueduct, and viewing water lilies up. Blooming, no, not yet. But March temperatures, days on end, in the 70's and 80's....what may we become?

Storm water management is unambiguously good to me.

$500,000.00 annual dollars is a whole lot of money. None of it should be loosely wasted, in my opinion.

I wonder what the "more" is.
Lake Hopatcong Foundation shared an update on New Jersey Governor and Legislature: Support Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey's 2016 Budget Check it out and leave a comment:
Petition Update

Lake Hopatcong Fund: You helped make it happen!

We received word this morning that, after passage through the state senate and assembly, Gov. Christie signed legislation that has established a permanent source of funding for Lake Hopatcong! The Lake Hopatcong Fund will bring $500,000 annually to the lake through motorboat license fees, helping to support aquatic weed control, storm water management, water quality reporting, and more. In...
You signed Lake Hopatcong Foundation‘s petition, “New Jersey Governor and Legislature: Support Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey's 2016 Budget”, on Jan 12, 2016

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Petition update

Lake Hopatcong Fund: You helped make it happen!

Lake Hopatcong Foundation
Jan 15, 2018 — We received word this morning that, after passage through the state senate and assembly, Gov. Christie signed legislation that has established a permanent source of funding for Lake Hopatcong! The Lake Hopatcong Fund will bring $500,000 annually to the lake through motorboat license fees, helping to support aquatic weed control, storm water management, water quality reporting, and more. In addition to thanking our local state legislators, who crafted this legislation and advocated for its passage, we have to thank ALL OF YOU who signed this petition. With 2,241 signatures, you helped generate more than 31,000 (!!!) letters to New Jersey officials asking for the state to financially support the management of Lake Hopatcong.

There have been a LOT of behind-the-scenes efforts to make this happen; the Lake Hopatcong Foundation has been advocating for consistent funding for the lake since we were established six years ago, and our representatives in Trenton from the 24th, 25th, and 26th districts (including state senators Oroho, Bucco, and Pennacchio) have been working on such legislation for years. The subject has regularly been a part of the Lake Hopatcong Commission discussion, too. But nothing beats an engaged group of citizens, so THANK YOU for playing your part in helping to protect and improve the Lake Hopatcong environment and experience.

Cheers to you, from the LHF team. And cheers to beautiful Lake Hopatcong!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Five Million Fish Raised and Stocked by Hackettstown Hatchery in 2017

Here's a press release that may interest you. The first link takes you to an interesting story, not an entangled mess of information about changes in the fish code for 2018, the link I posted a few weeks ago. 

A record five million cold, cool, and warmwater fish, consisting of 15 species were raised and stocked by the Hackettstown Hatchery in 2017. Species such as Northern Pike, Walleye, Channel Catfish, Hybrid Striped Bass and Muskellunge from the hatchery provide exceptional angling opportunities throughout the state. Other species are raised to supplement and support other popular fisheries.

For more information on the new record see the DEP news release at ; more information about the Hackettstown Hatchery, including its history, feature articles, species raised and stocking summaries can be found on the hatchery's web page at . A fisheries forum will be held at the hatchery on January 20 - see for details.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Laurie's Report

Must have nearly hit 70 degrees today, but it really doesn't change anything, not regarding the ice fishing season, and my son and I--and I hope Mike Maxwell, too--will ice fish Tuesday at Round Valley.

One exception. I don't suggest anyone run out on the reservoir tomorrow. That's beside the point, as you will read Tuesday. The only report I got on the safety of the reservoir ice was from Mike Maxwell, just before the mild weather really took hold here. He didn't know how thick, but said they were out on the ice near the boat launch.

I've copied Laurie Murphy's report verbatim for you, and you can just feel the confidence this year. The derby on the 21st will happen.

The Lake here is covered with ice about 10 to 12 inches thick. Fishing in Great Cove, Nolans Point has produced some nice pickerel and yellow perch using tip ups with medium shiners or jigging with grubs , small rapalas, or small tungsten jigs.  Reports from the State Park area seem to be about the same. The Knee Deep Club will be holding their first ice fishing derby on Sunday, January 21st. The contest begins at  6 AM and ends at 4 PM.  The entry fee is $20/members and $25/nonmembers and there will be cash prizes awarded for the three heaviest fish in the perch/crappie category, the pickerel category and the all other species category.  More info can be found at or call Dows Boat Rental @ (973)663 3826. We are fully stocked with everything you need. We carry a large selection of ice jigs, tip ups, jigging poles, ice creepers and hand drills along with replacement blades for them,  and jet sleds, as well as shiners, mousses, wax worms and spikes.  We are open 7 days a week from 6 AM to 6 PM. Have a great week...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ice Shots

My son and I went to Peapack Brook and Hacklebarnery State Park for a photo shoot, my having had the idea for several years now to get some shots of ice associated with falls. When we got to Peapack Brook, some swans on Peapack Pond where a bubbler keeps a little water open caught our interest, and I spent a few minutes shooting them at my feet. Then we walked over the bridge, and when we got down to the brook, I said, "Let me get a couple of shots from in front," and I took two steps when suddenly a large mass of the ice yards away I was about to shoot broke off and into the brook with a hollow thud. We laughed.

I had said last night that the milder weather might mean we could have got better shots, had we gone sooner, but Matt said it would make no difference. Ice wasn't going to melt that fast. Oh, yes it does.

We noticed lower temperatures at higher elevation Hacklebarney, and nothing had broken up. The falls of Trout Brook were pretty much frozen in completely with nothing dramatic to get on pixels, but I did a lot of close-up work on water flowing on ice formations, but having come home, deleted files I don't want, and loaded the rest into Lightroom, I'm not satisfied with what I got. And at Peapack, I decided, results might have been much better had I thought to bring my tripod and somehow set it up in front of the falls at the dam, though I doubt this would have worked with the snow and ice on the concrete. 

It's a long process of trial and error. I'm just hoping we get some more cold winters over the course of the next 10 years. I had wanted to go to Clinton Falls on the South Branch, also, but there wasn't time. It's been three years since I went there a couple of times with heavy ice on the dam, and it seems yesterday. That falls and mill has been shot so many times, it seems almost impossible to get anything original, but I don't recall any published shots of the scene with such ice; it's just that what I got three years ago didn't satisfy me.

We got back to Bedminster at 3:53. I dropped Matt off and drove over to Martinsville with my auger shaft to get those blades sharpened.


Inspired tonight by Ravel's Daphnis and Cloe, an orchestral suite (it's on You Tube of course) that reminds me first of water instead of woodland, I thought about how I've never believed beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as if beauty is merely subjective, and yet to bestow the world with beauty is a human act, though, as I see it, an outrageous folly to think beauty isn't essentially there already to receive whatever I might feel.

In Sunday morning's post, I personified her, after first using the objective case, and find that telling, because beauty begins with things, but it moves in-between me and others, as if a level is reached that transcends the ordinary moment, linking me to other places, other times, other people. It's nothing I experience these days that needs succumb to awe, that enveloping of experience by something far greater I would get absorbed by. An eyelash is enough to remember someone I knew 40 years ago, and someone else left back at home, occupants of the same time and space making diurnal marks like years less relevant than the dimension above the three by which we create a calendar.

I wrote, in that last post, about service to this planet. There are many ways of doing this, all important. As a 10-year-old, I founded the Lawrence Ecology Club, and with about a dozen peers, we cleaned up trash along the Little Shabakunk Creek, and in the 50-acre Green Acres woodland near my home, which I had explored thoroughly and alone. We raised and donated money to a John's Hopkin's University whistling swan research project. Not much money, but some. This and many other ways entail service, but I had something else in mind I didn't make explicit. 

On August 28th, 2016, I wrote about grand affirmation after a Lake Hopatcong outing. I had made many such affirmations for years, and I felt this trip was the last, as I presently am reminded of Jimi Hendrix, "The Wind Cries Mary," and the definitiveness of his voice on that word, last. I no longer find I have the heft of soul to bestow such grand affirmation where I go, but it doesn't matter. Things change, and bestowal by lighter forms is not only all that an older man can do; these forms are matured, saner, safer. Service without power changes nothing, but power without service well-considered is saved by the grace of God at best.

Link to 8/28/16: