Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Knee Deep Club Hosts Trout and Pickerel Derbies

Knee Deep Club hosts a two-fish derby on Lake Hopatcong, Sunday, April 17th. Enter either or both the trout and pickerel contests; each is $20.00 for members, $25.00 for non-members, either by mailing in the form accessible online, or registering on the 17th at either weigh station until 8:00 a.m. that Sunday. Only Dow's Boat Rentals and Lake's End Marina serve weigh stations. If all goes as planned, Brian and I will enter the trout contest.

The club will stock trout next weekend, good-size fish; last year an eight-pound brown got released in the mix, and I expect the same will happen this year, plenty of others better than three pounds. In addition, the state stocks the lake with trout, and the fishing is pretty frisky in April. Since the lake is only 50 feet deep at best, and oxygen depletion during hot summers forces fish in August to remain 18 feet and shallower in warmish water until September, trout typically die off. However, we had such a mild summer a couple of years ago, some trout got caught into July. If you spend time on the lake and get to know people, you may hear murmurs about possible springs in places that keep a few trout alive, but all of this is speculation as far as I know, though of course New Jersey Highlands geological features include a lot of groundwater releases throughout the region.

Laurie Murphy recently emailed her first 2016 Lake Hopatcong report, and some pickerel approaching four pounds have been caught. Also, the word on the lake is crappie, as it always is this time of year with many coves and spots like the Brady Bridge productive. The typical crappie isn't very large, maybe 10 inches, but some over two pounds get caught on seldom occasion. Joe Landolfi and I jigged for walleye late in September once, and Joe hooked up 34 feet down, surprising as it was to me that we marked fish so deep that early in the fall season. The crappie weighed just an ounce or so more than a pound-and-a-half.

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