Friday, January 19, 2018

Getting Ready for Some More

Mike Maxwell came over last night, and we examined the auger blades. There's no need for me to blame Advanced Power Equipment in Martinsville, because the blades got worked on, we determined. But they don't work, so Mike suggested I buy new blades. What I found online in the reviews is very encouraging, so I expect that once the blades come by UPS, and I get back out on the ice, the auger will cut like new. The cost was only about $23.00.

Plans include a Tuesday with Mike and Joe Landolfi on Lake Hopatcong, and a Saturday morning with Oliver Round on Thomas Edison's former quarry. I'm fairly well informed that is the place. I know mild weather is in the forecast, but I'm fairly confident this "real" season, as I called it about a month ago, is here to stay with us for awhile yet.

Looking ahead to the new trout season around the corner, I'm sure I'll get out with my micro-light spinning gear and Mike Maxwell once or twice. Brook trout won't be stocked, but some of our streams have natives, which for now on are protected for catch and release only. Like every new rule that aims to better the human experience, there's a minor downside. I've written articles that persuade for catch and release when it comes to native trout, but in them I've also written that keeping at least one native over the course of fishing for them to take home and cook may be a good idea. Brook trout are a traditional delicacy, and who would want to miss out?  So go to  New Hampshire. Go to Maine. So long as the meal isn't outlawed there. Last I fished in New Hampshire, summer 2009, I caught a nine-inch native brookie from the Saco River and cooked it over the campfire of my son and I. 

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!