July Fourth is shaping up to be the busiest time of the year on the water for recreational boaters, including anglers.
The national Boat Owners Association surveyed members and found them to be likely going boating from now until July 9. The parking lots will be filled early at popular fishing spots like Round Valley and Merrill Creek reservoirs as well as lakes and ponds.
Anglers can go fishing early in the morning and late in afternoons or at night to beat the crowds.
Byram Cove at Lake Hopatcong is usually is crowded with anchored boats on weekend and holidays, but not fishermen. It’s too crowded for fishing, but it’s a big lake.
Despite low water in the trout streams, anglers found trout in well-stocked waters last week, and bass anglers found largemouths in a biting mood.
Algae canceled the Paradise Club fishing contest last weekend at Big Swartswood Lake. The state Department of Environmental Protection said a lake water sample showed a harmful algal bloom toxin.
The blooms are caused by nitrogen and phosphorous in the water, lack of wind and lots of sun and heat. This summer was bad for toxic blue-green algae blooms. The Burnham Park lakes and Speedwell Lake had a blue-green color on their surfaces last week.
There is a lot of freshwater fishing going on, but not too many entrants for fishing contests. Last weekend’s bass contest at Lake Hopatrcong drew 28 entries.
A June 11 trout tournament at Round Valley Reservoir attracted only 35 anglers. Usually at the lake, ice fishing contests draw the most entries, more than 50.
On Lake Hopatcong
John Moran of Hopatcong won last Sunday’s Knee Deep Club Tournament at Lake Hopatcong with a 3-pound 13-ounce largemouth worth $216, runner up Alex Narrise of Randolph got $129 for a 3 1/2-pound bass and William Rowe of Stanhope won $87 for a 3-pound-1 bass.
They also got rods and reel combos from Ramsey Outdoor Stores as did the next finishers, Bryan Higgins, Dom Sarinelli and William Rowe.
A 10-pound 3-ounce walleye caught on a herring by Frank LoSauro of New York City was weighed-in at Dow’s Boat Rentals on Nolan’s Point, where Laurie Murphy said anglers were catching pickerel, yellow perch and hybrid striped bass, with stripers weighing up to 8 pounds.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday certified a new archery record for grass carp at 65 pounds and 13 ounces. Hunter Whitehead of Frenchtown was bowfishing in the Delaware River when he got the 48-inch fish on June 3.
He broke Mark Kronyak’s previous 65-pound record for archery grass carp shot in the Delaware 2008. Bill Friedman has the state’s rod and reel American carp record at 47 pounds caught from the South Branch of the Raritan in 1995. Carp spawn in June.
Tuesday: Fish-for-free-day in Pennsylvania, nonresidents and residents can fish with no fishing license required
July 14: Knee Deep Club meeting at Hopatcong Civic Center, 8 p.m.
July 15-16: Knee Deep Club’s 20th Annual Hybrid Bass Contest at Lake Hopatcong, starting at 5 a.m. July 15 and concluding at noon July 16; entry forms at Dow’s and Lake’s End Marina at Landing and at kneedeepclub.org