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Lake hopatcong


Gregorym38

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I was there but only a handful of times. I was fishing for musky though. Lots boat lifts and docks to fish. I hear it gets super busy in the summer with boat traffic there is some  lots of l potential I’d say go up near raccoon and halsey island. 

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I live 20-30 minutes away depending which part and in 2021 I fished it a ton. Last year only once or twice. If you’re shorebound, forget it. Almost the entire lake is private shoreline and houses/docks. Where you can access it from shore isn’t worth fishing. If you’re in a motor boat then you have some options and it’s worth fishing, though there are some caveats. If you’re in a kayak then it’s going to be a hard day on the water. For the caveats (boat and kayak)- it’s the biggest lake in the state, there are ten tons of other people on the water, and the bass see dozens of lures per day. That might be some exaggeration, but from shortly after ice out until the end of September there are Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday tournaments most weeks.  From the middle of may to the middle of September there are pleasure boats on the water daily. Forget summer weekends. When I fished it hard in 2021 I would launch around 3 am and get most of my motoring while it was dark to get away from my put in. Then I’d fish my way around and back towards the truck. Most of the time the wake boarders would be on the water at or right before sunrise. Party boats shortly after. If it was a tournament day you’d hear the bass boats a mile away at first light. I would normally fish until 10 or so and call it. 
 

All of that is my way of saying that while there are lots of bass in the lake, there are plenty of other lakes around that also have lots of bass without all of the aggravation. Now, if you are going for a multi species day then I would revise my opinion. In one day I’ve caught largemouth, smallmouth, hybrids, white perch, crappie, pickerel, perch and walleye. All while fishing for bass with Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.  I caught two 24” walleye on a plopper. There are also muskies in there though I haven’t gotten one yet. I would still rather not deal with the crap there, but if you’re just going fishing to see what you catch then it will add some interest. 
 


 

 

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5 hours ago, casts_by_fly said:

I live 20-30 minutes away depending which part and in 2021 I fished it a ton. Last year only once or twice. If you’re shorebound, forget it. Almost the entire lake is private shoreline and houses/docks. Where you can access it from shore isn’t worth fishing. If you’re in a motor boat then you have some options and it’s worth fishing, though there are some caveats. If you’re in a kayak then it’s going to be a hard day on the water. For the caveats (boat and kayak)- it’s the biggest lake in the state, there are ten tons of other people on the water, and the bass see dozens of lures per day. That might be some exaggeration, but from shortly after ice out until the end of September there are Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday tournaments most weeks.  From the middle of may to the middle of September there are pleasure boats on the water daily. Forget summer weekends. When I fished it hard in 2021 I would launch around 3 am and get most of my motoring while it was dark to get away from my put in. Then I’d fish my way around and back towards the truck. Most of the time the wake boarders would be on the water at or right before sunrise. Party boats shortly after. If it was a tournament day you’d hear the bass boats a mile away at first light. I would normally fish until 10 or so and call it. 
 

All of that is my way of saying that while there are lots of bass in the lake, there are plenty of other lakes around that also have lots of bass without all of the aggravation. Now, if you are going for a multi species day then I would revise my opinion. In one day I’ve caught largemouth, smallmouth, hybrids, white perch, crappie, pickerel, perch and walleye. All while fishing for bass with Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.  I caught two 24” walleye on a plopper. There are also muskies in there though I haven’t gotten one yet. I would still rather not deal with the crap there, but if you’re just going fishing to see what you catch then it will add some interest. 
 


 

 

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Wow i could definitely see some merit to your comment. However,,, someone i follow on fishbrain caught a 6.5 lb lmb behind dows marina on a glidebait, a deps 250. It seems like it would be tough, but potentially rewarding. I have yet to catch a walleye or musky, but im thinking of hitting greenwood for walleye. Thats pressured too tho, so I dont know. I have no idea where i can find musky, or a decent lmb. I usually fish lake oradell and the biggest i got was 3 lb.  I am restricted to only shore or kayak unfortunately, if you have any other recommendations dm me. I live in bergen county but im willing to drive. 

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6 hours ago, casts_by_fly said:

I live 20-30 minutes away depending which part and in 2021 I fished it a ton. Last year only once or twice. If you’re shorebound, forget it. Almost the entire lake is private shoreline and houses/docks. Where you can access it from shore isn’t worth fishing. If you’re in a motor boat then you have some options and it’s worth fishing, though there are some caveats. If you’re in a kayak then it’s going to be a hard day on the water. For the caveats (boat and kayak)- it’s the biggest lake in the state, there are ten tons of other people on the water, and the bass see dozens of lures per day. That might be some exaggeration, but from shortly after ice out until the end of September there are Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday tournaments most weeks.  From the middle of may to the middle of September there are pleasure boats on the water daily. Forget summer weekends. When I fished it hard in 2021 I would launch around 3 am and get most of my motoring while it was dark to get away from my put in. Then I’d fish my way around and back towards the truck. Most of the time the wake boarders would be on the water at or right before sunrise. Party boats shortly after. If it was a tournament day you’d hear the bass boats a mile away at first light. I would normally fish until 10 or so and call it. 
 

All of that is my way of saying that while there are lots of bass in the lake, there are plenty of other lakes around that also have lots of bass without all of the aggravation. Now, if you are going for a multi species day then I would revise my opinion. In one day I’ve caught largemouth, smallmouth, hybrids, white perch, crappie, pickerel, perch and walleye. All while fishing for bass with Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.  I caught two 24” walleye on a plopper. There are also muskies in there though I haven’t gotten one yet. I would still rather not deal with the crap there, but if you’re just going fishing to see what you catch then it will add some interest. 
 


 

 

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Great info you gave the op. ?

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5 hours ago, Gregorym38 said:

Wow i could definitely see some merit to your comment. However,,, someone i follow on fishbrain caught a 6.5 lb lmb behind dows marina on a glidebait, a deps 250. It seems like it would be tough, but potentially rewarding. I have yet to catch a walleye or musky, but im thinking of hitting greenwood for walleye. Thats pressured too tho, so I dont know. I have no idea where i can find musky, or a decent lmb. I usually fish lake oradell and the biggest i got was 3 lb.  I am restricted to only shore or kayak unfortunately, if you have any other recommendations dm me. I live in bergen county but im willing to drive. 


shore access is tough in this area generally and was one of the reasons I got my kayak. Some lakes are heavy with lake houses, docks, and private land (Hopatcong, cranberry, Musconetcong, etc). Some have really steep terrain that make access tough (monksville, split rock, lots of the Newark watershed lakes).  Some are a bit of both (big Swartswood).  Spruce run and round valley offer a lot more shoreline access since both are state parks.  Spruce was rough last year as it went 22’ below full pool due to lack of rain. Round valley has been drawn down that far for two or three years now with the dam work going on, but guys are still catching fish there from shore (mostly trout on bait).  Both are decent candidates for shore fishing as some of the places you can access the lakes actually have decent cover and structure near access areas. Both will be incredibly tough for bass from now until April (as will most of this area until then).  I would advise sorting out your kayak as it will offer a lot more access than you’ll ever find on foot. 

 

Hopatcong has a lot of bass in it, and there are some good ones caught in most tournaments.  You need 15-20 lb to win a tournament there (over 20# prespawn). Below is the link for north east bass masters who run Thursday and Sunday tournaments there. Basically every tournament has at least one 5+.  Biggest lunker was 6.2#. There is a ton of baitfish in that lake (alewife and golden shiners) which is why the hybrids are doing so well. If you can deal with the people and other boats you can get into fish. This was a selection from early may this year when it was pouring down rain and blowing a gale on a Saturday. There were still a bunch of boats out. I managed some bass throwing a chartreuse and white spinnerbait at docks (one on a jig pitching to one of the three trees in the lake).  The weather was so bad I had to spot lock to make a cast, fish it back, move 10’ and repeat.  The wakeboarders started at 6:30 that day in full wetsuits. Given the other lakes I mentioned above, it’s not worth my aggravation.

 

The state puts muskies in a handful of places. Off the top of my head, monksville, greenwood, echo, canistear, mountain, Oxford, manasquan, Delaware river, and Hopatcong are the big ones. I’m not a musky expert, so I just see what others are catching on the web and while I’m out fishing.  Check out the DEP musky site for details. 
 

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http://www.northeastbassmasters.com/id175.html

 

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4 hours ago, GaryH said:

Great info you gave the op. ?


thanks.  At 2700 acres Hopatcong is by far the biggest lake around and the only truly unlimited horsepower lake that it makes sense to have a big boat (the couple others are <200 acres and shallow).  There are plenty of coves and islands.  All of it, minus about a mile stretch is  ringed by lake houses and docks. There are a dozen marinas on the lake also. It adds up to a lot of boats on the lake.  It’s not a place for the feint of heart.  I’ve had 30’ cigar boats pass so close at full speed that the wake was starting to roll me before I could even sit down. I’ve had wakes come over the bow and fill the inside of my kayak (scupper holes sorted it in 10 seconds).  The wake boats start at first light and don’t stop. 
 

if you have experience on the water and a boat to handle it (plus the patience of a saint) then there are fish to be had. They are chunky due to the baitfish and you never know what’s going to eat your lure. But it’s not for a novice.
 

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Sounds and looks like a party lake. 

I do commend you to tackle that lake in a kayak. I’m running a 21’ Skeeter and I hate party lakes

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14 minutes ago, GaryH said:

Sounds and looks like a party lake. 

I do commend you to tackle that lake in a kayak. I’m running a 21’ Skeeter and I hate party lakes

 

definitely a party lake.  The picture above is a place called Byram cove.  Its known as a party location.  That particular day there were probably 200-300 boats anchored and rafted there.  The state police post up at the entrance to the cove and often have people pulled over.  Based on where I launch the kayak, I either have to cross the mouth of that cove or another part of the main lake to get back to the truck after daylight (in the dark I can go anywhere).  I choose the mouth of the cove since its the narrowest spot to cross.  I don't fish offshore structure here because the waves and boats will blow you around, even spotlocked in.  And you never know when someone just won't see you.  The summer bass tournaments are won with deep weedlines and offshore structure.

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3 hours ago, GaryH said:

Sounds and looks like a party lake. 

I do commend you to tackle that lake in a kayak. I’m running a 21’ Skeeter and I hate party lakes

I don’t know if it’s true or not. I did read somewhere that a lot of famous people had houses there at one time I believe it’s only about a half hour drive from NYC as well.

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1 hour ago, Darnold335 said:

I don’t know if it’s true or not. I did read somewhere that a lot of famous people had houses there at one time I believe it’s only about a half hour drive from NYC as well.


maybe at one time it was famous people.  Maybe I’m just out of the loop and don’t know famous from infamous.  It’s about an hour from the city once you factor traffic but that’s just the point. It’s within an hour of 20 million people and it’s basically the only freshwater option around. 

this is about half of the lake but it’s all the same.

 

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