Tagged Trout Study Enters Third Year

Verifying Winners
Tim Clancy and Commissioner Todd Stevens verify the gift certificate winners' details.

By: Tim Clancy

Tagged Trout Study Enters Third Year

LAKE HOPATCONG, N.J. (2/20/204)

The Brown Trout Study being conducted at Lake Hopatcong by the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC) in cooperation with the Knee Deep Club (KDC) along with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation (LHF) has entered its third year with plans to stock another 1,000 12” to 14” tagged brown trout on April 13th, 2024. The stocking will take place out of Dow’s Boat Rental, 145 Nolans Point Rd. Lake Hopatcong at 1:00 PM. The public is invited to attend and can even give a hand loading the fish onto boats that will spread the trout throughout the lake. Please check back one week prior to confirm there has been no change to the schedule.

This year, all trout will bear a tan-colored tag affixed to the trout’s jaw, and all anglers are asked to report their catches and to include a photo if possible. All participants will be included in a random drawing and will be eligible for one of five $100 Gift Certificates generously donated by LiveTheLake. Catches can be reported online at LHCTROUT.com or by filling out forms available at Dow’s Boat Rental or Lake’s End Marina in Landing.

The winners from tags reported in 2023 were drawn at the LHC February meeting. They are Jim Archambault of Hopatcong, Hunter Good of Oak Ridge, Lou Marcucci of Landing, Leonard Okken of Newton, and Michael Rivera of Ringoes. This year there were nearly four times as many tags reported as in the first year of the study. Interestingly many of the fishermen traveled a good distance to fish for Lake Hopatcong’s trout. Of the 54 tagged trout reported anglers came from 10 different counties along with New York City! The increase over 2022 reports may be from better knowledge in the angling community and the large banners placed at strategic locations around the lake last spring.

Along with the tag returns, the Brown Trout Study is being supported with additional water quality studies being conducted by lake specialists Princeton Hydro. The studies have been generously funded by The N.J Highlands Council with support from Jefferson Township. During the hot summer months, which are often stressful to trout, the water quality sampling, which is typically done on a monthly basis, has been conducted on a weekly basis. The Final Report for 2023 is being finalized and will be shared with LHC and the other partners when completed.

Interim reports that were shared with the Trout Committee showed marked improvement in the summer trout habitat over 2022 which experienced a very warm and dry summer. The generally overcast and rainy summer in 2023 may have benefited the lake’s trout which require cooler water and specific dissolved oxygen levels to survive. 2022 tags were blue, 2023 were silver color and this year tan. While last year saw a significant increase in reported tagged trout, no trout bearing the previous year’s colored tag have been reported yet. With last year’s 5’ Drawdown, there was very limited opportunities to fish Lake Hopatcong in the fall, so hopefully, we will see some trout with previous year tags this season. Opening Day Trout Season falls on April 6 and any trout caught prior must be returned to the water but anglers should still report any tagged brown trout caught.