Most people think of New Jersey as a densely populated state with no unspoiled lakes. This is completely untrue and any fisherman who has spent any time exploring New Jerseys lakes know they offer some of the best fishing anywhere. You can find all the legal fishing lakes here.
It is not easy to narrow it down to only 4 places but here my favorite fishing spots. I can almost guarantee you will catch a bucket of fish.
#1 Marlu Lake
Marlu lake is located in Thompson Park in Lincroft, NJ. It is a large freshwater lake and is 22 acres in area and features some of the best fishing in the state. The depth averages about6 to 12 feet with one section that goes to 22 feet.
There is an area to launch boats and kayaks. Boats are restricted to electric motors only. While the lake can be fished from the shoreline, it is much easier to fish by boat, kayak or canoe. Thick brush, trees and steep banks make shore fishing difficult and dangerous.
You will find largemouth bass, crappies, carp and sunnies. There are 2 islands and the first one is called Turtle Island. The bass I catch here average between 3 and 4 pounds. But there are bass that are far larger. In fact I have caught several over 5 pounds. I kayak fish here often.
#2 Port Monmouth, Raritan Bay
Raritan Bay is located at the southern portion of Lower New York Bay between New York and New Jersey. There are numerous places to fish and many types of fish.
Port Monmouth is the place I launch my kayak as it is the easiest place. There are a few spots within a short paddle. There is also a main shipping channel that is farther away but does have some large sized fish. They usually lay on the edges of channels and near drop offs near the shore.
You need to be careful of boats and ships that use the channel. Be ready to paddle fast as there can be fast moving boats. I always leave my paddle across my legs in case I need quick access.
Raritan Bay has a great striped bass fishery, although it is better fishing by kayak or boat, you can fish for stripers as well. A lot of fellow fisherman cast or troll plugs although I prefer to use shrimp.
There are big stripers that can be caught in early spring and late fall but you can catch crappies almost all year long.
# 3 GREENWOOD LAKE
Greenwood Lake is nestled in a valley that straddles New Jersey’s Passaic County and New York’s Orange County. This 1,900 acre lake has everything a dedicated bass angler could want.
Greenwood also has three islands and fishing the shorelines can be very rewarding, especially during the early spring. Greenwood generally runs north and south from its northern section, with the northern end in New York and the southern part being in New Jersey.
The various islands starting with Fox Island in the south, are always productive for bass. Storm Island is located in the midway of the lake. Chapel Island is at the northern end of the lake where the headwaters of the Monksville Reservoir begin.
If you intend to run from one spot to another you need have a high-quality fish finder onboard.
#4 BUDD LAKE
Budd Lake is in Morris County NJ and fits into two categories. This large lake is either the most underutilized or underrated lake in New Jersey.
Budd Lake is host to a large smallmouth bass population, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sizable amount of crappies within the lake.Budd Lake is located immediately off state Route (SR) 46, and is a bowl-shaped lake with coves that are actually more like slight indentations around the perimeter of the lake.
Budd Lake has a healthy, thriving population of small mouth bass as well as largemouth bass. In fact, there is a story among biologists and the local fishermen about an angler who hooked and landed of a state-record smallmouth while fishing Budd Lake.
The lake is primarily a rock bottom lake from the middle of the lake right up to and including the shore. I’ve fished Budd Lake at least 20-25 times, and one thing I found out is rocky embankments are its best spots. I’ve done much better when fishing spoons near the shoreline and it not catching anything with that, worms usually work. The rubber worm works along the shores has been the best producer of largemouth bass.
There are two boat ramps at the lake, one of which is located behind the bar on the western side of the lake and can be accessed from SR 46. But at this ramp, fisherman will have to pay a fee.
There’s also boat ramp behind Doc’s Marina, located along Manor House Road. If you intend to fish Budd Lake, bring a good supply of plastic and rubber worms, but don’t be surprised if you come up with a pickerel as the lake is full of them.
Good luck, you shouldn’t need it these lakes though.