What's being said...

      I have recently learned that there is a plan to reduce and/or eliminate the stocking of trout in Lake Hopatcong. I have fished all my life and have contributed every year to New Jersey's Fish and Wildlife program by purchasing a fishing license as well as a trout stamp. The only place I can fish with my busy schedule is Lake Hopatcong. I must say that if this plan goes through I will no longer be purchasing a fishing license or trout stamp in this state. I am not the only angler that feels this way. Many of my friends and fellow anglers also rely on this waterway to provide good trout fishing. Please do not take this note lightly.

I am in favor of Lake Hopatcong being stocked because a lot of our customer base fishes that lake. It would definitely have an effect on our business. I also want to state that I stand 100% behind the Knee Deep Club on wanting to keep Lake Hopatcong stocked with trout and even more trout. Lets try and get todays youth back into fishing by giving them a lot more fish to catch.

      This letter is in response to the proposal of eliminating trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong on 2006. As a life long resident of Hopatcong I have been fishing in this lake for over 35 years. Thanks to years of work of NJ Fish and Wildlife and the Knee Deep Club, Lake Hopatcong is one of the state's top freshwater fisheries drawing tens of thousands of fishermen annually.       To be honest, trout is not my favorite species to target in Lake Hopatcong and I truly doubt it is a "holdover" trout lake. I also believe that most of NJ's lakes are not capable of holding trout through the summer months. Just because a lake is not capable of sustaining trout doesn't mean we should cease stocking them. Using this logic would put an end to pheasant stocking in most parts of the state as well.
      I cannot ignore the thousands of fishermen that fill our lake from opening day of trout season until ice covers the lake that specifically target trout. Many of these sportsmen rent boats from one of the many boat rental locations or put their own boat in at many of the public ramps. The local bait shops and restaurants see major spikes in business in the early part of trout season. I personally know lake residents that have spent thousands of dollars outfitting their boats with downriggers and other special gear to specifically target trout on Lake Hopatcong.
      All of these fishermen have purchased fishing licenses and trout stamps. For many of these people, especially residents or others with larger boats, Lake Hopatcong is the only option for trout fishing. The state will directly lose revenue from these people if trout are not stocked. How many others, like myself, will not purchase a trout stamp if Lake Hopatcong is not stocked.
      In light of the fiscal problems of NJ Fish and Wildlife, I don't think we can stand to lose the assets that Lake Hopatcong as a trout fishery brings to the state. I urge you to reconsider this proposal.

      I am an avid angler from Chatham, NJ who keeps a fishing boat docked on Lake Hopatcong. Lake H is the only body of water that I fish in NJ and from March to early June, trout is the primary species that I fish for.
      I believe that your trout return number for Lake H is way too low because most anglers do not return trout tags there - I know I haven't, because its not convenient to do so. I also know that you have no assurance that moving trout around will generate additional license fees. In fact it may only worsen the situation.
       While I understand that you have a need to investigate alternative trout stocking strategies, I think it is important for you to also understand the negative impact your plan to stop stocking Lake H would have. For example, I would no longer be purchasing a trout stamp. Most Lake H fisherman fish from a boat, not from shore. Most of us would not be interested in going to nearby streams to fish for trout.
      My recommendation to you for reversing the decline in licenses would be to launch an aggressive MARKETING campaign. You need to bring in new trout anglers, not lose the ones you have now. Good luck and thanks for listening.

      I moved near Lake Hopatcong many years ago just so I could fish for trout. This has been my favorite pass time for many years. I can't drive nor get around anymore. I can't stand in streams. I live very near the lake, but I guess if there won't be anymore trout, I might as well move to PA. I know one thing I won't buy a license or stamp any more. Don't you think there are many others like me? I always thought you people from the fish and game were allies with us fisherman? I suppose the fish and game is like the rest of the NJ Govt. people ,money hungry politicians. Don't look for money from this old guy anymore.

      I am a Lake Hopatcong Resident and a Lake Hopatcong Trout angler. I cannot believe that the state will no longer stock trout beginning in 2006. This makes no sense at all. I fish by boat which is moored on the lake. There is no other lake within 10 miles to fish for trout, not to mention the inconvenience of having to remove my boat, trailer it and return to it's mooring. Then there is the ramp fees for all this. I am not a "land lubber" trout fisherman and do not fish from the banks of rivers and streams. I schedule four spring, four summer and four fall fishing trips strictly for trout, but do fish for them on a regular basis throughout the season. I enter trout fishing contests, and participate in the Knee Deep Club sponsored contests. If trout are no longer to be stocked, then I will no longer support the state fisheries and will not purchase a trout stamp.

Dear Division of Fish & Wildlife,

      I am writing in response to the proposed "No Trout" stocking in Lake Hopatcong for 2006.
      Just the thought of putting this proposal on the table, makes me question the purpose of the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. For years, I have purchased a fishing license and trout stamp (as well as hunting licenses and other stamps) to support wildlife in NJ. Have you really forgotten the purpose of the Division?? I believe it is to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, which includes wildlife management, habitat improvement and certainly fisk stocking issues.
       Put and Take.... remember??? How are persons expected to "take", when the State is considering not to "put". And you'll gladly "take" our money with increased license and stamp fees. Correct?? I have watched the number of fish stocking areas being reduced over the years, and it is unacceptable. Now the Largest Lake in NJ?? People do fish there, and they do fish for trout. I personally do, at least 15 times a year. I have caught your tagged trout, as part of your study. But wouldn't it make more sense to stock Brown's, as they can tolerate the warmer waters?? And I know there is an oxygen problem...but what are you folks doing to improve this issue??? Aren't you supposed to also be providing habitat improvement?? More oxygen would improve the conditions, and be considered habitat improvement. But you folks wish to eliminate the species from the habitat, and not enhance and add species to the habitat. Something appears backwards.
       And where are the surplus trout going to be stocked?? Is some "cold-water" habitat, like Burnham Pond??!! Maybe it would make more sense to have them stocked there, than to stock in the shallows of the Hopatcong State Park, where they can swim over the falls. Or maybe It Would make more sense to stock them in Burnham Pond, than to have your staff toss them off a bridge into 6 inches of water into the Rockaway River, and watch them float away, shocked from hitting the rocky bottom!!!! All trout fisherman have witnessed this service provided for by your staff. Or, maybe the trout should just be dumped in the woods, to feed the bear population...
       If I am to purchase a trout stamp, I expect the dollars to go towards worthy causes. Right now, in light of the "thinking process" going on with the Division, I don't see the benefit of paying for a trout stamp, and maybe not even a fishing license. Please put some positive thought into your programs, to benefit those who pay for your careers. You are creating a real disinterest in trout fishing, by proposing such negative ideas.

      I am an outdoors writer and I have taught high school biology for many years. I live in the Lake Forest Section of Lake Hopatcong. I can't begin to tell you how many trout I've caught in the lake dating all the way back to the late 50's when I'd cut school in Irvington and travel to the lake for some good trout fishing. I've recently (2002) caught trout as large as 9 lbs 10 oz. In the spring, when I target trout, I can catch my limit on lures everyday (I return 99.9% unharmed to the lake). I find it an utter disgrace to even suggest not stocking Lake Hopatcong with trout.
       If you were really wise, you'd stock once in the late fall around Dec. 1. These fish readily holdover and would be available all spring. Maybe you have to change the lake's game-plan, but not to stock the state's largest lake would be an absolute disgrace.

      I own a 20' Patio Boat which is docked at Lake Hopatcong. The boat is used for cruising around the lake with friends and fishing. Since buying my boat in 1999, I have joined the Knee Deep Club and fish the lake regularly. I am dismayed to hear of the 2006 Plan and the implications it would have on the Trout Stocking in Lake Hopatcong.
       I want you to know that I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to this plan and believe that it would be EXTREMELY DETRIMENTAL to the fishing industry in New ,Jersey. How could you possibly not stock the largest lake in the State??? Why would I ever want to purchase a Trout Stamp if I cannot fish for Trout in Lake Hopatcong?? This plan makes no sense whatsoever.

      As a resident on Lake Hopatcong, I fish for trout at least twenty times a year. We are working around the lake to improve the quality of the water.
       As a governor appointee to the Lake Hopatcong Commission where I spent three years working very hard to improve the lake conditions before resigning, your negative action sure sends a bad message to the homeowners, visitors and merchants who benefit from the trout stocked in Lake Hopatcong.
       Your actions, if not revised, will surely have a negative influence on the sale of trout stamps - a large source of income to the State.
       The NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife needs to change its' attitude and keep stocking trout in Lake Hopatcong. It is a win situation all the way around when you do this. The State wins from the revenue of trout stamps, the merchants win because of the visitors and the fisherman living on the lake win because it is a great sport which everyone enjoys.

      I can't beleive it, every spring I look forward to getting my boat in Lake Hopatcong for opening day of trout season. My children love to fish for trout with me and now I'll have to tell them that next year will their last opportunity to catch trout in "their lake". I've attached my catch log for trout over the past 6 years totalling 186. I don't know how anyone can say that trout aren't being caught from Lake Hopatcong. I can honestly say that I will not purchase a trout stamp if the state does not stock trout in Lake Hopatcong. Where will you put the trout, in the swamp they call Lake Musconetcong or places like Speedwell Lake in Morristown?

      I write to you today in hopes that there is some chance that the NJDEP will reconsider their decision to not stock trout in lake hopatcong this year. I am an avid fisherman and native NJ resident, and I have found Lake Hopatcong (NJ's largest lake) to be an outstanding and productive trout fishery. I consistently catch trout in the spring, summer and fall and I know that my fellow fishermen have similar good luck with trout at the lake. Given the great fishing use of the lake, and the incredible water preservation investments made by the lake community and private organizations like the Knee Deep Fishing Club (to which I am a proud member) I can think of no other place that "takes care of the fish" that NJ "donates". The lake is truly managed and cared for by the sportsman who benefit the most. Should you have any questions and/or concerns please feel free to email me at the above address. Thank you for listening.

      I'm a life long resident of Morris County, New Jersey. I am also a fisherman and have been fishing in this state for over fifty. I have learned that the Dept of Fish and Game has proposed not stocking Lake Hopatcong with trout. I can't believe your Dept could even suggest a more ridiculous plan. To stop trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong because a study showed that more trout are are harvested in smaller lakes than larger ones. Firstly, I think some of your biologists should study about density as a factor. If this is a viable reason for not stocking larger lakes, then why not consider stocking more trout in the Rockaway river than the Musconectcong river, or better yet lets only stock smaller ponds in the state and forget about all rivers or larger bodies of water. I'm sure by the time we have eliminated all other bodies of water except the very smallest, we can all forget about trout stocking altogether because there will not be any fisherman left in this state to buy a trout stamp. Thousands of fisherman fish Lake Hopatcong every year. Between opening day trout fishing and early July the number one fish sought after is trout. You kill this and you will lose thousands of trout stamp revenues. I realize money is tight, personnel and space is tight, however lets step back and come up with a better solution. For a start how about reexamining the age requirement of 17 and up to buy a license and stamp. Roll it back to 14. I also suggest thighter law enforcement. Why not use volunteers to check licenses and stamps. All they have to do is check and report names, or call a warden.

      I am a die-hard trout fisherman that fishes Lake Hopatcong. When I first heard of the new proposal to stop trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong, I couldn't believe it. Someone told me that the reason that trout would no longer be stocked in Lake Hopatcong, was to stock smaller ponds and lakes where people could harvest more trout and therfore this would interest more people into trout fishing. Huh? Why do you think many people trailer their boats to Lake Hopatcong for trout fishing? Because, they already catch trout at Lake Hopatcong. If you eliminate your stocking of trout at the Lake why would I need to buy a trout stamp every year? In fact why would the hundreds of other fisherman buy one either.        If the biolgists think this is the answer, tell them to go back and breed some trout that will not only be able to cope with harsh conditions but will thrive. For instance, Wisconsin Fish and Game crossed wild browns with domestic browns and came up with some winners. Also, Michigan Fish and Game are doing studies that shows breeds of wild browns and domestic browns out live and out grow the domestic hatchery trout. The genes from domestic hatchery trout have been constantly crossed with domestic hatchery trout. The genes that once were there are now gone. A new set of genes need to be implemented into hatchery fish. Try to develop a new gene pool.

      I believe the study which your biologists conducted concerning the harvesting of trout in small ponds vs that of large lakes is flawed. Everyone knows that a smaller body of water can be harvest of fish faster than larger bodies of water. The fish will disperse in a larger lake, where they are more confined in a smaller pond. However, have you considered:

1. Trout will last longer in a larger body of water than a smaller pond with less volume. True?
2. More frequent trout stocking is necessary for smaller bodies of water than larger. True?
3. The size of a fish in a larger body of water will allow a fish to grow in size more than the smaller volume of water. True ?
4. Lake Hopatcong has more natural bait for trout to eat than small ponds. The trout have a better chance of survival and growing when they eat better. True ?
5. Most of the fish stocked and tagged in Lake Hopatcong during the the Fish studies were brook trout. Brook trout do better in rivers, than large lakes. Browns would have been the trout to have stocked in Lake Hopatcong for a study. If you doubt this just look at the records kept by the Knee Deep Club, or those bait& tackle shops who keep records about Lake Hopatcong.
6. The entire reason of shuffling trout that would have been stocked in Lake Hopatcong to smaller bodies of water is because your people feel that this will excite more people to buy licenses and stamps. Guess what? Your wrong. What will happen is you will lose stamps from those people who now fish Lake Hopatcong.
7. Ask this question. If you had a choice to go fishing for trout where would you pick? (a). A muddy Little pond where you fish in two or three feet of water. (b) A small lake where you can't use a boat and have to fish from shore with a bobber. (c)A large lake where you can drift around in a boat and fish anywhere.
8. Also, have you considered that more people from your department will be needed to stock more areas. Don't forget, Lake Hopatcong's Knee Deep Club have helped the Fish and Game by stocking trout for you. Please consider my objection to the Fish and Game year 2006 proposal.

I wrote the F&W division and protested their proposal to eliminate trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong.
My husband and I purchase our fishing licenses and trout stamps and fish the lake every year. We recently bought a boat and fish year round (except for ice fishing). We would like to see the F&W stock more trout.
I must admit that catching a trout has become somewhat of a rarity lately, and we fish morning/evening, sunny, rainy weather and all over the lake using herring. The fish we have been catching have been mostly perch, stripers, catfish, bass, walleyes and an occasional trout.
We are members of Knee Deep Club. We love fishing on the lake and will continue to do so and we will support the Knee Deep Club in their efforts.

Keep up the good work.

      I am opposed to the Divisions plan to no longer stock Lake Hopatcong with Trout. I have been Trout fishing since my early teens; at age sixty-three I can no longer negotiate streambeds. I have fished Lake Hopatcong every spring from a boat for the last twenty years. This past year I fished Lake Hopatcong for trout at least thirty times and have always caught Trout. There is no other body of water nearby where I can launch my boat to fish for Trout. If Lake Hopatcong is removed from the bodies of water that receive State Stocked Trout I will no longer purchase a Trout Stamp. I am asking you to please continue to stock Trout at Lake Hopatcong.

I am writing in regards to the Division's proposal to eliminate the 2006 trout stocking program in Lake Hopatcong.

The Division is making a monumental mistake in considering this proposal even though I'm sure they have the best interests of the NJ Trout Fisherman at heart. I think part of the problem is that they really don't understand the dynamics of a lake community or why some fisherman choose to fish for Trout exclusively in larger lakes.

Many years ago I gave up Trout fishing (in streams) all together. Fishing for Trout in a river, stream or small pond, shoulder to shoulder with 20 other guys was not my idea of fishing. If you've ever been out on opening day you know what I'm talking about. I'm sure when you see 20 guys fishing in a small pool next to the road, you feel that the Division has done its job, and to some extend maybe they have.

What you don't see from the road on opening day is the hundreds of anglers fishing from the shoreline, docks and boats on Lake Hopatcong. Fishing for Trout from a boat in a large lake is an entirely different aspect of the sport. There are no crowds; you're not crossing lines with the angler next to you and you're CATCHING FISH!!!! LOTS OF FISH!!!!

It's not right that you take this away from us. I live 45 minutes away from Lake Hopatcong and travel there every weekend in the spring to fish for trout. This past season I even took a week of vacation to spend time on the water. If I wanted to fish in a in a crowded stream, I could have done that closer to home and saved a lot of gas. If the Division stops stocking Trout in Lake Hopatcong, I can honestly say that I will have no reason to ever purchase a trout stamp again.

The Division reports that license fees and trout stamp revenue has decreased every year for the past several years. I can't believe that you think the decline is because anglers don't have enough stocked waters or because they're not catching enough fish. Don't take Trout away from an established fishery, devastating a local economy in the process, to put a few more fish in the rivers or urban ponds. If you want to revitalize the sport and increase revenue, you should be putting more Trout and bigger Trout in the State's largest lake, not taking them away.

There will many more concerned anglers that will be contacting you to dispute your methodology and your studies which base this decision. Do the right thing now and withdraw this proposal. The thousands of lake residents, trout anglers and businesses that rely on the Trout stocking program will thank you.

I trust that you or someone on your behalf will respond to this letter.

I am writing to express my concern and opposition to the proposed elimination of trout stocking at Lake Hopatcong. This lake by far serves more anglers, nature lovers, and recreational seekers than all of the other lake options here in New Jersey. Please reconsider the impact of this choice and convince the decision makers to continue to promote the natural northern attractions of the state, in concert with and support of the highlands initiative.

I oppose the plan to not stock Trout in Lk. Hopatcong. I am a lakefront resident and totally use the Lake. I also support the trout program, if you choose not to stock we will not purchase licence's or stamps. As you know the Lake has 52 miles of shoreline and every 50 or 100 feet is a resident like I........................... Do the math.

We hope you will reconsider.

I would like to voice a strong dissent to the F & W Department's decision against stocking trout in Lake Hopatcong. I was born and raised in New Jersey and have spent many enjoyable hours and days swimming and fishing in Lake Hopatcong. Even though I now reside in Texas, I still have relatives in New Jersey and visit often. The highlight of many of my visits is trout fishing with my cousin on Lake Hopatcong.

I hope the NJ F & W Department reconsiders their dedcision and will continue stocking trout in Lake Hopatcong.

I am writing you from Florida. I have fished with my Uncle all over New Jersey since I was 8 years old. I am now 44, and while I live in Florida, I visit my uncle & Aunt regularly. My Uncle is now doing for my children what he did for me when I was younger. Exposing them to the awesome sport of fishing. This summer two of my three children, ages 12 and 15, fished all over Lake Hopatcong. They had a blast, and are still talking about it. I have many fantastic memories of fishing with my Uncle. I believe that not stocking Lake Hapatcong will slowly bring an end Trout fishing in the Lake. I would strongly recommend you reconsider your position on this.

I was sorry to hear you are no longer stocking trout in Lake Hapatcong. For the last 15 years I vacation at the lake for one main reason i.e. for trout fishing season. I suggest you reconsider this matter for not only avid fisherman like myself but also the negative economic impact your decision will have on the area.

I just E-Mailed a letter to the state. I asked them to give the opportunity to anglers young & old to catch Trout in N.J.'s premier lake.

One of my favorite fish to catch in Lk. Hopatcong is Trout. It is a great lake to hold these fish. I would hope to believe that the state of NJ would continue to stock the lake so that people like myself can fish for them and enjoy the sport of fishing. I hope this letter and other letters like this one helps to build a case to KEEP STOCKING LAKE HOPATCONG WITH TROUT.

I must voice my displeasure with your Office after hearing about the proposed action of not stocking Lake Hopatcong. I am deeply saddened by this news. At age 51, I cannot tell you how many years of joy and satisfaction I have received from the activities of fishing every year on that Lake. My son, now serving our Country in the US Army, would look forward to our trips from the City to the Lake as often as possible. It was the way MY father raised me! It has become a family tradition and something more valuable than money. We bonded and nurtured family values while at that Lake. I would not be surprised that many other father-son or parent-child relationships could be affected negatively by the proposed actions Fish & Wildlife have for Lake Hopatcong. This is wrong. I’m sure residents are up in arms. I am, too. Don’t do this to such a beautiful, historic area.

This is to inform you that as a citizen in the Lake Hopatcong area, I am opposed to the proposal to eliminate the stocking of trout in Lake Hopatcong. Trout fishing is a wonderful past time for the young and old in the area. It is time the state realized what a treasure it has in Lake Hopatcong and began to show some support. I would appreciate all you can do to see that the stocking of trout in Lake Hopatcong continues in the future.
Thank you for your attention.

Please use your influence to see that the state doesn’t discontinue trout stocking at Lake Hopatcong. I enjoy trolling them up every Spring. But do it smartly – stock only browns – since they have some chance, however remote – of surviving as holdovers. Send the brooks and rainbows to the urban city parks where any trout is surely given a death sentence anyway. Stock browns in the Fall as well, to give them more time to grow and assimilate to the lake before the August doldrums of the following year. The Knee Deep Club has been stocking that way for several years and some holdovers do survive, but it’s a numbers game. Keep giving the Lake its old allotment entirely with browns and what doesn’t get caught will at least have a fighting chance. Even if none survive – what difference does that make? A lot of people fish for them here. A lot more than fish for trout in a place like some park in Newark!

I’m from Pennsylvania but lived in NJ my whole life, spending summers at the lake in the 60’s and 70’s. I lived on Prospect Point from ’85 to ’98. Lake Hopatcong is the only body of water in NJ that I still fish. I make regular trips down there as do many of my friends from the old bungalow neighborhood in Hopatcong Hills. We still get together at the lake every year – to fish. If you don’t put in trout, we’ll have no reason to buy your overpriced non-resident trout stamps either. Our money is just as good as money from inner city minorities – probably better because less of us cheat and fish without a license – so why shouldn’t we get trout too? As it is the lake still gets way less fish per surface acre than almost any other lake in the state, while getting way more angling pressure than most lakes. If anything, given the state’s opinion that none survive here (highly debatable) versus the fact that absolutely none survive in shallow urban park ponds, we should get more trout, not less!!

I understand the Division of Fish and Wildlife have proposed a new freshwater fishery program which will completely eliminate trout stocking in 2006 for Lake Hopatcong. As a homeowner on Lake Hopatcong, I am strongly opposed to this detrimental plan which will have a negative impact on our Lake’s exceptional fishery. My reasons are as follows:

- Trout season revitalizes the Lake Hopatcong business communities in April and May. If businesses have to wait for the pleasure boaters to come back to the Lake, this doesn’t occur until late May/early June when the weather warms up more. This could cause an unnecessary hardship on many businesses which of course would have a reciprocal effect on residents and businesses outside of Lake Hopatcong.

- Fish and Wildlife has absolutely no evidence that by decreasing the amount of trout stocked in Lake Hopatcong and increasing the trout stockings in other smaller lakes and streams will stimulate the sale of fishing licenses and trout stamps to increase revenues. As an alternate, during fish stockings in 2005, perhaps the Division should increase its community outreach efforts to educate the State’s citizens about fish stockings to see if this will generate increased interest in fishing within our State. Why not try a positive approach first to increase fishing license sales before penalizing Lake Hopatcong.

A few years ago, my husband and I joined the Knee Deep Club (KDC). When I asked him why we should join the club, he told me how most of the clubs funds go towards stocking fish in the lake. That’s the same reason we buy trout stamps each year with our fishing licenses, because that money goes towards fish stocking for Lake Hopatcong. So although we catch and release all our fish from the Lake, we contribute to the KDC and buy our trout stamps because in a very small way it contributes to improving Lake Hopatcong’s fishery. Your proposal to completely eliminate trout stocking is doing the exact opposite.

To reiterate, I am strongly opposed to NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife’s plan to eliminate trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong beginning in 2006 and respectfully request that this proposed plan for Lake Hopatcong be rescinded effective immediately.

I am writing to you today to let you know I am opposed to the Potential Change # 2 of the “Cold Water Fisheries Management Plan” which would totally eliminate the stocking of any trout into Lake Hopatcong by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

I am one of four daughters of a fisherman - who grew up fishing at Lake Hopatcong and other Lakes in NJ that had been stocked. I have many fond childhood memories from fishing, such as: catching my first fish of the year....or catching a larger fish then my sister - so I got to win a prize... or getting up at 4 am just to be the first ones out on the lake, my Dad would bring a mug of coffee and I would get to bring Hot Chocolate.

Now that I am older and thinking of starting my own family - I dream of days where my child's Grandfather can take him out on "the Lake" to fish.

I am asking you to reconsider this change in the Management plan - keeping in mind the many people who have enjoyed the stocked lakes for many years - and will continue to enjoy them for years to come.

Thank you for your time.

Just wondering why everything is being done to kill Lake Hopatcong from lack of funding for the Lake Hopatcong commission to the lack of support for the people and business's of the surrounding area. Now it seems we are taking the recreational aspects out of the Lake by eliminating the stocking of fish. What next, fill in the lake and build condo's. Please reconsider the Lake as a truly a great part of the State of New Jersey and not a political football.

As a former resident of New Jersey, I enjoyed growing up fishing and hunting throughout the “Garden State”.

As an adult, I frequently travel back to New Jersey and look forward to trout fishing in Lake Hopatcong with my friends who still reside in New Jersey.

Accordingly, I would like to express my opposition to the proposed cessation of stocking trout in Lake Hopatcong by the department of Fish & Game. The presence of a trout sport fishery in Lake Hopatcong supports a diversity of both cold and warm water species that offers a strong attraction as a true destination fishery through out the year.

I have just learned about the proposal to eliminate the stocking of trout in Lake Hopatcong and am very disappointed, as a long time New Jersey sportsman, that a decision like this would even be considered.

I have enjoyed fishing in the lake for over 40 years. Myself and my children have spent countless hours enjoying the recreational value of this lake on a year round basis. This is an unequaled resource available to sportsman as the land surrounding us is being converted to buildings and blacktop on a daily basis.

I urge you to reconsider this proposal.

I am writing to you today to let you know I am opposed to the Potential Change # 2 of the “Cold Water Fisheries Management Plan” which would eliminate the stocking of any trout into Lake Hopatcong by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Lakes such as Lake Hopatcong are true assets to the state of New Jersey. By not continuing to stock the lake, you will lose one of your precious assets. Many sportsmen find that Lake Hopatcong is one of the top fishing spots in the northeast and travel from great distance to fish on the lake. By eliminating the stocking of any trout into the lake, you will decrease the revenue that is brought into the area by these sportsmen.

Please reconsider the change in the management plan for Lake Hopatcong. You are affecting many people’s lives and livelihoods.

I am writing to you as a concerned parent and citizen of New Jersey. I was recently made aware of the "Potential Change #2" of the "Cold Water Fisheries Management Plan" and am very upset by it. So much work has gone into making Lake Hopatcong a better place, and now to stop stocking it would be a complete reversal on efforts to finally take care of our natural resources. So many children as well as adults enjoy fishing there, as well as businesses that rely on the tourists, that to stop stocking it would be detrimental to all! Isn't our economy suffering enough?! Society as a whole complains about today's kids sitting in front of a TV/video screen too much, this would only take away another outdoor resource for our children. Please rethink this issue!

My husband and I fish all year round on the Lake, except ice fishing, and we buy our fishing license and trout stamps every year. We are members of the Knee Deep Club and support their efforts in anything to do with lake. We enjoy fishing on the lake and recently bought a boat. We specifically fish for trout, other fish we catch and release. It's the trout we mainly fish for. So if you eliminate stocking trout, we will not buy trout stamps.

Again, please do not eliminate the trout stocking program.

Thank you for your time and concern.

It has come to my attention that the Division of Fish & Game is recommending that no trout be stocked by the state in Lake Hopatcong. I am a resident of Lake Hopatcong and am very disturbed by this decision.

Back in 1998, it was fully demonstrated that Lake Hopatcong supported a viable trout fishery through July and many trout hold over and grow to trophy size. Additionally, as you know many of the surrounding towns have spent millions in the elimination of septic tanks and have proceeded with massive sewer projects. If I’m not mistaken, over $100 million has been spent locally on various water initiatives in little over 10 years. I’m very confused as to the reason for this decision. If it have been demonstrated that trout hold over, and it is not a water quality issue, why the decision? Is this strictly a revenue issue based on trout stamps sold locally in the community? Would this decision improve the states revenue by stocking the trout in other remote non-accessible bodies of water? I would like some clarification as to why this decision was made.

On a personal note, I have a home on Lake Hopatcong to escape the hustle and bustle of my daily business life in New York City. An area such as Lake Hopatcong is an ideal place to fish, swim, and relax with family. Those of us whom are aware of this decision in the community do not understand, nor support the decision of the Division of Fish and Game.

I am formally requesting that the recommendation to eliminate the trout stocking be revisited immediately. It is grossly unfair to eliminate the trout stocking in Lake Hopatcong and expect our local community and clubs to financially shoulder the burden of trout stocking, as it is a New Jersey public lake with many New Jersey residents from across the state coming to fish throughout the year.

Missing license fees, elimination of Lake Hopatcong trout stocking and the bear hunt fiasco.

I see a common thread which, if left unchecked, will totally alienate the Sportsmen of this State who (in case someone forgot) are your bread and butter. Someone at Fish & Game better put on their helmet, tighten their chin strap and get back in the game before what was once a respectable steward of our State's wildlife becomes unrecognizable. And, by the way, I realize that it is not "Fish and Game" anymore; however, in this instance I'll admit that I'm not politically correct.

Look at the big picture!!!

I am writing you to let you know that we are opposed to the Potential Change #2 of the "Cold Water Fisheries Management Plan" which would totally eliminate the stocking of any trout into Lake Hopatcong.

Looking back at how lucky I was to spend my Saturdays with my father, on the lake with my sisters, sometimes before the sun even came up! We would go fishing yeah, but dad always would make it more interesting for us, who caught the biggest, the first, a trout, (as opposed to a sunny, perch, etc.). He would teach us what the different fish would go after for bait, what they looked like, so not only was it a GREAT time with Dad, but it was very educational too.

Now I have my own children, we come to Lake Hopatcong to go fishing with Grandpa, and I really want for them, what I had growing up! There are so few things children do now a days that does not include computers, TV's, and hand held games. I would be trying to find ways to promote fishing, rather then discouraging it, especially with the children.

It is true that you could throw a line in and pull out a fish, but when you are trying to catch a specific type, especially trout, it makes it that much more rewarding when you reel one in!

Please reconsider your view on this; it could be the difference in a lot of children’s memories.

Thank you for your time

New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong in my opinion is the best all year Trout waters in the state. My family, friends and I, look forward to going to the Lake every spring on opening trout day. Please do not stop the stocking of Trout on the Lake. The biggest Lake in New Jersey should be honored with this annual tradition, we all look forward to. Not just myself, but other fisherman, local economy, the ecosystem. The Trout that are stocked in our lake are part of our everyday lives for human and wildlife alike. Keep the population healthy. Where else can you catch a trout in the middle of summer? I caught a Brown Trout, weighing 5lbs on the 4th of July 2003. 2004 I caught trout from 2003 batch. They were healthy. I enjoyed catching and releasing them. Release for others to enjoy. That's one of the reasons why I come back to the lake in the spring. I'm just an individual, but I ask this question. Why do you want to stop the stocking of Trout on Lake Hopatcong? Why do you want to hurt the local economy that benefit from the lake's healthy Trout population. Not just Trout, because Lake Hopactong is known to hold healthy, viable population of other species. Still I see no reason as to why this course of action is to be taken. Lake Hopactong is known through out many publications to hold Trout. Everytime I pick up a Fisherman Paperback or see the Lake being featured in North American Fishing Club Magazine, it gives me goose bumps. Other fisherman read the same publications and they flock to the lake.

That's why to take this away is a crime. AN OUTRAGE!!! You are going to steal the money the joy and maybe the lively hood of some, for WHAT???!!!

Please reconsider your proposal to stop stocking trout in Lake Hopatcong. I am a lifelong NJ resident and I've fished all my life in Lake Hopatcong. First with my father, then with my kids as they were growing up. Now I am looking forward to doing the same with my grandkids, but your plans to stop stocking will ruin this family tradition.

There is nothing like the face of a kid when he/she pulls their first big trout over the gunwales. Lake Hopatcong is the only place where I can reasonably do that now, please don't take it away.

If the price of a trout stamp has to go up to keep stocking here that's OK with me.

I attended the Round Valley Trout Association meeting last week.
I felt that Tim Clancy's arguments for continued stocking at Lake Hopatcong were very compelling.
As for my own thoughts, I consider Lake Hopatcong unique. There are no trout alternatives for myself - A troller / drifter with a 25 HP engine.
Lake Hopatcong should not be lumped in with those other lakes.
If you were with me, last spring on a stocking day, by the State Park, and saw the shore activity, you wouldn't believe the 3 to 4% catch rate either.
There was also significant boat activity there and at Lee's Park.

Once again I am writing you regarding the 5 proposed changes to the “Cold Water Fisheries Management Plan.” As you already know, I am in favor of proposals numbered 1, 3, 4 & 5 and I am strongly opposed to proposal number 2. Although my primary interests and concerns are related specifically to Lake Hopatcong I am also opposed to the total elimination of stocking trout in the other 6 water bodies as well.

I still have some concerns relating to the “Trout Tagging Study” conducted at Lake Hopatcong. As you know the KDC finally received the results of the KDC tag returns just prior to the meeting we had on January 5, 2005. I noticed in the results of the study, that in 1999 the percentage of KDC tags returned was 16.6% as compared to the Division’s tags returned during the same time period of only 4.5%. The simple fact that the percentage of the Knee Deep Club’s tag returns were more than 3 times greater than the percentage of the Division’s tag returns should raise some concerns. I am also curious to know why the results of the Knee Deep Club’s tag returns have been seemingly withheld from the public. It is very disturbing to me and other KDC members when we read newspaper articles and visit fishing forums and only see quotes of tag returns ranging from 3% to 3.7% being reported. As I explained in my previous letter, we were never told that this “Trout Tagging Study” would ever be used to determine “Catch-Rates”.

If some one were to ask, what is considered to be the best large body of water in New Jersey to fish for trout? I think we would all agree that body of water would be Round Valley Reservoir. I noticed in figure 6 of “Potential Change #2” that a tagging study was conducted at Round Valley in 1981 which resulted in an 18.1% return and again in 1982 which resulted in a 14.3% return. Suddenly, the KDC tag returns of 16.6% in 1999 do not look that drastically bad. I also noticed that the “Hook-A-Winner Program” last year (2004) only netted a return of 16.3% after being heavily promoted for 6 years. Due to the unique characteristics of Lake Hopatcong, I also believe a creel survey to determine accurate catch-rates of trout from Lake Hopatcong would be both labor and cost prohibitive.

Hello, I'm a Newark resident. I've been fishing since I can remember, I always get my trout stamp so that I can be able to legalIy fish for trout, I do fish Lake Hopatcong on a regular basis in addition to our other lakes such as West Milford's Newark Watershed and of course Branch Brook Park..

I think it would be a shame if no trout were stocked in Lake Hopatcong, I would have to find another lake for me and my family to fish. If you stop stocking you will be doing a disservice for those of us that buy our trout stamp yearly.

I asked you to please continue stocking Lake Hopatcong.