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Trophy Trout Fishing at Round Valley Reservoir

by Shawn Crouse, Principal Fisheries Biologist and
Paul Tarlowe, Wildlife Information Specialist
July, 2010

State Record Lake Trout Patrolling the Depths of Round Valley Reservoir - Video Feature, November 2010

In the heat of summer, trout anglers focus largely on waters where trout hold over, like the state's Trout Conservation Areas, Holdover Trout Lakes and Trophy Trout Lakes. The special regulations for these waters include, among others, a larger minimum size than the 9" limit in effect on all but two waters during the spring stocking season.

The two waters with a larger minimum size all year are the state's Trophy Trout Lakes: Merril Creek and Round Valley reservoirs. These waters have a 15" minimum all year (as well as catch-and-release-only periods on both waters and slot restrictions for Round Valley).

So if fishing for a true trophy-sized trout is what you've got in mind, these waters may be what you're looking for. Trout in these large, cold, and deep waters survive for many years and have the habitat, water quality, and food supply to grow to truly monsterous proportions, while their stream dwelling counteroparts rarely exceed 18 inches. In the summer you'll need to fish deep, from a boat, as the warm surface waters force the big trout down to the cooler waters below.

Round Valley Reservoir in particular consistently produces big rainbows and browns - in fact, the current state record brown trout was caught there in 1995. The reservoir has also produced the state record lake trout, a a 32 pound, 8 ounce beauty that measured more than 41 inches.

But larger lakers prowl the deep waters of Round Valley. On November 18, 2009, Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries biologists netted the largest lake trout ever captured in the state. Weighing in at 32 pounds, 11 ounces, this female laker surpassed the current state record by 3 ounces and was taken during their annual gillnetting surveys, used to monitor the lake trout population. The massive lake trout was returned to the reservoir alive and well.

Largest Lake Trout ever captured
Biologist Ross Shramko displaying 32 pound, 11 ounce lake trout
Click to enlarge

Of course, most successful anglers catch many small fish (less than 20 inches or 3 pounds) and very few larger ones. This should not discourage anglers from trying their luck at catching big fish however, as more than 30 lake trout weighed in at over 3 pounds during the same gillnetting operation, including six fish weighing in at 22, 21, 19, 16, 16, and 15 pounds.

Anglers should remember the regulations on lake trout at Round Valley vary by season. Please check the latest Freshwater Fishing Issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest for rules and regulations.

Additional links for articles previously written about Round Valley Reservoir include:

Spotlight on Round Valley Reservoir

Lunker Lakers Lurk Below

Round Valley Rainbows Get Anglers Off To An Early Start

Also visit the Round Valley Trout Association website:

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Last Updated: November 30, 2010