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April 21, 1999

For more information contact:
Patricia Hamilton at 908-236-2118

The New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife in cooperation with the Knee Deep Club, is currently performing a fish tagging study in Lake Hopatcong, Morris County. The study will provide valuable information on the lake's trout fishery allowing the Division to better allocate its hatchery-reared fish.

Each of Lake Hopatcong's four Division spring trout stockings will consist of equal numbers of tagged brook, brown and rainbow trout. Numbered metal jaw tags will be affixed to 7,200 of the 10,560 trout slated for stocking. Each tag is imprinted with a number and mailing address. In addition, the Knee Deep Club has purchased 1,660 tagged trout from a private hatchery to be stocked in the lake.

Study results will include: harvest estimates; which stocking date, species and method of stocking (shore or float) provides the best returns; a comparison of catch by shore versus boat anglers; and the magnitude of the holdover trout fishery.

The current tagging study is the result of a 1995-96 Division survey that indicated the lake supported a diverse fish population. It was then recommended the lake be managed primarily for warmwater and coolwater species such as bass, pickerel, hybrid striped bass, walleye, channel catfish and muskies. Because suitable summer habitat was lacking, it was also recommended that the lake be managed as a seasonal (put-and-take) trout fishery. Since this management strategy would result in a reduction of trout stocked in Lake Hopatcong, it was decided to further evaluate the trout fishery through this current tagging study.

To encourage returns, all tags received will be entered into a Knee Deep Club sponsored lottery for assorted prizes at the end of the year. Anglers can submit tags at any one of six reporting stations around the lake or by mailing them to: Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, P.O. Box 394, Lebanon, NJ 08833. Tag reporting stations are located at Hopatcong State Park, Lake's End Marina (Landing), Lee's County Park Marina (Howard Blvd.), Dow's Boat Rental (Nolan's Point), Floraine, Inc. (Brady Rd.) and Sportmen's Cove (Woodport). Please include tag number, date caught, species, length to the nearest 1/4-inch, whether or not the fish was caught from shore or boat and the angler's name and address. If mailing, tags must be flattened.