New Jersey Fishing Article
Greenwood Lake is located in both New Jersey and New York. There are several launching ramps throughout the lake located in both states. The ramps are well maintained, and can accommodate both large and small boats. In the southern end of the lake, at South Shore Marina, there are a couple ramps, and there are others, all the way to the upper end at Olde Point Marina in New York. Many of the marinas are full service, with restroom facilities, gas, picnic areas, and lodging. When you get about half way up the lake, at Happy Landing Marina, that is where the New York portion starts, in the Sterling Forest area. This is one of New Jersey's larger lakes at 1,920 acres, and it has a maximum depth of 57 feet at full pool.
Profile of Greenwood Lake
Greenwood Lake is a natural lake, located mostly in the state of New York. Belcher Creek is the main tributary.
In the winter, draw downs lower the water in Greenwood about 2 to 5 feet. The water is Eutropic, with frequent algae blooms in the summer. Visibility is from about 3-6 feet, but sometimes it becomes cloudy after it rains, especially near the shore. In the summer there is a thermocline at about 20 feet. Most of the original lake bed, and the South flat, have muck and silt, but the rest of the lake has a hard bottom, that is mostly boulders and rocks, and the rest is sand and gravel. There are a lot of submerged points and humps throughout the lake. The lake has steep hills, and small wetlands are in the South and north ends. Most of the shoreline is privately owned, and has a lot of houses and marinas.
The main species are largemouth bass, Muskies, and smallmouth bass. There are other species also, such as Chain Pickerel, Yellow Perch, Bluegills, and Walleye. There are also good populations of catfish. There is a lot of pressure at Greenwood, but catch and release fishing allows Greenwood to maintain a good population of Largemouth bass. It is rated among New Jersey's top 3 Largemouth bass waters.
Most of the bass average around 15 inches, but we have caught seven pounders on occasion. Smallmouth fishing is getting better, but the largemouth bass still outnumber them. Sometimes smallmouth in the 4 to 5 pound range are caught, and some nice Chain Pickerel are caught also. We generally use suspending jerk-baits, such as a Rapala, or a Rogue, in shad patterns, for the largemouth and Chain Pickerel early in the year. Muskies have been stocked also, and in early 1991, the state started stocking Tiger Muskies also. I don't generally fish for them myself, but friends and other anglers tell me that they are doing well. Greenwood is loaded with panfish, especially white perch, and they catch a lot in the 1-2 pound range. The main forage base is alewife, and panfish, along with Golden Shiners, and various minnows.
Best Times and Locations
The best times for Largemouth bass is in the spring, starting in April, or when the water reaches about 50 degrees. As soon as the water reaches about 53-55 degrees, the bass move to the shallows. The bays and coves are loaded with stumps and weeds, and they turn on first. We have had good luck in the past fishing the two channels at Greenwood Lake Village, and west of Fox Island. We start working the cover in these areas with lipless crankbaits, usually in shad patterns. The bass usually start spawning in early May, and it lasts until the middle of June. Floating Rapalas, soft Jerk-baits, and Senkos work the best. Although we have taken them on lizards and tubes also.
The bass in Greenwood like weed beds, but avoid the ones that have been treated, as they don't produce well. We stay on the outside edges in about 10-12 feet of water, and the areas around Storms Island and north of Fox Island, are the best. Another good location is the shallow beds west of Fox Island, and north of Chapel Island. We use a lot of topwater baits here in the summer, and have had the best results with Zara Spooks, Nip-A-Dee-Dees, and Terminator buzzbaits, at dawn and dusk. During the day, we like to use Senkos, or 4" worms, and cast them to the edges of the grass, and in pockets. Docks and piers hold bass all day long. Try skipping a Senko or worm as far back under the docks into the shaded areas as possible. The farther back the better.
If you are after smallmouth bass, concentrate on the deeper, rockier, New York portions of the lake. Smallmouth bass seem to like the combinations of weeds and rocks, especially on points. The 10-12 foot depths, on the drop-offs, where there is a gravel bottom work the best. We have caught some nice smallmouth at night also, by casting small topwater baits, such as Pop-R's. Early in the mornings, you will do well with a 1/2 ounce Rat-L-Trap in about 2-6 feet of water, where there is a gravel bottom.
You can get a lot of good information about Greenwood from the local tackle stores, and some have maps with GPS locations. Remember to practice Catch, Photo, and Release, and there will be great fishing in Greenwood for many years to come
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