Aliens at Union Lake?
by Chris Smith
Assistant Biologist, Freshwater Fisheries
Aliens have landed at Union Lake...well not really, but curious neighbors peer
out their windows at night as Bureau
of Freshwater Fisheries biologists electrofish the perimeter of the lake.
What appears to be a UFO is actually a electrofishing boat operated by Fisheries
Biologist Chris Smith and seasonal employee Ginger Young.
the smallmouth bass population is only one goal of the bureau's sampling efforts.
In addition to evaluating the developing smallmouth bass fishery we will scrutinize
the largemouth bass fishery.
where fish are temporarily stunned with a mild electrical current and then netted,
is an efficient sampling method to collect the data necessary to evaluate the
status of Union Lake’s fishery. A fisheries management plan will be prepared upon
completion of field sampling, which will conclude in fall 2005.
Lake is located in Millville, Cumberland County, and the state's largest Wildlife
Management Area lake at 898 acres. The Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries last
inventoried Union Lake in 1995, at which time recommendations were made to stock
smallmouth bass. Since then the Division of Fish and Wildlife has initiated an
intensive stocking effort to establish smallmouth bass in Union Lake. South Jersey
has limited smallmouth bass habitat and the developing smallmouth bass fishery
is a treat for anglers.
with largemouth bass
Click to enlarge
if you hear of lights moving on Union Lake, or of large fish being caught, chances
are it isn't the presence of aliens or fanciful stories, it's your fishing license
dollars at work. Get out to Union Lake and see what the excitement is really about!
Union Lake smallmouth bass
Click to enlarge
The site of many bass fishing tournaments, Union Lake is intensively
utilized by anglers almost 365 days a year. It supports a diverse fishery which
provides anglers in South Jersey opportunities not available anywhere else in
the area. Previous sampling efforts and angler fishing reports indicate excellent
populations of sunfish, yellow and white perch, black crappie, channel catfish
and the occasional striped bass. Yes, you read right! Union Lake has one of the
few land-locked populations of striped bass. On the night of June 6, 2005, a monster
42" striped bass was collected.
The lake management plan (available in fall, 2006) will allow the Bureau to
more effectively and efficiently manage the fisheries of Union Lake to provide
the best fishing opportunities possible for anglers.
Lake WMA Map (pdf, 520kb)