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Largemouth Bass

General Facts

NJ Bass Fishing Featured on Backwoods Angler TV

Largemouth bass are the most sought after freshwater fish nationwide. Popularized by numerous fishing shows and professional fishing organizations, the largemouth has gained a loyal following from bass fishing enthusiasts and beginning anglers alike. Historically, New Jersey does not have the reputation for producing world class trophies. However, our overlooked fisheries are some of the best around. The current New Jersey State Record largemouth is 10 lb. 14 oz., caught in Menantico Sand Pond (pdf, 370kb) in 1980. Recent reports indicate that anglers have come close to beating this long-standing record.

Where
New Jersey has a wide variety of excellent habitat for largemouth bass including deep clear lakes, shallow stained lakes, lakes with aquatic vegetation, tidal freshwater rivers, and small park ponds. Most likely there is a great bass lake very close to you. Lakes with excellent largemouth bass populations include Union Lake (pdf, 430kb), Assunpink Lake, Manasquan Reservoir, Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake, Monksville Reservoir, Delaware Lake (pdf, 500kb) and Splitrock Reservoir (pdf, 300kb).

When
Rising water temperatures in the early spring bring largemouth out of the deep wintering areas and onto the shallow flats of bays in close proximity to deep water. The metabolism of the fish is gradually increasing making them more likely to bite. Largemouth will remain in these areas throughout the spring and through early summer. Elevated surface water temperatures associated with mid-summer usually move fish slightly deeper in the lakes seeking cooler water temperatures. Bass will now be found relating to deeper aquatic vegetation, creek channels, and in some lakes under boat docks.

Dropping water temperatures in late September and October create another fabulous time of year. Bass begin to feed heavily in preparation for the upcoming winter. Fish will school heavily in the open areas of the lake chasing forage fish. Additionally, many fish will be found shallow actively feeding. Winter can be another great time to catch bass, either ice fishing or even if no ice is present.

How
The great thing about largemouth bass is that they are willing to bite a variety of baits and lures throughout the year. Early spring bass can be caught with reaction type bait such as lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits. When water temperatures rise to about 50 degrees, lures such as jigs and spinnerbaits are extremely effective. Mid to late spring bass can be caught with plastic worms, jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwater lures.

Summer bass can't pass up a plastic worm or a topwater lure such as a chugger or a buzzbait. Fall bass that are actively chasing forage fish will most likely hit a spinnerbait or crankbait. Winter bass require patience, so a slow moving jig or suspending jerkbait can be effective. Keep in mind that anglers do not have to limit themselves to artificial lures.

At times, especially during the cold winter months, live bait can be the difference between a day of fishing and a day of catching. A small minnow fished on a leadhead jig can produce great catches during the winter. Live shiners fished with a float during the spring and summer can produce some giants.

Focus on Fishing: Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Stocking Distribution Map

Largemouth Bass Stocking Summary, 2013 (pdf, 17kb)
Largemouth Bass Stocking Summary, 2012 (pdf, 14kb)
Largemouth Bass Stocking Summary, 2011 (pdf, 14kb)
Largemouth Bass Stocking Summary, 2010 (pdf, 11kb)
Largemouth Bass Stocking Summary, 2009 (pdf, 10kb)

Summertime Largemouth Bass Fishing in New Jersey is Heating Up!

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P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 29, 2014