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March 10, 2000

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

This spring, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife will continue its trout fishery evaluation of Lake Hopatcong through a trout tagging study.

The study, which began last year, is the offshoot of a 1995-96 Division survey that recommended the lake's current trout management strategy be modified to reflect a seasonal put-and-take fishery since suitable summer trout habitat (cold, well-oxygenated water) was lacking. The tagging study is being performed in an effort to gather as much information as possible on the existing trout fishery before implementing this new management strategy.

On four separate occasions, the Division will stock equal numbers of tagged brook, brown and rainbow trout totaling 7,200 fish. A numbered, metal tag will be affixed to the jaw of each fish. In addition, 2,400 state-reared trout will be tagged on their dorsal fins with a metal tag supplied by the Knee Deep Club. The Club also plans to purchase several thousand dorsally-tagged trout from a private hatchery, and stock them during the spring and fall. Because more than 90-percent of the trout stocked in the lake this year will be tagged, trout caught by anglers will almost certainly bear a tag.

Anglers are advised to only remove tags from trout that are kept. Division and Club tags may be turned in at any one of seven reporting stations around the lake. Tags may also be mailed to: NJDFW, P.O. Box 394, Lebanon, NJ 08833 (if mailed, the tag must be flattened). Include tag number, date caught, species, length to the nearest 1/4-inch, whether the fish was caught from shore or boat, and angler's name and address.

All anglers are urged to participate in the study. Last spring, the Division tagged and stocked 7,200 trout, but less than 300 of these tags (4-percent) were returned. To encourage returns, all tags received this year will again be entered into a Club-sponsored lottery for prizes. Last year, three lucky anglers were awarded fishing rods for their contribution to the study. Tag reporting stations are located at Hopatcong State Park (boat ramp), Lake's End Marina (Landing), Lee's County Park Marina (Howard Blvd.), Dow's Boat Rental (Nolan's Point), Floraine, Inc. (Brady Rd.), Tiny's Tavern (Brady bridge), and Buck-N-Bass (jct. of Weldon Rd. & Rt. 15).