South Jersey Bass Club Association
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(This page last updated:  9/18/2006)

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One of the purposes of the South Jersey Bass Club Association is to communicate fishing-related information to South Jersey's bass fishermen.  Some of this information is presented in the Latest News section of this website.  Specific questions and answers exchanged with representatives of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife are presented here.  This information is not necessarily intended to be the official opinion of the NJDFW; rather is it information provided to us on an informal basis (SJBCA meetings, e-mail, phone conversations, etc) by our friends in the Division.  If you have any questions you'd like to have answered by the NJDFW, e-mail them to the SJBCA.  We'll post the answers on this website.  The official website of the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife is at

Answers to Some Land Management Questions - 8/18/2006
Lee Widjeskog was asked a few questions about situations on this date.  He stated that the missing brown WMA sign at the entrance to Menantico Sand Ponds had been knocked down and would be replaced soon.  He also stated that Penbryn Pond had still not been turned over to Fish & Wildlife for them to manage.  Also, the ramp & parking lot construction at Lake Assunpink is now scheduled to begin on August 28, 2006.  Another Lake Audrey work party, to finish placing lime in the lake, was scheduled for August 20, 2006.

South Jersey Lake Facilities Update - 9/21/2005

At the SJBCA's September 2005 meeting, Lee Widjeskog provided updates on the facilities improvements at a few South Jersey lakes.  Click here to see a summary of those updates.

South Jersey Lake Facilities Update - 5/18/2005
At the SJBCA's May 2005 meeting, Lee Widjeskog provided updates on the facilities improvements at a variety of South Jersey lakes.  Click here to see a summary of those updates.

South Jersey Public Fisheries Forum - 2/26/2005
At the NJDFW public fisheries forum held at Salem County Sportsmen's Club in Carney's Point, a wide variety of issues were discussed, including those related to bass fishing, trout fishing and muskie fishing.  Click here to see the webmaster's notes on the issues discussed that may be of interest to bass fishermen:

South Jersey Lake Facilities Update - 2/3/2005
The webmaster of this site visited Lee Widjeskog at his office in Millville to talk about the status of several lakes.  The main topic of discussion was Lake Audrey WMA, the newly acquired lake immediately behind his office (off Buckshutem Road, near Mauricetown).  We toured the 120 acre lake and saw where proposed shoreline fishing areas will be and where the boat ramp will be located.  As the pH level in this lake is unsuitable for sustaining fish, the next step in the development of the lake is to treat it with a large quantity of lime.  The Cumberland County chapter of the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs is working on the submission of an application for a monetary grant from the Cumberland County Improvment Authority to pay for the lime and possibly some fish structure materials.  If the submission and its approval go as planned, the grant approval should be received by August, 2005, and the lime application should begin very soon after that.  At some point in the development, Lee will be looking for  fishermen to volunteer to help with the placing of fish habitat structures.  After that, the stocking of fish can take place.  More info to come on this lake (including the posting of an aerial photograph of the lake!).

As usual, the State continues to work on acquiring ponds from various individuals and companies.  Two of these proposed acquisitions are adjacent ponds of 141 and 67 acres located along Turkey Point Road off of Rt 553, south of Newport in Cumberland County.  Hopefully we'll hear more about these (and others) in the coming year.

DOD Lake WMA is currently closed.  Lee explained that this was due to the collapse of a large drainage pipe under the entrance road off of Rt 130.  Their plan is to reroute the entrance road approximately 100 feet to the north and open the facility back up again.  He expects this project to be completed by the end of March (hopefully, it'll be more like mid-March).  He also confirmed that there was no damage to DOD Lake from the large Delaware River oil spill in late 2004, although there is oil residue along the banks of the Delaware River very near DOD.

The status of the new boat ramp and parking area for Salem Canal along Rt 540 hasn't changed much.  The State is still negotiating with Dupont over what land the State will have access to and who will be paying for the construction of the launch ramp facility.  This project can't happen soon enough for fishermen who make use of the dangerous launch facility on Rt 40.

Anyone who fishes the lower end of Union Lake WMA probably noticed that most of the barrels warning boaters about the dam area have been missing for several years.  Lee said that they expect to have them re-placed this spring.

I asked Lee about a project that was proposed a while back to connect the main ponds at Menantico Sand Ponds WMA with the other smaller ponds on the other side of the entrance road (requiring that the entrance road be rerouted).  Lee said that that proposal was still active and in the planning stages (apparently Ducks Unlimited is involved with the funding for the project).

I also asked Lee about two other items.  One is the poor condition of the ramp at East Creek Pond, which is a State Parks managed property (as opposed to NJDFW).  He said he would try to contact someone about looking into it.  The other is the lack of a public boat ramp at Elmer Lake WMA.  I suggested dredging a channel from the State owned property near Rt 40 out to the deeper water.  He said they could look into doing that, but wasn't sure if it could be done at this time given the cost of such a project.

South Jersey Lake Facilities, Quick Update - 10/13/2004

Lee Widjeskog stated in a phone conversation that Dupont (which owns the water access) has agreed to build a new boat ramp on the Salem Canal.  The State owns property on Rt 540 near the bridge over the canal and that's where the ramp and a 20-25 space parking lot will be built.  At that time the (dangerous) ramp area on Rt 40 will likely be closed.  Lee said the expected timeframe for this project is about a year from this writing (a lot dependent on studies that ned to be conducted).  He also stated that the project to build a new dam at Rainbow Lake is probably another four years away.  After the NJDOT finishes its current project of rebuilding the dam at Malaga Lake, they will likely begin a project to rebuild the Landis Avenue bridge over the Maurice River in Vineland.  Another project, with an earlier action date than the others, is the preparation of a lake the State acquired off of Buckshutem Road near the Mauricetown bridge (Millville area).  Hopefully an effort will soon be undertaken to improve the water quality (ph level) at this 125 acre lake so that it can properly support a fish population.

Sign at Clark's Pond - 8/25/04
Chris Smith of the NJDFW was asked about a new sign that was posted at the ramp at Clark's Pond WMA in Fairton that says "no mounted gas motors".  He checked with Lee Widjeskog who stated "The sign was not put up by us.  We have no regulations like that."  Apparently, although it looks official, the sign was put up by a local homeowner.

South Jersey Fisheries Management Update - 2/18/2004
NJDFW biologist Chris Smith attended the February SJBCA meeting and discussed the following topics:
1.  A public fisheries forum is scheduled for Sunday, March 14 at Rowan University in Glassboro.  Chris would like to see good representation from South Jersey Bass fishermen.
2.  Artificial habitat projects are planned for this year at Rainbow Lake, DOD Lake and Shaws Mill Pond.  Maps of the locations of all artificial habitat structures placed in South Jersey lakes are available from the NJDFW.
3.  A lake survey (electro-shocking) was performed recently at Mary Elmer Lake in Bridgeton.  The results showed one of the highest fish-per-hour rates they ever recorded, indicating a very healthy fish population.
4.  A dam reconstruction project at Shaws Mill Pond is scheduled for this fall.  This project could involve the draining of the lake.  More details will be available at a later date.

South Jersey Lake Facilities, Quick Update - 6/26/2003
Lee Widjeskog stated in a phone conversation that some minor improvements were made to the ramps at Rainbow Lake and Elmer Lake.  Equipment was brought in increase the water depth at the bottoms of the ramps.  In the case of Rainbow, gravel was added to the lower end of the ramp (below the concrete slab).  In the case of Elmer, there is gravel at the top of the ramp.  Boaters launching at Elmer (at the State property on the Rt 40 side) should now be able to launch a small boat off a trailer and maneuver through the large shallow flats to the deeper portions of the lake.

South Jersey Lake Facilities Update - 5/21/2003
At the SJBCA's May 2003 meeting, Lee Widjeskog provided updates on the facilities improvements at a variety of South Jersey lakes.  Click here to see a summary of those updates.

South Jersey Lake Facilities, Quick Update - 3/26/2003
Lee Widjeskog stated in a phone conversation that the State is still in discussions with the owner of Silver Lake in the Bridgeton area about the State assuming maintenance responsibility for the lake's dam.  If a deal can be finalized, better public access would likely be provided for boat fishermen.  Lee also stated that portable toilets have been placed at Rainbow Lake, Harrisonville Lake and the river access area at DOD Lake.  It is possible that a new "temporary" steel spillway will be installed at Rainbow Lake.  This would allow easier control of the lake water level until a completely new dam can be constructed.  Lee is providing some assistance in our efforts to regain public boating access to Malaga Lake.  He plans to attend our May 21, 2003 meeting.

Winter Kill Info Provided - 2/26/2003
Chris Smith provided the following information and request about "winter kill".
Fish kills occur for a variety of reasons (lack of oxygen and chemical being two of the most common).  During winter when the lakes freeze a number of things occur.  When the lake becomes ice covered this is not a real problem.  However, after the lake is ice and snow covered, there is not enough light penetration to allow the plants in the lake to photosynthesize.  This reduction in photosynthesis does two things. There is a reduction in oxygen production and an increase in carbon dioxide.  Oxygen levels will go down and eventually there is a fish kill.  This usually happens when lakes are covered for an extended period of time.  Shallow lakes with little flow are more likely to have this occur.  I just wanted to bring this to people's attention, so if they see dead fish at a lake after ice out (that is when you will see the dead fish) I would like to know which lakes it has occurred at.  There is really no way of preventing it, (unless you plow the snow off the lake, which is not suggested.  We don't believe it will happen on any of the Maurice River Drainage Lakes because of the very good water velocity which keeps the water column well oxygenated.

South Jersey Lake Facilities Update - 9/18/2002
At the SJBCA's September 2002 meeting, Lee Widjeskog provided updates on the facilities improvements at a variety of South Jersey lakes and rivers.  Click here to see a summary of those updates.

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