South Jersey Bass Club Association

LAKE AUDREY PROJECT

(this page last updated:  4/7/2014)

Background:
Lake Audrey is a 120+ acre lake located between Millville and Mauricetown in Cumberland County (near the Mauricetown Bridge over the Maurice River).  It was acquired by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife in 2004.  The lake was not able to support fish life, due to an inadequate pH level and lack of fish holding structure.  A multi-phase project has been undertaken to modify the water quality, add fish habitat structures, create shoreline fishing areas, construct a boat ramp & parking area, and stock fish.  The SJBCA decided to participate in some of the improvements to the lake.  Volunteers who participate in SJBCA-sanctioned "work parties" at the lake earn a participation point towards an SJBCA fishing jacket for each time they show up and work.

In late 2005, early 2006, late 2007 and late 2008, volunteers from several SJBCA member clubs built & placed fish structures in the lake.  In total, they placed over 40 structures in the lake.  These particular structures were fabricated from wooden pallets and concrete blocks.  Several wreck boats were sunk in deeper portions of the lake to provide additional structure.  Volunteers also cleared brush to improve the makeshift ramp area (not in the same location as the permanent ramp will be).  At subsequent work parties (which included SJBCA members and others), 136 tons of lime were dispersed into the lake, in order to adjust the pH level.  The lime was purchased with a grant from the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, which was applied for by the Cumberland County chapter of the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.  A ph test taken during January 2007 found the level to be 7.7, suitable for fish stocking.  (Subsequent ph tests found the level to be remaining in the ideal range.)  Baitfish, fingerling smallmouth bass and a limited number of adult smallmouth bass were stocked in the lake during 2007 and 2008.  It appears that a successful smallmouth bass spawns took place during the springs of 2008 and 2009.  Smallmouth bass are the only game fish planned for the lake at this time.

On July 7, 2008, the State Fish & Game Council made a decision to officially close Lake Audrey to all fishing to "allow time for the lake's fishery to fully develop".  Click here to view the official notice.

On August 17, 2009, the State announced that it was proposing to open Lake Audrey for public fishing on January 1, 2010 [the actual opening day will be January 4], but institute a "catch & immediate release" status for the lake for the foreseeable future.  This new fish & game code will be in effect until at least 2012, effectively banning all tournaments until that year at the earliest.

A primitive ramp and parking area were created on the opposite side of the lake from the NJDFW office.  It is located at the end of a pre-existing dirt road off of the Mauricetown Causeway.  The parking lot was coated with crushed sea shells.

A Lake Audrey article from 2010 on the NJ Fish & Wildlife website...  njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2010/digfsh6-11.pdf
...and another http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/artlakeaudrey10.htm .

Click here to see photos taken at Lake Audrey on January 1, 2010.

The Cumberland County chapter of the NJ Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs received a grant from the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and purchased at floating dock for the ramp area.  This was installed 2011.

The updated Fish & Game Code of 2012 continued the ban on taking bass from the lake, so livewell bass tournaments will not be permitted until 2014 at the earliest.  Some "paper tournaments" have been permitted with all bass being caught, measured/weighed & released and the overall results reported to the State.

NJ Fish & Wildlife regulations for 2014 (and 2015) continue to maintain the lake as a "catch & release" fishery for bass.

Latest Status:
Unfortunately, numerous reports are continually being received regarding people illegally transporting fish from Lake Audrey to nearby ponds such as South Vineland Park and Giampetro Park Pond.  These people have helped to devastate the adult smallmouth bass population in the lake.  Another contributing factor to the decline in the bass population here is a gradual decline in the pH level of the water.  The placement of a huge quantity of lime in the lake in 2006 brought the pH up to an ideal level for bass survival and reproduction.  But the level has slowly declined since that time, making the water acidic again.  Electro-shocking and seining performed by Fish & Wildlife biologists has shown that the presence of adult & juvenile smallmouth bass has been steadily declining.  Largemouth bass, apparently introduced by local fishermen, now dominate the overall bass population.

Future Plans:

Contact:
Lake Audrey is maintained by the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, under the supervision of Laurie Pettigrew.  Laurie can be reached at 856-785-0455.  Her office is located alongside Lake Audrey on Ferry Road.

Volunteers who work on projects at Lake Audrey need to complete a Wildlife Conservation Corps application (this application is available on the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife site and is needed to get you covered under the State's liability insurance coverage during the project).

Aerial Photographs of Lake Audrey


Aerial Map 1
Aerial Map 2
Ferry Road runs across the top of the photos; Buckshutem Road runs down the right side of the photos.  The NJDFW office is on Ferry Road in the top center of both photos.  The temporary boat ramp is in the upper right-hand corner of the photos, behind the auto repair shop.  The permanent boat ramp & parking lot will be along the right-hand side of the large peninsula in the center of the photos.
                

Topographic Map of Lake Audrey
Topo Map


Lake Photos
Photographs from the SJBCA's first work party on November 6, 2005.  Building fish habitat structures out of wooden pallets & concrete blocks and dropping them in a designated area out in the lake.
Ramp
Launching boats at makeshift ramp.
Pallets
Pile of pallets (pile was more organized for 2nd work party)
Loading Pallets
Project Coordinator Lee Widjeskog loading pallets
onto Bill Duckart's boat.
Loading Pallets
Loading pallets and blocks onto work boat.

Lake View
View of the lake from the NJDFW office.
Volunteers
Volunteers (from left:  Mark Musso, Rick Lentz, Bill Duckardt, Fred Lentz, John Radamski, Dave Burket, Gary Corliss)


Photographs from the SJBCA's second work party on January 22, 2006.  Building more fish habitat structures out of wooden pallets & concrete blocks and dropping them in a designated area out in the lake.
Loading Pallets
Loading pallets and blocks into work boat.
Loading Pallets
More loading. (Carmen Bersani, Fred Lentz & Gary Corliss)
Out in Lake
Dropping fish structures out in lake.
Loading Pallets
Loading pallets into work boat.
Loading Pallets
Loading blocks onto work boat.



Photographs from the SJBCA's third work party on April 30, 2006.  (Mixing up a "slurry" of lime & water and spraying it along the shoreline of the lake with fire hoses.)
Bags of Lime
Piles of lime bags waiting to be dumped.


Lime Slurry
Slurry tank.
Loading Lime
Dumping lime into the slurry tank.
Pouring Water
Filling slurry tank with water.
Dumping Lime
Dumping lime into the slurry tank.
Spraying Slurry
Spraying the lime slurry into the lake.
More Spraying
More spraying.
Spraying
Another angle.
Hauling
Hauling bags of lime.
Mixing
Keeping the slurry mixed.
Slurry Tank
Monitoring the slurry tank.
Mixing
More dumping & mixing (bit of a dirty job).
After
Lime slurry disperses into lake water.
Lake Point
Another view of the lake after liming.
Spraying Slurry
Spraying the lime slurry into the lake.
Lime Bags
Dumping bags of lime into the lake.
Dumping Lime
Opening & dumping bags of lime into the lake.




Photographs from work party on July 16, 2006.  Dumping bags of lime out in the middle of the lake by boat.
(photos pending)





Photographs from work party on August 20, 2006.  Dumping bags of lime out in the middle of the lake by boat.
(photos pending)




Photographs from work party on October 13, 2007.  Sinking wreck boats in the middle of the lake.
Filling Boat
Junk boat being filled with concrete blocks and fish-attracting items
Filling Boat
Finishing filling a wreck boat
Filled Boat
Another wreck boat ready to be towed
Leading the Way
Guide boat leads the way to the sinking spots
Towing the Boats
Towing wreck boats out into the lake



Photographs from work party on November 23, 2008.  Building fish habitat structures out of wooden pallets & concrete blocks and dropping them at designated areas in the lake.
Boats
Volunteers arrive at the rendezvous point.
Boats
Volunteers arrive at the rendezvous point.
(Does that look like a work boat?)
Work Group
Volunteers discuss the project with Lee Widjeskog
(white hat in back on right).
Ramp
The makeshift launch ramp (with xmas trees ready
for placement),
Ramp
Boats get launched.
Transporting
Xmas trees get transported to the middle of the  lake.
Loading Up
Loading up pallets and concrete blocks.
Loading Up
Loading up pallets and concrete blocks.
Transporting
Transporting pallets & blocks to drop locations.
Construction
Assembling a pallet structure.
Ramp
Loading the work boats back up.
Ramp
Loading the work boats back up.
Work Group
The SJBCA members of the work group pose for photo.
(left to right:  Rashawn Lewis, Terry Boesenhofer, Bob Russell,
Rob Kunze, Fred Lentz)


Photographs from work party on March 9, 2013.  Building fish habitat structures out of Christmas trees & concrete blocks and dropping them at designated areas in the lake.  All work was done by members of South Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club, which "adopted" this lake for the purposes of shoreline clean-up and fish habitat projects.
Audrey Project
Preparing the habitat structures
Audrey Project
Placing the structures in strategic locations
Audrey Project
The volunteers after a hard morning's work


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