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Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey Needs Your Vote

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by Brian T. Lynch

I grew up a few blocks from Lake Hopatcong and the experience has stayed with me all my life. I learned to swim there. I learned to fish and ice fish there. But the best gift of all was discovering my inner calmness in the reflections of countless sunsets and the gentle lapping of its waves. I have loved rivers and lakes ever since. It is where I feel most at home.

A view from tiny Snake Island on the North end of Lake Hopatcong in the Fall of 2013 looking over to a nature preserve.

Which is why I want to help the lake I love by asking you to help the Lake Hopatcong Foundation win a small grant. By casting a vote to win this small grassroots grant from the Boat U.S. Foundation you may help create a public guide map of this beautiful lake. To vote, please must click on the following link to vote for Lake Hopatcong to receive this grant:


“But how does a guide map help this lake”, you ask?

New Jersey politics is heavily comingled with the interests of developers. Over the years this beautiful lake has been transformed from summer resort and recreation area to largely a residential lake. Lake access has become too limited due to over development, so tourism is down. (I would love to see the State open another state park.) This gives the New Jersey State government less incentive to support environmental stewardship of our largest lake and natural attraction. Encouraging more tourism will help attract more attention to preserving and maintaining the lake.

If they win the grant, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation will create a Lake Hopatcong Guide Map. The map will include information on invasive species and the location of pumpout stations. The map will be available for free and printed on water-resistant, tear resistant and durable 12” x 18” paper. They will also update the Lake Hopatcong Guide app which is available for free download for iPhone, iPad and Android. Information on how to prevent aquatic hitchhikers and the locations of pumpout station will be added to the app and their website. This will facilitate visitor, encourage tourism and it would be good for the health of the lake in the long run.

Putting this small grant towards some great environmental issue would be a little bit like throwing a pail of water on a burning house. The impact would be negligible. So please help out and cast a vote for help the Lake Hopatcong Foundation win this small grant. Here is a little history of Lake Hopatcong. Please come visit it if you are in the vicinity some day.


Lake Hopatcong is New Jersey’s largest lake. It is about 4 square miles in area. It is in the water shed area know has the New Jersey highlands about 30 miles from the Delaware River and 45 miles from New York City. Lake Hopatcong was created by damming and flooding two ponds that were known as Great Pond and Little Pond. It is substantially spring fed while the Musconetcong River flows out from it.

The Big and Little Ponds in the Hopatcong basin were form during the last glacier. They were about two miles apart with some wetlands between. It is believed that these lakes were first settled by the Lenape Indians. Here they found that the lakes provided abundant fish and forested shores with plenty of game. The word “Hopatcong” is believed to be a derivative of the Lenape word “hapakonoesson”, meaning Pipe stone”.

Sometime between 1750 and 1765 the Brookland Forge and mill built a damn where the Musconetcong River flows from the lake in order to supply greater water power for the forge. This damn raised the water level by six feet and connected the two ponds.


In the early 1800’s plans were made to build the Morris Canal to connect the Delaware River with New York Harbor. The 900 foot elevation of Hopatcong basin was perfectly suited to supply water for the canal.

In 1831, the Morris Canal Company purchased the Brookland forge site and replaced the dam with one that raised the water 12 ft above the original level of Great Pond creating the lake as it exists today.

Lake Hopatcong is home to the greatest variety of game fish of lake in New Jersey.

Each spring it is stocked with brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. It is home to Largemouth and smallmouth bass, rock bass, chain pickerel, channel catfish, bullheads, hybrid striped bass, walleye, muskellunge as well as perch, crappie, bluegill and carp.

I have never been skillful or lucky enough to catch one of the monster fish that inhabit the lakes depths, but I have always been inspired by those who do seem to catch these great fish.

Once a first class resort destination for the rich and famous, today Lake Hopatcong is largely a residential lake with limited public access. There is the New Jersey State Park in Landing and a number of marinas and restaurants on the lake and two yacht clubs. Many of the restaurants can be accessed by boat. You can simply dock and dine at any of these classic lakeside restaurants.

Jefferson House restaurant outdoor view

So again, Please help the Lake Hopatcong Foundation win this small grant, Click on the following link to vote for Lake Hopatcong to receive this grant: http://www.boatus.org/grants/vote.asp and Thank YOU!


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