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The 5 Best Bass Fishing Spots in New Jersey

The 5 Best Bass Fishing Spots in New Jersey

New Jersey is the 47th biggest in the United States but ranks 11th for population, with nearly nine million people. As a result, it’s can be crowded and the lakes run on the smaller size, but there are still many places to go fishing.

One of the most popular professional bass anglers in the world, Mike Iaconelli, calls the state home and learned how to fish here and in the surrounding states. New Jersey has many opportunities for anglers, including the five best fishing spots in the state.

1) Fishing In New Jersery:Lake Hopatcong

Credit: Daily Record

This is the most popular and best bass fishing lake in the state. At 2,500 acres, it has grass and plenty of docks. Both largemouth and smallmouth live here, but largemouth get the most attention and seven-pound fish will show up each year in bass tournament bags.

The bite is strong in shallow water for largemouth, specifically around docks and weed beds, but that’s not the only option. Smallmouth bass have become more of a target for bass anglers in recent years and they can be found in deep water, often chasing nomadic herring.

2) Fishing In New Jersery: Monksville Reservoir

Credit: NJ Hiking

This reservoir in West Milford, New Jersey, was created in 1987 with the damming of the Wanaque River. The water is within the Long Pond Ironworks State Park, a popular destination surrounding the 505-acre lake.

The lake is mostly grass, but there is also plenty of standing timber and bass anglers target the channels between the wood and also along the weedlines. Smallmouth anglers have success fishing offshore, along the grass edges and places with hard bottom.

The bass fishing is good here, but the reservoir also holds some nice walleye and muskie, including the state record muskellunge, a 42 pound, 13-ounce monster caught in 1997.

3) Fishing In New Jersery: Swartswood Lake

Credit: NJ Skylands

Another state park lake, Swartswood, is a natural lake formed by glaciers. It’s located in Sussex county and even though it is small, at 520-acres, it’s the third-largest in the state. Most of the bass fishing is shoreline-oriented, with anglers targeting vegetation, drop-offs, and shallow docks.

The lake is home to both largemouth and smallmouth bass, but there are also plenty of walleye swimming in the lake. Swartswood is a popular venue for bass tournaments and they are usually won with five fish bags around fifteen pounds, but it’s a quality fishery with a good bass population.

4) Best Bass Fishing In New Jersery: Waywayanda Lake


Located in the northern part of the state in Vernon Township, Waywayanda is a small lake with an electric-only boat requirement. It’s a lake where bass fishing is mainly centered around fishing grass.

Anglers have success here targeting grass, pitching to the edges extending to fifteen feet of water, or fishing the holes within the vegetation. Topwater baits shine here and there can be an excellent frog bite in the bays around shallow grass.

5) Best Bass Fishing In New Jersery: The Newark Watershed Lakes


Located in the northern part of the state, the lakes known simply as the watershed lakes can sometimes produce excellent bass fishing. They are part of the Newark watershed and include Echo Lake.

Since they are part of the watershed, they fluctuate with water use and drought and grass doesn’t have a chance to take hold most years. Hard bottom is the primary target for bass anglers fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Fishing them requires a tag to fish for the day and they limit the number of people each day. Anglers must apply for a permit, pay a fee, and select a day. These are limited to ten or twelve boats a day and parking is limited, leading to some great fishing and peaceful days on the water.

Updated March 14th, 2022 at 8:03 AM CT