- by Joe Turzanski
Photo by Joe Turzanski
Fishing in Collings Lakes has always been a favorite activity of mine, and in fact I caught my first fish forty-nine years ago, right where the father and son above are. Though it was only a Bluegill, to six year old me, it was a sea monster, and to my father as well. (He could have won an Oscar with his feigned astonishment at its sheer size.)
I may have hooked that fish, but from that very moment I was the one who was “hooked.” Memories that last a lifetime get made here every day. We want to keep it that way. So here are the laws, rules and customs we abide by;
ALL THOSE BOATING, FISHING, OR OTHERWISE USING CLCA OVERSEEN PROPERTY ARE REQUIRED TO BE RESIDENTS WITH MAINTENANCE FEE ACCOUNTS IN GOOD STANDING, OR HAVE A CURRENT ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP FOR NON RESIDENTS. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS, AND ALL OTHERS ARE TRESSPASSING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
All residents (property owners and immediate family living with them) over the age of sixteen are required by state law to have a valid N.J. fishing license while fishing our lakes. Proof of residence is your fishing license address. Residents without fishing licenses can be fined by authorized Division of Fish and Game Officers. (“Game Wardens”)
- Photo by Joe Turzanski
“This is a private Lake” and “I’m staying with relatives who live here” are not valid excuses for not having a license. While CLCA officials can not enforce Fish & Wildlife game laws, (Nor do we wish to) N.J. Law requires that all fishermen have one and that it be displayed. Best places are on the back of your shirt or cap, where an officer can see it without disturbing you.
At one time only residents could fish in the Lakes, however that changed in recent years and Non-residents are now able to obtain an “Associate Membership” which not only allows them fishing privileges here, but also use of the beaches, picnic areas, swimming areas, boating and ramp access and many other benefits. Non-resident fishermen MUST have an associate membership, and it must be displayed. For more information on obtaining an associate membership, and additional benefits conveyed, please see the CLCA PAGE under the heading “DUES & FEES.”
- Photo by Joe Turzanski
Of course if CLCA representatives (Compliance officers) wish to see your associate membership proof, “I’m staying with relatives” and “I don’t have my tag” or “The dog ate it” or “it’s in the truck” will not be acceptable, and you will be asked to stop fishing and leave the property. The lakes and surrounding areas are privately owned community property, and are for use by members in good standing only.
If you wish to obtain an associate membership, you may also call John Besch (CLCA) at; 856.842.7457. No information collected will be sold to a third party, or used for any other purpose.
The Author with “Walter,” 3:30pm, 10/05/2012, 22″ and 4.05lbs.
Walter was released unharmed shortly after this photo was taken
Other Fish and Game regulations
Catch Limits, legal “take” sizes and all other Fish and Game regulations apply as anywhere else. We ask you to “catch and release” so that all fishermen, resident and non-resident can enjoy the great fishing the Lakes is known for, and to pass that tradition on to their sons and daughters in the future.
We also ask that you “leave the place the way you found it” and take any trash, bottles, cans, fishing string and other refuse to the nearest trash receptacle. All beaches have them, as does the basketball court, and the Wawa store at the light on the Black Horse Pike. Littering is a crime and it’s punishable by fines. Vandalism will be prosecuted in all cases. If you wouldn’t do it in your house or back yard, then please don’t do it in ours!
Ingestion limits / recommendations
At one time all bodies of fresh water here in New Jersey had specific ingestion warnings and limits posted near popular fishing areas. Lately, ingestion warnings and limits are posted only on the New Jersey fish and game web site. This publication does not contain specific warnings for Collings Lakes, or all species, however “Pinelands Areas” are given the following guidelines for all species, which should be followed;
“HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS” are specified as; Children, Pregnant Women, Nursing Mothers and “Women of child-bearing age.” No specific species are noted but this risk group is advised to eat NO MORE THAN ONE MEAL PER MONTH of freshwater fish.
“GENERAL POPULATION” (all others) are advised to eat no more than one meal per week.
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Crappie (aka “Calico Bass”)
- Chain Pickerel
- Fresh Water eels