New Lake, New Secrets - Exploring the Kirkwood Lake in NJ

--> Added Data from Schuylkill River (04/08/12; 04/14/12), Kirkwood Lake (04/15/12), and PennyPack Park (04/17/12)

--> Added "Species" section to it 

It's been a while since the last time I've explored a new location. I had my eyes on this small lake called Kirkwood for quite a while, but never really had the disposition to go there.
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There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:

One of my bad aspects, when it comes down to fishing, is indecision: there are so many good places to go, and so little time for me to fish. Therefore, I don't usually know where to go! I'm always in-between 4 or 5 places, and I take my time to decide where and when. As you all may have noticed already from reading my Blog, I'm not a "River Monster" fisherman - in other words, I don't go out hunting for trophy fish, or state records. My biggest love when it comes to fishing is the "unknown": fishing for different Species, despite sizes, exploiting the surprise element - the fact that one will never know what will be pulled out next from the river.

I researched the Kirkwood Lake for a considerable amount of time, running into fishing websites, reports, forums, and so on. The information I gathered was simple and compact: LMB, scarce/few Catfish, Carp, and plenty of Sunnies!

The Sunnies, of course, made my day! They are my favorite Species of fish. People usually mock me for it, specially when they mention the part - "Everyone can catch Sunnies." It's true, indeed: everyone can catch small Sunnies. Usually, Sunnies are the first Species of fish that children catch using a float rig and a nightcrawler. The big ones; however, is a whole different story! Big Sunfish don't usually travel in schools. They are highly aggressive towards their own kind, and very cunning in nature. They look at the bait carefully, and they won't bite if the presentation is poor. Therefore, I can proudly say: fishing for big Sunfish is certainly a challenge. 

And guess what? I have GOOD NEWS for those who like to eat Sunfish. I've tested 25 Specimens from the Kirkwood Lake (gathered at 3 different spots), all around the range of 6 inches (meaning that they are similar in terms of age), and the results came clean! In other words, the Sunfish at Kirkwood Lake are totally edible - no risks of heavy metals and pcbs. Therefore - enjoy your meal if you decide to eat them. On the other hand, watch out for the daily limit.

Anyways...let's explore the new location. The map is not perfect, but work with me, okay?

I've numbered the 5 locations I've been to:

1. Entrance/Dock
2. House/Concrete
3. Before the Creek
4. Clearing
5. Dungeon

Yes - I've named them for my own convenience. Once you read further, you will understand why I did so.


Here comes the empirical data - the Species of fish that I've confirmed at Kirkwood Lake through observations and field experience:

- Largemouth Bass:

The Lake seems to hold a good amount of them. I've asked three locals, and they all told me stories of 5lbs LMB in the Kirkwood Lake. Now, aside from the rumours, I've personally seen one person catch 5 LMB on a little boat, in the middle of the Lake, on the lily pads, using a green rubber worm. He caught 8 LMB for the day, biggest one being 4.5lbs. Another two people on a second boat caught a nice 3lber over lily pads as well.

Myself, I missed two BIG LMB (range 3-5lbs) because I was using a bad rig: a live Sunfish hooked through the "cheek", on the bottom (with a 2oz sinker). The setup was for Catfish, but oh was exciting fighting them for a little bit, until they unhooked themselves and swam away.

- Sunfish

Tons of Sunfish. I finished the day with 223 Sunfish from the Kirkwood Lake in 6 hours of fishing. The biggest one was 7 inches, and they ranged from 4-7'. With a float, light gear, and non-stop action, it's like exercising and fishing at the same time! Awesome feeling! And hey: as mentioned before, they are edible!

- Flathead Catfish

Here's probably THE MONSTER of the Kirkwood Lake: a Flathead Catfish. This was the climax of my fishing day at Kirkwood - something totally unexpected! You know that feeling of adrenaline rushing through your body, waiting to see what kind of fish is coming up? When your heart and body shakes, and you get totally pumped up for the moment? Yes! That's what I'm talking about!

It was around 2:15 p.m. when it happened. Locals are funny, you know? They saw me still-fishing with two fishing rods, and kind of smiled in funny ways. They probably thought: "that new kid probably has no idea what the hell he's doing." Hahaha

Suddenly, my Ugly Stick/Shimano combo bent like crazy! I thought it was a big Bass, and ran to get it. The fish was on, and my drag was burning at an awesome pace. I was already worried because the fish was swimming towards the lily pads, but there was nothing I could have done. I was using 15lbs fluorocarbon on my Shimano 4000. The fish swam all the way to the middle of the Lake! The strength of it was like one of a Carp, but I knew that it was impossible for a Carp to swallow a 5' Sunfish in one gulp (they would never do that, seriously). After fighting it for a good ten minutes, I was finally able to bring the beast up - it was orange/brown! It was a Flathead, alright! I was so thrilled because it would have given me an awesome shot for the Blog. I reeled it in carefully, placing him as close as possible. For my luck, I was without my net (sarcasm!). Therefore, my only choice was to grab it by hand. It was then that my line snapped.

Oh well...At least the Flathead is in a lake, so it has no other places to swim to. At least I got to see him, and say: "Wow! It exists! It's HERE! It's about 15-20lbs!" The locals stood there for about two minutes after the fight - mouths opened; surprised faces. It was a good show! I'm sure they never expected that. Neither did I, hah!

- Calico Bass/Black Crappie

For some reason, I like to refer to Black Crappie as "Calico Bass". I think it's exotic, charming, and interesting. Much better than "papermouths", right? Come with me!

I finished the day with 2 Black Crappies, no bigger than 10 inches. They were all caught on a float/nightcrawler rig. Beautiful fish, indeed! I wish the Lake held a bigger population of Calico Bass, but that would be too perfect!

The Eastern Garter Snake. According to most websites, it's not poisonous. However, people found recently that it's "kind of" poisonous. But anyways...I don't want to have two holes on me, so I moved away from location #5.

A nice little Bluegill caught at location #3

Another one caught at location #3, on a float rig.

I don't personally mind finding these around. This one was "chilling" at location #5, next to the snake cove. It didn't mind when I took the picture.

This is a view from location #5. This is where the Big Bass were jumping, eating whatever was falling from trees.

Another picture from location #5. Let's play the game "Find the Bobber". How about that, huh?

A little nice "striped" Sunfish caught at location #4.

Both Calico Bass were caught on position #4 - The Clearing.

A view from position #3 - Before the Creek. The lily pads are prime cover for fish! Good Lake!

A nice view from position #2 - House/Concrete.

Another picture from position #2.

Finally, a picture from position #1 - Entrance/Dock.

Some people were fishing at the Entrance, without having much luck. "I caught a few", said the guy out of the board (closer to you).

Another view of position #1 - the locals guaranteed that LMB would be caught during May-July on the lily pads to the left. I think they speak the truth! hah.

Anyways...Hope you enjoyed the post. If you ever go there to fish, I wish you luck!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.


1. Entrance/Dock

The Kirkwood Lake is located in Lindenwold, New Jersey. It's located five minutes away from the PATCO Transportation Center in Lindenwold. If you see the map above, the train station is right next to it! Therefore, people that catch public transportation really have no excuses.

Number one on the map marks the Entrance/Dock. I named it this way because it's the entrance to the Lake, and there's a little dock for people to put their boats in. Makes sense, right? Also, the area can hold a good amount of cars; therefore, parking is not a problem!

Fishing at the entrance wasn't very successful to me. There's a little water output (dam) next to it, where I was able to catch a couple Sunfish. This is important! This Lake has an imput and output, meaning that it's not stagnant. Anyways...One of the locals told me that between May and July, the Entrance is a prime spot for Largemouth Bass. Who knows...heh

Also, there were signs of corn around. There's probably Common Carp around, but I wasn't able to spot even a single one of them.

2. House/Concrete

No. There are no houses in location 2 of the map. There is, however, a big block of concrete on the floor! Probably something that was once a "plan" to build a house there. I've seen some locals catch some LMB at location 2 using their boats, casting straight at the lily pads. I fished there for a good half a hour, and got a good amount of Sunfish.

3. Before the Creek

There's a little ugly spot on position 3, which is just before a little creek that separates the Kirkwood lake. It's hard to cast because of the trees, but the lily pads are very close! It was at this spot that I missed the first LMB, and caught a bunch of Sunfish on the range of 4-5'.

4. Clearing

It's after the little creek that I was able to find a decent spot! Clear: a clear spot. No trees, no dirt, no mud: just a good spot with good space for casting. Of course, I didn't name it "clearing" just because of these factors: this spot is also very clear when it comes to lily pads. lily pads, meaning no cover for fish (Boo Hoo!). However, I had a blast with the sunfish! It was at this spot that I caught 150+ Sunfish. It was also at this spot that I missed my second Big Bass, casting a Sunfish just next to a big log. It was also at this spot that I missed the Flathead.

5. Dungeon

I know...sounds like RPG (Role-playing game), right? A dungeon: a place that holds something that is dear; a place that is protected by traps and dangers. The treasure would be the Bass: number 5 on the map is a little curve from the big Lake. I've seen some Big Bass jump at this particular spot, eating whatever was falling from the trees. Also, this spot cannot be reached by the boats because it's blocked by a vast lily pad vegetation, and logs as well.

Well...that's for the treasure. What's the danger, then? Simple: snakes. I've found at least 4 snakes walking around. 3 of them were Eastern Garter Snakes (no poison, supposedly), and one was red with black stripes - not a good sign! I didn't notice any of them until I stepped in. I was reeling in my line, when I looked to my left and saw a two feet snake standing 5 feet from me. I was scared, alright? Alone in the jungle; away from civilization... one bite, and boom - dead. Even 911 won't reach that place so fast, yet find what kind of snake was that red one with black stripes. After 10 minutes staring at each other (standing still - I was static), the snake moved away. After that, I saw the Garter ones, and took a picture of one from a close range (picture is below) .

Therefore, I'm not responsible for any one's health. Step in at your own discretion. Good luck!

Below are the pictures of the locations, and some small fish. Enjoy!