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Man-made lake attracts fishermen

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From the Asbury Park Press:


Man-made lake attracts fishermen




So far this winter, the weather has been chilly, but not chilly enough for Prospertown Lake to freeze over.


On a recent weekday afternoon, a few cars were parked at the lake, off Route 537 near Six Flags Great Adventure. The drivers sat in their vehicles in the gravel parking lot, eating their lunches and staring out their windows at the lake, the woods surrounding it, and the roller coasters in the backdrop.


But in the middle of January, that was about the extent of the recreation that day.


"If it gets cold enough" people would be out on the lake ice fishing, said Lonnie Cromwell, 41, of Jackson. "It has been a long time since we had snow. Real snow," he said.


Cromwell, a lifelong Jackson resident, has been fishing on the lake since he was a kid, he said.


"There is pretty good fishing there," Cromwell said, before he rolled off the names of kinds of fish in the lake, including bass, pickerel, sunfish and catfish.


"The catfish can get absolutely huge," he said.


The state purchased that land, which is now the Prospertown Lake Wildlife Management Area, from the local Switlik family in 1964, and a few years later the lake was constructed, according to Ray Porutski, regional superintendent for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. Porutski oversees the central region of the state, which includes Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer and Burlington counties.


When the Switlik family sold the land, they deed-restricted it to ensure that if a lake was ever built there, no outboard or electrical motors could be used on it.


So now, mechanical devices of any kind used to propel a boat are not allowed on the lake, Porutski said.


The 123-acre lake has a gravel boat ramp, a fishing pier that can accommodate the disabled, and is stocked with trout, Porutski said.


A section of the lake backs Six Flags Great Adventure, which was not in existence when the lake was first built. The amusement park used to use a portion of the lake for a ski show and to shoot fireworks over, but no longer uses it, according to Angel Aristone, spokesperson for Great Adventure.


And Cromwell, the lifelong Jackson resident, said those and other factors make the lake different from the one he fished on as a child with his father and other family members.


"There wasn't a lot of people who really knew about it. Now more people know about it," Cromwell said.


Prospertown Lake is a great place to stop for a bite of lunch!


Lonnie Cromwell used to work in the park. If I remember correctly he worked in Merchandise.

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I went there today to eat lunch and relax for a while. Thought I'd put my feet in the water to cool them, but the water was about 80 degrees.

What's with all the little clam shells in the shallows? They are everywhere!

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