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Protected from the elements like a terrapin’s shell, this aquatic area has a lot to offer for open and hard water.
By Mark Modoski

Hidden in the mountains between Monksville Reservoir and Greenwood Lake, Green Turtle Pond (aka Green Turtle Lake) is quite easy to overlook when choosing a destination. In fact, many New Jersey and New York anglers have never even heard of it, and a good number of those that have don’t have a clue where it is. With a handful of bigger, more popular lakes in the immediate area, it certainly doesn’t jump out as one of Passaic County New Jersey’s top fishing destinations.

For the anglers that fish it though, it’s a different story. Tucked out of the way down a rugged dirt road, those who make the trip in the dead of winter find a small, quiet, picturesque pond that is often void of crowds. Unlike many other lakes and ponds in northern New Jersey, Green Turtle is completely void of houses, making for a beautiful backdrop while you cast a line, jig your holes, chase flags and grill burgers.

Green Turtle Pond is located adjacent to Awosting Rd., which runs off of Greenwood Lake Turnpike. When coming down Greenwood Lake Turnpike from Ringwood, make the right onto Awosting Rd. just about a mile after crossing the causeway over Monksville Reservoir. The entrance is a half-mile up Awosting Rd. on the right, but go slowly because it’s easy to miss. Follow the unpaved road down to the lake. You won’t find any parking area, but you can pretty much put your vehicle wherever you want as long as you’re not blocking anyone.

Given safe ice this winter, Green Turtle Pond is a very manageable lake for ice fishing. With a surface area of only 40 acres, moving around to locate fish is not an issue. The lake has a small stream that flows in on the northwest end and a dam at the south end. There is a small island on the northeast side of the lake that is a popular spot for ice anglers. The maximum depth of the lake is 25 feet, which helps support the population of winter-stocked trout.
Like most other northern New Jersey ponds and lakes, Green Turtle has a healthy population of panfish. Jigs tipped with mousies or spikes can take a nice assortment of yellow perch, crappie and sunfish. Shiners fished under tip-ups can produce largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel and the occasional catfish. The variety and number of fish has the potential to keep both your flags and jigging rods busy.
Although bass and panfish are good enough quarry for most hardwater anglers, there is no question that part of the allure of Green Turtle Pond is its winter-stocked trout. The state tossed close to 400 brown and rainbow trout into the lake right before Thanksgiving, and the fish provide ice fishermen with action throughout the entire winter. With the right tactics, these trout can be had by any angler making the trip to Green Turtle Pond.

If you decide to spend the day at Green Turtle Pond, try changing from your normal shiner on the tip-up, mousie on the jig routine to take advantage of the winter-stocked trout. Make sure your jigging line is either 2- to 4-pound fluorocarbon or affix a 2- to 4-pound fluorocarbon leader. Use small jigs like tiny Kastmasters or No. 2 to No. 4 Swedish Pimples and top them off with a wax worm or butterworm in place of the mousie or spike.

On a couple of the tip-ups in your spread, try attaching the same light 2- to 4-pound leader to your main line and use a small trout hook with a fathead minnow, wax worm or butterworm. Keep in mind that winter trout will often suspend, so don’t feel overly compelled to keep your tip-up bait and jigs right on the bottom. Instead, try jigging at different depths in the water column and do the same with your tip-ups. A sonar or flasher can do wonders at finding suspending winter trout.

For this ice fisherman, getting away from the crowds and fishing somewhere scenic is a close second to catching when choosing a lake. Driving a little further or hitting less popular water can often mean the difference between having a nice relaxing day and jockeying for your small section of ice. In this regard, Green Turtle has it all, and if you’ve never hooked a trout on a jigging rod, you’re missing out.

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