Hot Spot: Lake Riviera - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Lake Riviera

LAKE-RIVIERA
Thanks to the “community edits” function of Navionics, Brick Township’s Lake Riviera (aka, Irisado Lake) does show up with contour lines with your Navionics Boating App.

Tucked between the suburban residential Lakeshore Drive residential homes and the long stretch Lakeview Place garden apartment complex on the busy Brick Boulevard in Ocean County is Lake Riviera, a 50-something acre water body that fits the term “hiding in plain sight” to the T.

Formed via sand and gravel excavation decades ago, the tannin-stained still water is part of Lake Riviera Park. The park itself underwent extensive upgrades and was re-opened in 2016. Besides recreational renovations in the forms of basketball courts, playgrounds, a swimming beach, vastly improved parking (spaces for 60 vehicles), and a gazebo, there were upgrades to fishing access in the forms of a kayak/cartopper ramp and a lakeside paved path that runs along a portion of the eastern side atop the underground conduit. There is also a T-shaped fishing pier (no railings so caution is advised) located a short walk from the upper end of the parking lot.

While Riviera is known to local anglers, particularly the ‘yak attack bassers, it receives scant attention on the overall likely because it’s limited to electric power only, and there is no parking for trailers. The relatively close proximity of Lake Assunpink and its Rising Sun and Stone Tavern siblings, and the sprawling Manasquan Reservoir also serve to turn efforts elsewhere.

The lake itself is basically split, with the larger front end set in front of the parking lot and beach, with the back end situated along the back side of the aforementioned garden apartments. There are a number of homes lakeside, with more than a few docks providing ample hiding places for largemouth.

The ramp is tight and is reached a short trek in from the lot, with the narrow canal leading out to the lake proper. Shoreline access is along the path running along the spillway, and there is also fishing opportunities in the conduit hole below. There are two paths leading to the back portion of Riviera, one on each side of the underground conduit, but for all intents and purposes, casting area is limited to a few cut outs in the heavy brush along the bank.

The beach area is also open to anglers, with the wide 100-plus yards stretch of sand a prime beat to get a bead on cruising bass and/or working the spawning beds not only of largemouth but also the buster bluegills and pumpkinseeds.

Riviera sports a tannin-stained complexion. The maximum depth is approximately 8 feet, with a mean reach at 3 to 4 feet. Subsurface structure is primarily sunken brush and pond weed and bladderwort. Up top, there are patches of yellow water lily, and the dock pilings along the shorelines. The lake’s gamefish and panfish populations are in good shape. Top targets include bass and pickerel, with largemouth topping 4 pounds not uncommon, nor are chainsides in the 24-plus inch class. In addition to the sunnies, panfish fans can target the solid numbers of yellow perch, black crappies and bullheads.

Even though not stocked by the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries the lake has a decent population of channel catfish, with reports of whiskers nearing double-digit weights reported. No doubt over the years, bucket stocking occurred and the channels took to Riviera’s robust forage population of golden shiners and minnows and also the smaller sunfish, crappies and perch. Frogs are also on the gamefish menu.

When it comes to the bass, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are top producers, with plastic worms, Senkos, creature baits, and suspending twitch baits also effective. Live golden shiners take their share of not only largemouth but pickerel as well (one local angler who wished to remain unnamed says his biggest bass are caught first by catching golden shiners on bread dough balls and then livelining them.)

What works for the largemouth bass will work for pickerel, with spinners in particular eliciting lightning strikes. Our faves are the Nos. 2 and 3 Mepps Comet Mino, but most any spinner ripped along just under the surface will get whacked.

Riviera Park is open from dawn to dusk, but there does not seem to be any hassles if fishing before or after. Additional information can be obtained by calling the clerk’s office at 732-262-1001.

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