Hot Spot: Parvin Lake - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Parvin Lake

Imaging courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New Jersey State Park Service ( and Navionics.

Located in the lake, pond, river and stream-rich Maurice River Basin, the 95-acre Parvin Lake in Salem County is designated and managed as a Lunker Bass Lake, one of only five such venues in the Garden State.  It’s the southern New Jersey’s only representative and justly so, as it produces solid numbers of largemouth in the 4- to 5-pound class, with heavier specimens by no means uncommon.

Located within Parvin State Park and less than 5 miles from Vineland, Parvin Lake was a good fit for lunker bass lake status according to retired Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries principal fisheries biologist Bob Papson who was part of the revamping of the Garden State’s warm and cool water fisheries programs in the late 80s and 90s.  “It fit the criteria we’d established,” relayed Papson, adding, “It was open to the public, and at 95 acres, the size was manageable.”

Papson said there was an excellent forage base, subsurface vegetation and structure were there, the pH was pretty much neutral, and electro-shocking showed that there was a healthy and thriving bass population. “The size structure of the fish showed it to be an exceptional fishery,” said Papson, adding “After comparing it to other waters in the southern region, it was decided that Parvin would be included in the program.”

Parvin, always popular with local bass fishing clubs, was now on the statewide tournament radar, and tournament participation increased for those willing to make the tow down, over and/or up to the Salem County bass bounty. A saving grace was the electric only power regulation that’s still in effect that served to prevent an overrun status.

While Parvin remains a favored area tournament swim – particularly among the ‘yak attack bass troupers – overall bass fishing competition pressure has waned as per revamped lakeside parking, with it sometimes necessary to tuck in tight along a road across from the state park office. The overall inconvenience, plus the hot bass opportunities available in other waters within a short to moderate tow, put Parvin on the prime tournament target B list.

“Tournament pressure is not what it was,” says principal fisheries biologist Chris Smith, himself a long time tournament bass competitor.  Smith noted that the bass fishery, while still exemplary, is not as powerful a draw as it was in years past. Rowdy? Yes. Robust? Not so much, but close enough to get the attentions and efforts of some of the hardcore bass hunters who still recognize the quality of the largemouth opportunities.

Still, if you want to sample some of the best largemouth mayhem the myriad southern tier county bass-centric venues have to offer, Parvin is on the A list, sans tournament pressure, i.e. weekends. Still, bring your A Game, as the habitat and weather factors sometime dictates versatility.

Parvin is 95 acres, with a maximum depth of 6-1/2 to 7 feet and a mean reach of 3 to 4 feet, and clarity ranges from clear to turbid predicated on rainfall and heat waves. That the high octane fishery exists within such slim margins attests to the quality of the habitat and the forage. The pH hovers around the neutral 7.0.

Vegetation includes filamentous algae, submerged grasses, and a few sunken stumps and patches of brush. A rooted invasive plant is now present. Up top, there are pads of yellow water lily. The forage base consists of golden shiners and small bluegills, black crappies, yellow perch, white perch and bullheads.

The daily launching fee is $14; seasonal $50.

Chatterbaits rule here, followed closely by Colorado blade spinnerbaits, and tri and quad wing buzzbaits. As per the fishing pressure, trailers can make or break a take. We’ve enjoyed stellar commitments via the various Berkley MaxScent trailers when the bite’s been tight.

Topside, electrifying inhalations come from the various frog and rat imposters around the visible structure, and also as per the aforementioned buzzbaits cleaving the liquid skin in the alleys in and around the weeds.

As per yours truly, not to be overlooked are the pie-plate black and white crappies, bulbous bluegills, and lengthy yellow and white perch. Frying pan duty.

Parvin State Park is located at 701 Almond Road in Pittsgrove, NJ 08318.  To reach the park office call 856-358-8616.


Hot Spot: Montauk Radar Tower

Hot Spot: Montauk Radar Tower


Hot Spot: Lake Riviera