Lake Musconetcong, New Jersey, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New Jersey - Skylands -

In the early 1800’s, the Morris Canal and Banking Company was tasked with building a canal to help move freight across the New Jersey. In order to supply the Morris Canal with a reliable source of water, Lake Hopatcong, a natural glacial lake, was expanded and Lake Musconetcong was created. A side effect of the creation of the lakes and canals was a growing number of visitors coming to the beautiful Musconetcong River Valley for recreation. The trend continued after the canal outlived its usefulness and today Lake Musconetcong is a fantastic Skylands destination. Surrounded by Hopatcong State Park and the beautiful farmland of the Musconetcong River Valley, Lake Musconetcong offers acres of water to play on and respite from a hectic world.

Construction on the Morris Canal started in 1825 and by 1831 the first canal boats were making the trip. The 102 mile-long canal carried boats from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to Jersey City, the Hudson River and on to New York Harbor. Connecting to the coal region of the Lehigh Valley, the Morris Canal was used to transport coal, iron and zinc, carrying more than 880,000 tons of freight in 1866 alone. The canal used a series of locks and inclined planes to move the freight over an elevation change of 1,674 feet and depended on a reliable source of water to maintain its four-to-five foot depth and power the cables that hoisted the canal boats up the inclined planes. The Morris Canal and Banking Company created Lake Musconetcong as a water supply reservoir for the canal system.

Cottages sprang up along the canal route and tourism became a growing industry. Unable to compete against the more efficient Morris and Essex Railroad, the Morris Canal was only used to transport freight for just under a century. Its tourism and recreation value, however, continues today. Visitors still flock to Lake Musconetcong and its larger sister, Lake Hopatcong, to fish, boat, swim, and play in the waters of the Musconetcong River.

Deeded to the State of New Jersey in 1924, Lake Musconetcong is part of the Hopatcong State Park. There is no hunting allowed in the state park, but there are plenty of places to picnic, along with playgrounds and ball fields. Boat rentals are available and visitors can explore Lake Musconetcong’s 329 acres by boat, canoe and kayak. Both Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong are stocked with brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. There are healthy populations of largemouth bass, catfish and American eel. In the winter, ice fishing enthusiasts can pull pickerel and perch from Lake Musconetcong’s frozen waters.

The Musconetcong River makes up both the inflow and outflow of Lake Musconetcong. The 44 mile-long river passes through the beautiful farming valleys of the Garden State before joining the Delaware River. On its way, it flows through Stephens State Park. Just a few miles from Lake Musconetcong, Stephens State Park includes a section of the Morris Canal. Waterloo Village is a reconstruction of a 400 year-old Lenape Native American village as well as an early 19th-century restored port along the canal. The port includes a working grist and saw mill, a blacksmith shop, and a general store. Trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding cross the park and in the winter some of the trails are open for cross-country skiing. There is also a site for rock climbing and hunting is allowed in season. Overnight accommodations include a campground in the park. The Allamuchy State Park is connected to Stephens State Park and is just to its north. The park includes over 8,600 acres of forest criss crossed with miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Lake Musconetcong is just an hour away from New York City and everything it has to offer. Nearby, the Village of Stanhope has restaurants, antique shops and accommodations ranging from historic bed and breakfasts to vacation rentals including some on the lakefront. For anyone wishing to extend their stay, there is also real estate available for sale.

With the history of the Morris Canal, the beautiful waters of the Musconetcong River and the charming shops and restaurants of Stanhope, Lake Musconetcong is a great Skylands destination. Add in its proximity to New York City, and there is something to please everyone.

Things to do at Lake Musconetcong

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • State Park
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Musconetcong

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Eel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Lake Musconetcong Photo Gallery

    Lake Musconetcong Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: State of New Jersey

    Surface Area: 329 acres

    Average Depth: 5 feet

    Maximum Depth: 10 feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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