Budd Lake: Morris County, 376 acres. Huge northern pike here, with fish in excess of 15 pounds by no means uncommon. Budd also offers decent hard water largemouth, sunfish and crappie opportunities.For my money, Budd Lake fits into one of two categories, possibly both: This demure body of water is either the most underutilized or underrated lake in New Jersey, or perhaps both.Budd Lake is host to a growing smallmouth bass population, but that doesn't mean there isn't a sizable population of bigmouths within its shorelines.Located immediately off state Route (SR) 46, Budd Lake is bowl-shaped with coves that are actually more like slight indentations around the perimeter of the so-called bowl. Budd Lake just doesn't "look bassy," and therein may lie the reason for its lack of popularity.But the old bromide, "Don't judge a book by its cover," comes into play here. Budd Lake has a healthy, thriving population of smallies as well as bigmouth bass. In fact, there is a story among fisheries biologists and the local fishing population about an angler who hooked and landed what would have been a state-record smallmouth while fishing Budd Lake, but he declined to register the fish due to the publicity it would have generated. You see, the angler I'm told, called in sick to work that day, and he had a choice between keeping his job or being touted in the local newspapers as the man who upset the current smallmouth record. He (wisely) chose the latter.There are two boat ramps at Budd Lake, one of which is located behind Nick's Tavern on the western side of the lake and is easily accessible from SR 46. But at this ramp, boating anglers will have to cough up a fee.there's a boat ramp behind Doc's Marina, located along Manor House Road, again immediately after pulling off SR 46. If you intend to give Budd Lake a try, lay in a good supply of plastic and rubber baits, but don't be surprised if you come up with a tiger muskie. The lake is full of them.One thing is that, Budd Lake has only two measly shore fishing opportunities, the west is heavily wooded or private property.
Budd Lake is primarily rock bottom from its deepest depths right up to and including the embankments.
Admittedly, I've fished Budd Lake perhaps only a dozen or so times, and one thing I found out is the riprap and rocky embankments are its hotspots. I've done much better when fishing small, midlevel lures near the shoreline and failing any action with that ploy, turned successfully to plastic and rubber grub baits. The tried-and-true rubber worm worked along the shores has been the best producer of smallies as well as largemouth bass.