All posts by Robert Ivan

Robert Ivan is the editor and publisher of He has been fishing Round Valley reservoir for over 15 years and has yet to catch anything bigger than 4lbs! He started this website to help him learn to be a better fisherman and he hopes you'll come along for the ride!

Ice Fishing with Zach Merchant

Zach Merchant is part of a group of Garden State fishermen who spend two or three months each winter trekking out with sleds full of equipment and supplies across frozen bodies of water to take advantage of the chance to go ice fishing.

Full article at Special thanks to reporter Michael Warren for reaching out to us to get this interview and article done!

The serious, dedicated angler believes that fishing season doesn’t end when lakes and ponds freeze over. For guys like 25 year old Zach Merchant, it’s just beginning. Merchant and some friends spend a a day on Round Valley Reservoir and Furnace Lake catching bass, pickerel and perch. (Video by Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media for

Zach Merchant with a nice size Tiger Muskie caught through the ice in a Northern NJ lake, January 2018

Another Potential NJ State Record American Eel Released

Long-time readers may remember back in August 2010 when our Russian friend Vasili caught a potential NJ State Record American Eel, but never had it officially measured and instead opted to take it home and eat it.

Well, it’s happened again…kinda. Zach Merchant was fishing last night at Round Valley and spotted a rather large eel swimming close to shore so he quickly baited up a four foot ultra-light rod laying around and cast out toward the serpent. As Zach tells it, the mighty beast broke off his 2lb flouro leader twice before he was able to land the fish…er…eel.

Zach Merchant holding 45inch American Eel
Zach Merchant holds a 45+ inch American Eel before releasing it back into Round Valley.

Now as a reminder, the current NJ State Record American Eel weighs 6lbs, 13 ounces, measures 41.75 inches and was also caught in Round Valley Reservoir. Zach’s eel measured 45+inches, no weight taken. The eel was squirming around too much and he didn’t have anything to put it in, so he let it go. Crazy.

#FunFact American Eel spawn in the Autumn in the Sargasso Sea. Visit the USGS site to learn more about the American Eel.

What crazy catches have you seen or been a part of? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
-Tight Lines

Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Training September 15-17

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will be hosting a free 2-day Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) training September 15-17 in Waretown (Ocean Co). HOFNOD targets teachers, staff and volunteers of schools and community-/faith-based organizations looking to engage youth in an ongoing or year-round fishing, conservation and aquatic education program.

HOFNOD is a great way to introduce youth to fishing and their local waters and other natural resources while supporting positive outdoor recreation activities and life skills. The program can be used by most organizations.

For more information or to register visit on the Division’s website.

Round Valley Reservoir News – May 2014

Lake trout fishing in the Garden State
Republican & Herald
For those unfamiliar with lake trout fishing in the Garden State, the Division of Fish and Wildlife first stocked lake trout in Round Valley Reservoir, …

Naked man found beside Round Valley Reservoir is taken to hospital
Hunterdon County Democrat
CLINTON TWP. — A naked man was taken into custody near the Round Valley Reservoir dam on Saturday evening. He had allegedly taken LSD two …

Acorn Montessori School students seeking information on Round Valley history
Hunterdon County Democrat
Students are researching the history of Round Valley Reservoir because one of the school buildings, an old farm house, was moved to make way for …

Clinton cop injured by drunk driver at Round Valley
A police officer invloved in a water rescue at Round Valley Reservoir in Clinton Township was reportedly injured by a drunk driver at the boat launch.

Driver who allegedly backed boat trailer into policeman charged with DWI
Hunterdon County Democrat
CLINTON TWP. — A man who was trying to back his boat trailer up in the parking lot of the Round Valley Reservoir boat launch reportedly hit a police …

One person rescued from overturned sailboat at Round Valley Reservoir
Hunterdon County Democrat
CLINTON TWP. — One person was rescued by Whitehouse Rescue Squad after a sailboat overturned on Round Valley Reservoir on Sunday, May 11.