Statewide Stocking Starts Tuesday, October 10, 2017!
The fall trout season will get underway next week as the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife begins stocking rivers, streams, and lakes across the state with thousands of large, two-year-old fish on Tuesday, October 10, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
“New Jersey boasts some of the finest trout fishing opportunities found anywhere,” said Commissioner Martin. “The fall stocking program is another example of the Christie Administration’s commitment to the outdoor community by providing wonderful opportunities to catch large trout at this special time of year.”
Later in the month, anyone can try their hand at freshwater fishing without having to purchase a fishing license during the Free Fishing Day on Oct. 21.
Beginning Tuesday, more than 20,000 two-year-old rainbow trout, ranging from 14 inches up to 22 inches in length and weighing 1 1/2 pounds to nearly 8 pounds, will be stocked in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds throughout the state. The trout are raised at the Pequest State Trout Hatchery in Warren County.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife strives to make trout fishing available in all regions of the state. Waters stocked during the first week of fall stocking are the 16 large streams and rivers in northern and coastal New Jersey, such as the Big Flatbrook, Pequest River, South Branch Raritan River, Musconetcong River, and the Manasquan and Toms rivers. During the second week, 20 ponds and lakes across the state will be stocked.
There are no stocking closures during fall, so waters can be fished at any time. Although all newly stocked fish are at least 12 inches in length, anglers are reminded that there is a 9-inch minimum size limit on trout in New Jersey. Anglers must immediately release fish smaller than the minimum size.
“Many of the rivers to be stocked also have fish that were released previously, providing even more opportunities to catch bigger fish,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. “Fall is a great time to seek solitude, join a buddy or bring out your family to cast for trout while enjoying the beauty of New Jersey’s great outdoors. There are few better ways to enjoy the change of seasons.”
In addition to the already great fishing opportunities being offered this fall, anglers can enjoy a Free Fishing Day on Saturday, October 21. On this day, residents and non-residents can fish the fresh waters of the state for free without paying for a license or trout stamp. Other regulations, including size and daily catch limits, remain in effect.
Free Fishing Days provide a fantastic opportunity to sample fishing for a wide variety of fish, including trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel and numerous panfish species. Hatchery-supported muskellunge, walleye, northern pike, channel catfish, and hybrid striped bass fisheries are also thriving.
The complete list of fall trout stocked waters and the stocking schedule is available at www.njfishandwildlife.com/flstk17.htm or through the Trout Stocking Hotline at (609) 633-6765. A wealth of information about trout fishing in New Jersey, including regulations, fishing access points and trout fishing facts can be found at: njfishandwildlife.com/trtinfo_fall.htm
Anglers may also download the stocking schedule right to their cell phones by simply scanning the QR Code that appears in the Freshwater Digest or on the Division’s trout stocking signs posted along trout stocked waters. Updates to the fall stocking program will be posted as needed.
Except for Free Fishing Days, anyone age 16 or older must obtain a fishing license to fish the fresh waters of the state. A trout stamp is also required to fish for trout. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older may fish without a license. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through license agents statewide, found at: www.njfishandwildlife.com/agentlst.htm They can also be purchased online at: nj.wildlifelicense.com
Anglers who have yet to purchase a 2017 fishing licenses also have the opportunity to introduce a friend or family member to fishing at a reduced price this fall by purchasing a “Fishing Buddy” license. These discounted licenses are available to resident anglers ages 16 to 65, or any nonresident angler over age 16 who purchases an annual New Jersey freshwater fishing license at the same time as their “buddy.” For more information on the Fishing Buddy license, visit: njfishandwildlife.com/fishbuddy.htm.