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May 23, 2000

For more information contact:
Paul Tarlowe at 908-637-4125

The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, are this year's annual Free Fishing Days. On these days anyone may fish New Jersey's public waters without a license or trout stamp. All other regulations, including size and daily limits, remain in effect.

"Free Fishing Days are a great opportunity for parents who don't fish to join their children or friends who do," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "We also invite individuals from out of state to take advantage of not having to purchase a license to sample some of the finest freshwater fishing opportunities in the Northeast."

Freshwater fishing in New Jersey has never been better. There are more kinds of fish and more places for the public to catch them than ever before. Muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, hybrid striped bass, channel catfish and lake trout now roam New Jersey's larger lakes such as Round Valley Reservoir, Spruce Run Reservoir, Monksville Reservoir, Manasquan Reservoir, Swartswood Lake, Union Lake and Lake Hopatcong. New state records are established for these species every year as our stocking programs expand and fish sizes increase. Even the fisheries biologists are amazed at how well some of these stocking programs are working in regard to both the numbers of fish and the size of fish available. With the newly renovated Hackettstown Hatchery ready to go into full production, fishing in New Jersey can only get better.

Although trout stocking will be over by the end of May, many anglers feel that June is one of the best months for trout fishing. Most of our better, larger trout streams such as the Big Flatbrook, Pequest, Paulinskill, Musconetcong and the South Branch of the Raritan River will still be loaded with trout from the previous two months of stocking. After several weeks in the stream, the condition of trout improves and they look and act more like their wild counterparts. Trout conservation areas are highly recommended, but please abide by the special regulations in effect for these waters.

As a result of Green Acres funding and monies generated through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, New Jersey has more than 6,000 miles of rivers and streams with almost 420 fishable lakes and ponds. Each year, the Division acquires several new Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) that are open and available to the public. Some of these areas boast additional fishing opportunities for Garden State anglers. Most areas are posted with Division property signs and have ample parking areas and fishing access points. For maps of the following WMAs, please contact the Division office nearest you by checking the inside cover of the NJ Fish & Wildlife Digest (freshwater issue) that is available free at most sporting goods locations that sell licenses.


Rowands Pond WMA located off Higgins Ave.
Clementon Boro, Camden Co.
recent dam restoration;
now being stocked with trout
Clarks Pond WMA located off Clarks Pond Rd.
on NW side of pond
Fairfield Twp., Cumberland Co.
parking and car top fishing access at same location


Pequest WMA located along the Pequest River
on Race Street in the town of
Belvidere, Warren Co.
access to river for fishing;
river is trout stocked
South Branch WMA access to the South Branch of the
Raritan River from County Rte. 625
(Bartley Rd.) in Washington Twp.
Morris Co.
Musconetcong River WMA
(2 locations)
Site 1: located off Mt. Joy Rd. in
Finesville, Holland Twp.,
Hunterdon Co.
Site 2: location begins in the Butler
Park area of Washington Twp.,
Warren Co.

access to the Musconetcong
River which is trout stocked

Paulinskill WMA access is located off Rte. 519 on the
Paulinskill River in Hampton Twp.,
Sussex Co.
river is trout stocked
Beaver Brook WMA access is located in White Twp.,
Warren County
brook is trout stocked

Free Fishing Days provide the perfect chance to become acquainted with a terrific outdoor activity. For beginners, classes are also offered free of charge at the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County on both days.

Fishing classes at Pequest are by registration only, and the public is urged to call early to register. In addition to fishing classes, Pequest offers many exhibits and displays about wildlife, a butterfly garden, picnic areas and hiking trails. There is also a handicapped-accessible fishing site along the Pequest River. The facility is located on Rt. 46, nine miles west of Hackettstown in scenic Warren County.

Still needing a place to fish? Pick up a copy of the Division's updated Places To Fish brochure at the nearest Division office or purchase a copy of the Open Spaces and Wild Places map available for an over-the-counter cost of $3. Similar to a road map, it offers wildlife enthusiasts information on accessing public open space in the Garden State and is presented in an informative, easy to read format.

For additional information about fishing in New Jersey, a handicapped-accessible fishing site list or class registration, call 908-637-4125 or visit the Division's Website at