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March 7, 2000

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

Saturday, April 8, is the opening day of the 2000 trout season in New Jersey. At 8 a.m. the season officially begins at all waters open to public angling.

This year, approximately 600,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout will be released into public waters by the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife. The trout are raised at the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery & Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County.

"Although drought conditions were experienced last year, fairly normal water levels are expected in most trout waters," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "Again this spring, the trout leaving Pequest are in excellent condition and will make for excellent fishing."

Fishing is an excellent way for families to spend time together outdoors and provides countless days of recreation as well as an economic boost to many rural communities. A recent provision in state legislation has raised the age requirement for youth fishing licenses from 15 to 16 years of age. As for seniors, anglers aged 70 and over need only possess proof of age to fish, rather than a license and trout stamp.

For those who have difficulty negotiating stream banks, the Division has compiled a list of New Jersey fishing sites that are wheelchair-accessible. More than 50 sites on public waters in 16 counties are highlighted. Anglers are also reminded that there are fishing sites for people with disabilities, constructed by Ramsey Outdoor Stores and the North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited along the Pequest and Big Flatbrook rivers in the Division's Pequest and Flatbrook-Roy wildlife management areas.

For more information about opening day, the list of fishing sites for the disabled, regulations or where to go to find trout, contact the Pequest Trout Hatchery & Natural Resource Education Center at 908-637-4125. Again this year the stocking schedule will be posted on-line beginning with the first week's schedule. Each week's schedule is posted toward the end of the preceeding week.

Readers with touch-tone phones may wish to call the Division's computerized 24-hour trout stocking hotline for a weekly, updated list of waters slated for spring stocking beginning Wednesday, April 5. The number is 609-633-6765.