Landlocked Salmon in New Jersey
Salmon Update: In mid-May, 2012, another 2,000 landlocked salmon were float-stocked in two Sussex County lakes. This was the seventh stocking of salmon in New Jersey. Wawayanda Lake received 1,500 fish and Lake Aeroflex received 500 fish. These fish averaged 8.2 inches in length (compared to 7.7" last year) at about 5.2 fish per pound. Anglers are urged to report catches of landlocked salmon by e-mailing the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries at: email@example.com. (Send digital photos of your catch!)
Landlocked Salmon in New Jersey Brochure (pdf, 78kb)
Focus on Fishing: Lake Trout and Salmon (pdf, 96kb)
Salmon and Trout - Know the Difference (pdf, 104kb)
2013 Holdover Trout Lakes (Salmon-Trout) Regulations (pdf, 110kb)
An exciting, new sport fish is now swimming in New Jersey’s waters
- the hard-fighting landlocked salmon! This salmonid species is the
lake-dwelling form of the Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Unlike
the anadromous Atlantic salmon, which migrates from saltwater to spawn
in freshwater streams, the landlocked form is able to complete its
entire life cycle in freshwater. Landlocked salmon are native to eastern
Canada and Maine, and have been successfully introduced to suitable
waters outside their native range in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts
and New York. And now New Jersey!
The salmon that are stocked are surplus fish provided by Massachusetts
Division of Fisheries and Wildlife free of charge. These fish
are spring yearlings, the product of eggs taken from mature females
and then fertilized. When stocked in May they are
at an age of approximately 1˝ years. A truck from our fish hatchery transports
the salmon from Massachusetts and immediately stocked them in each
lake. Annually approximately 1,000 fish are stocked in Wawayanda Lake and Lake Aeroflex receives 400-500 fish. Approximately 1,020 fish were stocked in Wawayanda Lake and Lake
Aeroflex receivee 404 fish the first year. To help minimize loss through
predation, the salmon are float stocked away from the shoreline.
May 17, 2006, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife introduced
landlocked salmon into two lakes to provide anglers with an
opportunity to fish for this unique coldwater sport fish close
to home. Only a handful of deep lakes in New Jersey have suitable
year round habitat for coldwater fish like trout and salmon.
Salmon prefer water temperatures less than 70°F and dissolved
oxygen levels greater than 5 mg/L, but can withstand warmer,
less oxygenated water conditions for short periods. Salmon were
stocked in several NJ waters a half-century ago, and the historical
for landlocked salmon is an 8 pound fish caught from Lake Aeroflex
The two lakes selected to receive landlocked salmon are Wawayanda
Lake and Lake Aeroflex. Wawayanda Lake is located in Wawayanda
State Park in northern Sussex County near Vernon. It has
a surface area of 255 acres and a maximum depth of 80 feet.
Lake Aeroflex (also known as New Wawayanda Lake) lies in southern
Sussex County, within Kittatinny
Valley State Park near Andover, and has a surface area of
100 acres and a maximum depth of 101 feet. Both lakes have suitable
coldwater fish habitat year round and a forage base of alewives
for the salmon to feed upon.
Initially the newly stocked salmon will feed upon macroinvertebrates and insects. Towards the end of the summer they will shift to a diet of alewives. Anglers are allowed to keep two salmon per day measuring at least 12 inches long during most of the year (catch & release fishing in effect during the 19 day period preceding the opening day of the trout season in April). The stocking rate and harvest regulations are intended to provide anglers with an opportunity to catch salmon that commonly range from 12" – 17", and an expectation of catching an occasional salmon in excess of 17" (3 pounds).
||Both lakes selected for the introduction of salmon are currently
stocked with brown and rainbow trout and are managed to provide good
trout fisheries through the Holdover Trout Lakes regulation. (Trout
that survive the critical summer period are referred to as "holdovers.")
Salmon and trout are competitors in that both are pelagic (occupying
primarily open water, away from shallow water areas) and will utilize
the alewife forage base.
Landlocked salmon are closely related to brown trout (Salmo trutta),
and anglers may have difficulty telling them apart. Because size and
creel limits are different for salmon and trout, anglers need to know
the differences in order to comply with the regulations and quickly
release fish that can not be kept. The most obvious differences between
salmon and brown trout can be found in the head and tail areas. The
caudal fin (tail) of a salmon is forked and a brown trout’s tail is
square (unforked). The upper jaw (maxillary) of a salmon does not
extend beyond the rear edge of the eye while a brown trout’s maxillary
generally extends well past the rear edge. A salmon may also (but
not always) have "X" shaped markings along its back. Posters detailing
these characteristics will be prominently displayed at each lake and
handouts with this information will also be available.
The landlocked salmon populations will be maintained through annual
stockings of spring yearlings. While mature salmon may migrate into
the inlets and outlets and attempt to spawn it is unlikely that natural
reproduction will produce enough fish to maintain an acceptable fisheries.
The salmon fisheries will be monitored by Fish and Wildlife and if
warranted stocking rates and fishing regulations for salmonids will
be adjusted to maintain a desirable fishery.
Both state parks have boat launching facilities (ramps) and ample parking. Only electric motors are permitted (no gas outboards). Boat rentals are also available seasonally at Wawayanda Lake. A park entrance fee is charged at Wawayanda Lake (located in Wawayanda State Park) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and the facilities are open from dawn to dusk. There is no fee to launch boats at Lake Aeroflex and boat fishing is permitted 24 hours a day.
Links to the park websites are below, and office phone numbers are as follows:
Wawayanda State Park: 973-853-4462
Kittatinny Valley State Park: 973-786-6445.
Landlocked Salmon Arrive in New Jersey 5/17/06 DEP News Release
Trout Fishing in New Jersey