TROUT STOCKING HOTLINE: 609-633-6765
Outdoors with Andre: Raising and stocking a half million trout (nj.com video)
New Jersey offers some of the best trout fishing opportunities you will find in the northeast - and fishing has never been better! And its not just a spring thing anymore. Stocking programs in spring, fall and winter provide for excellent year-round trout fishing opportunities in the Garden State.
A progressive trout stocking program results in nearly 600,000 trout, raised at the Pequest Trout Hatchery, being stocked statewide each spring, followed by additional fall and winter trout distributions. The average size of trout stocked in the spring is 10.5 inches in length and ½ pound in weight, but be wary and watch your line as thousands of 2 pound to 5 pound fish are also mixed in and stocked with the regular production fish. Talk about excitement!
Come October and November, New Jersey anglers can gear up to hook into some 26,000 super-sized trout, which measure 14 inches to 24 inches, and can be caught throughout autumn and winter. New Jersey also boasts two fabulous Trophy Trout Lakes. Round Valley and Merrill Creek Reservoirs both support monster rainbow trout, brown trout and lake trout. Round Valley supports perhaps one of the most southern naturally reproducing populations of lake trout and boasts the current state record of more than thirty-two pounds!
Another super bonus for New Jersey trout anglers is a lesser-known fishery for the elusive sea run brown trout. These fish, also raised at Pequest, were stocked in the lower freshwater tidal section of the Manasquan River within the Manasquan River Wildlife Management Area until 2013. From there, they migrate out to the ocean and return larger, and more silver in color. Scattered reports indicate fish over 20 inches in length have been caught.
Angler fishing access abounds in New Jersey, and this is where this small state has it big on many of its larger counterparts. The state Green Acres Program has been acquiring land by leaps and bounds and the Division of Fish and Wildlife has been the advocate for, and recipient of, thousands of acres of land specifically designated as fishing access. So if you want to fish for trout and are not sure where to wet a line, there is a good chance a spot is being held open for you by the state.
So what are you waiting for? With more trout being stocked and more places to fish, trout fishing has never been better. Just remember a fishing license and trout stamp is required to fish for trout for anglers age 16 through 69. And to make it easy, licenses and stamps can be purchased and printed online or obtained through one of the many license agents throughout the state. In just minutes, you can be on your way to spectacular trout fishing in the Garden State.