2017 Spring Trout Fishing Information
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2017
Each spring, approximately 570,000 rainbow trout raised at the
Trout Hatchery are stocked into 88 streams and 88
ponds and lakes located throughout New Jersey, and the
2017 season is positioned once again to provide the normally
superb trout fishing opportunities New Jersey anglers
expect and appreciate.
Nearly 1/3 of these trout, 183,460, will await anglers
on April 8 when the season opens. The majority of trout
will average 10½ inches but large breeders, measuring
15 - 21", and weighing up to 5 pounds are also distributed
in the early weeks of the season.
The state's sixteen major trout streams are stocked
every week following Opening Day and are closed to fishing
from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking to allow
the trout a chance to disperse. All other waters are open
to fishing on stocking days, following opening day, with
most stocked at least three times. Since every county
has waters that are stocked with trout, trout fishing
opportunities are never too far away.
breeders are among the Rainbow Trout stocked each spring.
Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs
again provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short
drive from anywhere in the state. Stream flows are roaring
and the lakes and ponds are at full pool from the recent
rains making all of the trout stocked waterbodies ready
for the 570,000 rainbow trout raised at the Pequest
Trout Stocking Regulations signs are again equipped with QR Codes! A
quick scan with a smart phone brings up the entire spring stocking schedule,
complete with all seven weeks of stocking following Opening Day on April
8. The schedule includes day of the week and the number of trout stocked.
This feature can guide anglers to other fishing opportunities throughout
the state right from their favorite fishing spot.
The Buddy License is again available to anglers introducing
a "Buddy" to freshwater fishing. The Fishing
Buddy License offers both a current and a new angler (or two
new anglers) reduced price fishing licenses! The discounted licenses
are available to resident anglers ages 16 to 65, or nonresident anglers
over age 16, who purchase their freshwater fishing license with a
"Buddy." Eligibility requires at least one new angler.
Anglers are reminded that as a result of a disease outbreak at
the Pequest hatchery (2013/2014) the division is rearing Rainbow
Trout only. A silver lining to this is that studies have shown
that rainbows are more aggressive and more likely to fall victim
to a well-presented lure or baited hook, much to the satisfaction
of more trout anglers, particularly on Opening Day.
Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are always
closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to Opening Day (March
20 - April 8, 2017 at 8 a.m.). There are several waters that remain
open for fishing: Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex), Mountain Lake (Warren),
Prospertown Lake (Ocean), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean), Swartswood Lake (Sussex),
and the section of Lawrence Brook from Davidsons Mill Rd. to Church
Lane are open year round to fishing.
For those anglers who just love to catch Brown Trout or Brook
Trout, there are still opportunities out there. Waterbodies
such as the South Branch Raritan River, Pequannock River and
Big Flat Brook, (to name a few) have naturally reproducing trout
in them that will surprise and delight many lucky anglers with
their beautiful markings and coloration.
There are also waters in New Jersey that remain cool enough
to support trout year round and contain holdover Brook and Brown
Trout from previous stockings. Releasing Brook and Brown Trout
will help preserve these opportunities well into the future.
These trout, in addition to the Rainbow Trout stocked this spring
from Pequest will no doubt keep New Jersey as one of the top
trout fishing destinations in the East.
Ten lakes received an additional helping of large broodstock through
the State's Bonus Broodstock program. Each year a different
set of waters is selected statewide, and there's bound to be an
opportunity near you. These waterbodies generally receive 30 -
50 of these extra large trout.
The odds of catching a big one are in your favor if you try
one of these waters: Birch Grove Park Pond (Atlantic), Burnham
Park Pond (Morris), Dahnert's Lake (Bergen), Franklin Lake,
(Monmouth), Hook's Creek Lake (Middlesex), Lower Echo Park Pond
(Union), Mountain Farm Pond (Hunterdon), Shaws Mill Pond, (Cumberland),
Sylvan Lake (Burlington), and Verona Park Pond (Essex). Bonus
Catch and Release Only, Seasonal, and Year-Round Trout Conservation
Areas and designated Holdover Trout Lakes are also open to fishing.
However, trout caught in any of these waters during this period must
be released immediately. Note that, fishing is not permitted on Seasonal
Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 8, 2017.
Trout can be harvested from the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill
Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs. Be sure to check the Freshwater
Digest for regulations pertaining to these waters.
Fish and Wildlife will place "Hook-a-Winner" jaw-tags on 1,000
Rainbow Trout stocked in the spring. Anglers who catch a Hook-a-Winner
trout can claim their prize (a certificate and patch) by contacting
the Pequest Trout Hatchery 908-637-4173 ext. 113.
Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required
to fish for trout if you are 16 years or older. Children under 16
and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish without a license. Licenses
and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents
statewide, or online.
SPRING TROUT STOCKING UPDATES / CHANGES
3/9/17 - Stony Lake in Stokes State Forest (Sussex Co.) will not be stocked due to dam repairs. Trout allocated for Stony Lake will be spread out among the other trout stocked waterbodies in the area such as Lake Ocquittunk, the Big Flat Brook, and other nearby trout stocked waterbodies.
2/27/17 - Woodcliff Lake (Hudson Co.) will not be stocked due to dam repairs. Trout allocated for Woodcliff Lake will be spread out among other nearby trout stocked waterbodies.
Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2017 Spring Stocking
Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765).
Pre-Season Stocking - NJ Today Video Feature
Opening Day - NJ.com Video Feature
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in New Jersey