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Spring Trout Fishing Information

TROUT STOCKING HOTLINE: 609-633-6765

2013 Weekly Stocking Schedules

2013 Trout Allocations by Water and Day Stocked

2013 Bonus Broodstock Program

Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by County

Fishing Access to Trout Stocked Waters by Name

Trout Fishing Facts & Information (pdf, 18kb)

2013 Trout Regulations (pdf, 155kb)

The stocking trucks from the Pequest Trout Hatchery began rolling on March 18 with the spring pre-season distribution of this year's trout. By year's end, approximately 600,000 trout will be stocked throughout the state, but the action really got going on Opening Day, April 6, at 8 a.m.

The "production trout" average 10.5" but were kept company prior to opening day by some of the more than 6,000 three to eight pound breeder trout which are also being stocked. This spring, trout will be placed in 88 streams and 90 ponds and lakes throughout New Jersey. Those trout will be in addition to some of the 26,000 bruisers still in the water from stockings in the fall and winter. Fortunately for the state's anglers, trout remain available throughout the summer in many waters.

Angler with trout
Click to Enlarge
Photo courtesy Tom Pagliaroli

HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2013

Trout fishing in New Jersey continues to be some of the best available on the East Coast. The average size of the trout stocked is larger than trout stocked in neighboring states, and the Bonus Broodstock Lakes and the breeder stocking programs provide plenty of trophy size fish within a short drive from anywhere in the state. Aside from some allocation changes, noted below, the 2013 season is expected to provide the normally superb trout fishing opportunities New Jersey anglers have grown to appreciate.

Driving directions to some of the state's better know trout water access points can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/accesswater.htm. Anglers are reminded that access to locations along trout stocked streams may be available only through the good graces of private landowners. Please be respectful of their property and take care not to damage trees and shrubs. Leaving your fishing location cleaner than when you arrived helps maintain good angler-landowner relations and ensures continued public access to trout streams.

 

Happy young angler
Click to enlarge
Sharing opening day with a youngster can't be beat.
Allocation Changes

Spring trout allocations are calculated annually using a computerized database. Individual allocations may differ from previous years if there is a change associated with the waterbody (such as a fishing regulation change, or a new or dropped stocking point). Newer technology (GIS mapping) is now being used to update our trout-stocked waters database so this year there are more changes than usual. The most significant changes are described below, and an overview of the trout allocation methodology appears on page 6 in the 2011 Freshwater Digest.

Using GIS, the number of trout-stocked waters within a 10-mile radius was determined for all lakes and ponds. This resulted in the trout allocations for 30 lakes and ponds statewide being adjusted. These waters will now receive 10% fewer fish than before because there are more trout fishing opportunities nearby than had previously been accounted for. In addition, only lakes and ponds that have no trout-stocked waters within 10 miles, or that are in highly populated areas, are eligible to receive a fourth in-season stocking.

The in-season stocking schedule, covering the seven weeks following opening day, is available online at www.njfishandwildlife.com/trtstk13.htm and through the trout stocking hotline at 609-633-6765.

Stocking Schedule Changes

Changes to the stocking schedule occur every year and anglers are advised to check the stocking schedule to obtain up-to-date information when planning their outings.

Bonus Broodstock Waters

Each year a different set of waters scattered across the state is selected for the Bonus Broodstock program. This year ten designated ponds and lakes will receive between 30 and 50 of the 15 to 24-inch broodstock trout. These bruisers are stocked before opening day and the odds of catching a big one are in your favor if you try fishing one of these waters: Colonial Lake (Mercer Co.), Grenloch Lake (Gloucester Co.), Hamilton Fire Pond (Monmouth Co.), Milton Lake (Union Co.), Mountain Farm Pond (Hunterdon Co.), Mt. Hope Pond Morris Co.), Ponderlodge Pond (Cape May Co.), Sylvan Lake (Burlington Co.), West Hudson County Park Pond (Hudson Co.), and Whites Pond (Bergen Co.).

SPRING TROUT SEASON BASICS

Anglers should be aware that most trout-stocked waters are closed to fishing during the 3 weeks leading up to opening day (March 18 - April 6 at 8 a.m.). During this time most trout-stocked waters are stocked with trout to provide anglers with great fishing opportunities on Opening Day, April 6.Successful trout angler

During this pre-season period you might want to try fishing one of a handful of trout-stocked waters that remain open for fishing. Farrington Lake (Middlesex Co.), Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex counties), Lake Shenandoah (Ocean Co.), Prospertown Lake (Ocean Co.), and Swartswood Lake (Sussex Co.) are open year round to fishing. Designated Trout Conservation Areas (Seasonal and Year Round) and Holdover Trout Lakes also remain open to fishing. (Note that fishing is not permitted on Seasonal Trout Conservation Areas from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 6, 2013). Trout caught in any of these waters during the pre-season period must be released immediately.

Those looking to fish during the pre-season period and keep their catch can cast a line in either of the state's two Trophy Trout Lakes, Merrill Creek and Round Valley Reservoirs.

Be sure to check the trout regulations (pdf, 155kb) pertaining to all the above waters.

On Opening Day and the days that follow, there are a few regulations to keep in mind. On most waters anglers may keep 6 trout per day, and the trout must be at least 9 inches long. Since the trout reared at the Pequest Trout Hatchery average 10 inches when stocked, most of the stocked trout you catch can be harvested if you chose to. June 1 is an important date, as the daily creel limit for trout on most trout waters drops from 6 to 4 per day.

The state's sixteen major trout streams are stocked every week after Opening Day for the next seven weeks and they are closed to fishing from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of stocking. This allows the trout a chance to disperse following stocking and gives anglers an equal opportunity to fish for freshly stocked trout. All other waters may be fished at any time following Opening Day, including the day they are stocked. Many are stocked at least three times after Opening Day so be sure to check the trout stocking schedule to determine the stocking dates for the waters you plan to fish. Since every county has waters that are stocked with trout, spring trout fishing opportunities are never too far away.

"Hook-a-Winner" jaw-tags are placed on 1,000 brook trout by hatchery staff prior to stocking each spring. Anglers who catch a Hook-a-Winner trout should send their name, address, fish tag number and location of catch to:

Hook a Winner Program
Pequest Trout Hatchery
605 Pequest Road
Oxford, NJ 07863
In recognition of your catch you will be mailed a certificate and a patch.

Don't forget that a fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout and salmon if you are 16 years of age or older. Children under 16 and New Jersey residents 70 years and older can fish for free. Licenses and stamps may be obtained through one of the many license agents statewide, or online.

2013 SPRING TROUT STOCKING UPDATES

Any deviations from the stocking schedule will be noted here, on the 2013 Spring Stocking Schedules page and on the Trout Hotline (609-633-6765).

3/27/13 - Stocking has been suspended in Blair Lake (Warren County) in 2013 due to ongoing construction activity associated with dam repairs.
2/27/13 - Stocking has been suspended in Hook's Creek Lake (Middlesex County) in 2013 until further notice due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
2/27/13 - Stocking has been suspended in Takanassee Lake (Monmouth County) in 2013 due to effects of Superstorm Sandy.

2013 Pre-Season Stocking - NJ Today Video Feature
2010 Opening Day - NJ.com Video Feature

Back to Trout Fishing in New Jersey

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Last Updated: July 1, 2013