LANDLOCKED SALMON ARRIVE IN NEW JERSEY
(06/38) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental
Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that landlocked
salmon are being stocked in two New Jersey freshwater lakes for
the first time in more than 50 years.
“For countless anglers, the opportunity to catch this hard-fighting
sport fish close to home is a dream come true,” Commissioner
Jackson said. “We’re excited about bringing this species
back to New Jersey’s waters.”
The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife this afternoon released
more than 1,000 salmon into Lake Wawayanda at Wawayanda State Park
and another 400 fish into Lake Aeroflex at Kittatinny Valley State
Park. The waters, both in Sussex County, are among only a few deep
lakes in New Jersey with suitable year-round habitat for cold-water
fish such as landlocked salmon and trout.
These spring yearlings, which are the lake-dwelling variety of
Atlantic salmon, are free surplus from the Massachusetts Department
of Fish and Game. Hatched from eggs taken from mature females,
the salmon are now 1½ years old and measure nearly 8 inches.
Native to eastern Canada and Maine, landlocked salmon have been
successfully introduced into suitable waters in New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. Salmon were stocked in several
New Jersey waters more than a half-century ago, and the historical
state record for landlocked salmon is an 8-pound fish caught from
Lake Aeroflex in 1951.
The salmon initially will feed on aquatic insects. As they reach
12 inches toward summer’s end, the salmon will shift to a
diet of alewives, which are plentiful in both lakes. Regulations
allow anglers to keep two salmon per day at 12 inches or more,
giving anglers opportunities this fall and winter to catch fish
that commonly range from 12 inches to 17 inches and occasionally
even larger ones, which typically weigh about 3 pounds.
Fish and Wildlife will maintain the landlocked salmon populations
by releasing annually spring yearlings from Massachusetts. Though
mature salmon may migrate into the inlets and outlets and attempt
to spawn, it is unlikely that natural reproduction would produce
enough fish to sustain the fisheries.
Both Lake Wawayanda, which is 80 feet deep, and the 101-foot-deep
Lake Aeroflex (also known as New Wawayanda Lake), currently are
stocked with brown trout and rainbow trout and managed to provide
good trout fisheries through the holdover trout lakes regulation.
Landlocked salmon are closely related to brown trout, and anglers
may have difficulty telling them apart. Because size and creel
limits differ for salmon and trout, anglers should know how to
identify them and, to comply with regulations, quickly release
salmon smaller than 12 inches.
The most obvious differences between salmon and brown trout can
be seen in the head and tail. A salmon’s tail is forked,
for example, and a brown trout’s tail is square. Posters
detailing the characteristics are prominently displayed at each
lake, and fliers are available in the park offices.
Both state parks have boat ramps and ample parking. Boat rentals
are also available seasonally at Lake Wawayanda. Only electric
motors are permitted at both lakes. A park entrance fee is charged
at Wawayanda State Park from Memorial Day weekend through Labor
Day. There is no fee to launch boats at Lake Aeroflex. Lake Wawayanda
is open to fishing from dawn to dusk, and fishing is allowed on
Lake Aeroflex 24 hours per day.
For more information, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com or call
Wawayanda State Park at (973) 853-4462 or Kittatinny Valley State
Park at (973) 786-6445.